But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. [1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NLT)]
After a security update, I was prompted to restart my computer. Although I didn’t want to stop writing for a reboot, malicious software—whether a virus, spyware, rootkit, ransom ware, Trojan horse, or whatever the latest threat is—can range from being merely troublesome to incredibly destructive, so I willingly stopped my work.
While waiting for the installation process to finish and my computer to restart, it occurred to me how much I’d like a similar program installed in my life. The damage done by cybercriminals and malware is nothing when compared to the devastation Satan can wreak on our lives. Instead of protecting us from attacks on our devices, an anti-sin program would have a firewall to protect us from external threats to our spiritual well-being. Once installed, it would warn us about potential trouble spots and regularly scan our thoughts to keep any sinful ones from sneaking in.
Mercifully, God has already provided an excellent anti-sin program and firewall in the armor of God. Like any computer program, however, it requires a reboot—the life changing one of accepting Jesus. And, like our computers, without regular updating, it becomes vulnerable to the latest threats. Our anti-sin program requires an on-going relationship with God and, if we’re not connected to His Holy Spirit, there’s no chance of defeating the enemy.
But, just as a computer’s anti-virus program can’t defend against the bad judgment of its user, neither can our anti-sin program. It’s not God’s fault when we sin—we have only ourselves to blame for our poor choices. Both computers and people are fallible and there will be times we get bugs in our software or, worse, simply crash. Since I’m technically challenged, when I run into computer problems, I call my tech savvy son-in-law (whose first advice usually is to reboot)! When it’s a spiritual problem, if we ask the Holy Spirit to show us what isn’t working properly and how to fix it, we can be sure He will. He’ll offer excellent tech support involving things like confession, repentance, prayer, Scripture, study, fellowship, and service.
To make it perform more efficiently, my computer regularly cleans out unnecessary files and then asks me to complete the process with a restart. Just as those useless files on my computer need to be eliminated to make room for new data, there’s a fair amount of rubbish in our minds—things like guilt, shame, anxiety, anger, and resentment—that should be discarded to make room for the good news of the gospel. Don’t be surprised if a reboot is required!