Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Virus protection

Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

The window popped up on my computer screen as I booted up my system for the day’s work session.

“Oh no,” I groaned. “Not again.” The notice informed me that I needed to update my virus protection files.

When I first bought my computer, I pooh-poohed the idea of purchasing a program to protect my system from “viruses” – nasty programs that sick people write and send through the Internet that either make your computer act wacky or shut it down completely.

I got through a year without incident. Then someone informed me that I’d sent an email that had a virus attached. I didn’t even know I was sick. All the horror stories I’d heard about virus-caused computer crashes, I realized, could happen to me. So I bought an anti-virus program and installed it.

I lost count of the times the program arrested an incoming virus and jailed it in quarantine. Since I don’t like the idea of anything potentially harmful in my system, even though it’s disabled in a safe place, I’d mutter a prayer that I didn’t mess things up, hold my breath, and click on the “delete” button. I remained in business.

Screening emails for incoming viruses isn't the only way the anti-virus program protects my computer. Once a week, it automatically scans my complete system for hidden viruses.

Simply installing the program, however, isn’t enough. Updates are needed daily, sometimes several times a day. My program automatically downloads new information so the program can identify the latest viruses going around and stop them before they have a chance to wreak their havoc.

I have an anti-virus program for my spirit, too. It’s called the Word of God. I update it each time I read, study, and memorize Scripture (Ps. 119:11). It abides there, deep in my heart, mind, and soul, protecting me from any incoming things that could harm me. These viruses, once attached to my spirit, either make me “act wacky” until I determine to delete the sin from my life, or control me so that I don’t do what God wants me to do.

A “window” pops up whenever I need to be reminded that God will give me the strength to resist temptation (1 Cor. 10:13), that trials perfect and strengthen my faith (1 Peter 1:6,7; James 1:2-4), that tribulations are the lot of life (John 16:33), and that I can be forgiven when I fail (1 John 1:9). Reading the Bible regularly “scans” my heart, mind, and soul for any hidden sins lurking there.

“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

Taking the time each day to read the Bible helps me not only to identify sin when it tries to attach itself to me, but also to boot it out. And that’s protection I wouldn’t want to do without.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)

Special-Tea: Read Ephesians 6:1-18

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