Lessons On Purity: The Star Trek Principle

Genesis 39:6-7, “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, Lie with me.”

I have been a Star Trek fan for years. Not a fanatic. Just a fan. And just so you know… I mean Star Trek. The original series. As it aired during the late 1960’s. Not that thing that TV tried to pass off as Star Trek in the 1980’s. Kirk. Not Picard. For me the fascination started when I was a child. My father was stationed somewhere in Thailand during the closing days of the Vietnam War. My mom and I would spend our Saturday afternoons watching the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. As a young boy Kirk came to represent everything that was heroic. And so over the years I have continued to watch the show.

Just recently I was on the treadmill watching a very early episode from the first year. In this episode the Enterprise rescues the crew of a smuggling ship just before the vessel is destroyed in an asteroid field. The crew consists of 1 man and 3 women, women who because of an alien drug have a magnetic and hypnotic effect on the male members of the Enterprise. In spite of an escalating threat to the Enterprise the men onboard find themselves powerless to make sound judgments in the presence of these sirens. Captivated by the synthetic beauty of these women, Kirk and his fellow officers almost send themselves to their own doom. As long as their gaze fell upon the women they were powerless to resist.

Ok. So, what does any of this have to do with the Bible? Bear with me for a minute here. Let’s consider Potiphar’s wife for just a minute. Like the crew of the Enterprise her eyes proved to be her downfall. Her troubles began when she fixed her eyes on Joseph. The Bible says that she literally “lifted up her eyes,” i.e. through an intentional choice she began to focus her attention on this young, handsome man we know as Joseph. This was not a passing glance. This was much more than an accidental viewing. She was not just minding her own business one day and Joseph “popped up” in her line of sight. She saw him. And then she made the choice to look at him. And the more she looked the more her heart began to turn towards adultery. In fact, once she made the choice it was only a matter of time before her hands caught up with her eyes. Look at something long enough and eventually you will act on it. That’s what happened to Potiphar’s wife. She saw. She looked. She began to pursue.

As men and women with a life committed to God’s purposes we need to constantly guard our eyes. When we allow ourselves to become captivated by the false, cosmetic beauty of this world we put at risk all that is truly meaningful in life. To this day I have never met a man who regretted walking in purity. I have met many whose lives have been ruined because they refused to stop looking at what their eyes saw. I know it’s not easy. But it can be done. It begins with the small choices. The ones that seem almost insignificant. Even now as I am writing this note I look over to the right of the screen and what do I see? A Facebook advertisement with the picture of a large-breasted woman who has apparantly been searching for me. Unfortunately, I saw her. Couldn’t help it. But now I have to make a choice. Am I going to look at her? The choice takes only seconds. The consequences can last a lifetime. And so I scroll the mouse over the “X” and I close the ad. Problem solved. Crisis averted. Is the war over? No. But for now the battle has been won. And the Enterprise will survive to fight another day.