Saturday, April 01, 2006

We have all contracted the virus....

Last week and this weekend, I spent precious development time trying to rid myself of unwanted software on my coumputer called "Virtumonde." Believe it or not, I'm pretty new to viruses and that kind of thing, coming from a background of developing on the Macintosh platform and using the Windows platforms to deliver product on.

Well, this was a nasty wake up call to what Windows users have to deal with all the time. Virtumonde is called "Adware" and it's something that has sneaked on to your computer either by being installed along with some kind of trial software, or getting past your computer's defenses on the network. Its job is to watch what you do at all times with your computer, then occasionally pop up advertisements. In my case, most of the time, these advertisements were for anti-virus software. But they kept popping up an installation window for the software and beginning the installation even when I clicked, "no" for "do you want to install" dialog boxes.

It took much investigation on my system to determine how this stuff worked, then lots of research online to understand how to remove it. When I did finally terminate this huge time-waster on Sunday(with extreme prejudice), I was so relieved. It actually gave me new appreciation of the speed of my computer and the relative freedom with which we normally navigate this amazing environment we call the internet.

It also made me realize what an apt analogy for the spiritual battle that the computer virus is.

1) It co-opts the master's servant for its own use. The virus actually depends on the host computer's architecture for its own operation.
2) It enters by deception, or by tiny, unguarded, exploitable means. According to Solomon, it's the "little foxes" that spoil the vineyard.
3) Once it has entered, it uses the ground it has gained to solicit the imagination, preying upon worries and fears to gain MORE ground.

Isn't that EXACTLY how the enemy works? Whats more, the goal is to get us stuck in an endless cycle of believing the lie, (God doesn't want you to have any fun/just a little won't hurt/everybody's doing it), sinning, believing the condemnation, (you call yourself a child of God/God could never forgive YOU/you'll never make it), worrying (sinning), confessing and repenting, then believing another lie. Yes of course, we confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness--but if we use all our spiritual energy self-examining and confessing and repenting, what is our relationship with Jesus going to be like? Even worse, what do we have left over for progress and growth if we're so focused on INTERNAL problems. How can we be about His program of intercession and reconciliation if we haven't gotten out of the endless (self-centered) self-help circuit.

God's Word has the answer, if we'll just heed it. It says, as you have received Christ, so walk in Him. (Colossians 2:6) We are saved through faith, once for all time: we accept what the Bible tells us about our sins' separating us from God and God's provision of reconciliation through the substitutionary death and victorious resurrection of Christ. It's not by visually comparing ourselves to each other to see how good we are, or even comparing ourselves to Christ (WWJD) apart from what the Bible tells us.

We also have to walk by faith--meaning we ALSO accept what the Bible says about us from that point on. Walking by faith is very hard, because it means accepting a that lot of things aren't as our natural senses tell us. And our natural senses tell us:

1) There is no war going on. (See Eph. 6; 1 Cor. 9:7; 2 Tim. 2:4; Hebrews 12:4)
2) Satan's minions are "angels of light" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
3) God is unfair (Gen. 3:1, Hebrews 6:10)
4) God doesn't see my sin (Psalm 139)
5) I'm not REALLY perfected (Hebrews 10:14)

By contrast, we walk by FAITH, not by sight. And that requires:

1) Accounting (by faith) myself DEAD indeed unto sin: alive unto God. (Romans 6:11)
2) Rejecting conformity to the world, recalibrating myself by God's Word (Romans 12:1-2)
3) Resisting the Devil after submitting myself to God. (James 4:7)

We all take on the enemy's programming at some point--to some degree or another! But we need to confess and forsake what we've agreed to with him, and allow God to reprogram us for His purposes!

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