Jean Valjean, the lead character of Les Miserables, faces a moment of crisis. He had been living under an assumed identity while hiding from his past. He had stolen a loaf of bread, and was thus permanently branded a thief in France even though he had served 19 years of hard labor. When he hears news that a man has been taken into custody believed to be him, he knows he has a chance to make a clean break. All he must do is let that man be imprisoned for his violation of parole, and he is forever more free. Yet, he cares about doing what is right. In that moment of anguish, his inner debate is captured in the song, “Who am I?”. He has to decide if personal freedom at the expense of another can be lived with. I will let you research and find his answer.
We too face that question often. Every day we face temptations and decisions. We ask ourselves, “Am I the type of person who ….”. We don’t normally break out in powerful song as we wrestle with the issue, but we do face a moment of introspection. We must check our proposed actions and attitudes with the person Christ wants us to be. It isn’t always a moral dilemma. Sometimes the options may both be fine, but we must know which choice is in keeping with our God given purpose.
If we skip over this step, we are doomed to make a series of bad decisions. We will get involved in side tracks rather than staying on mission for God. We stray into sin instead of resisting temptation.
If we hesitate too long, our indecision can cost us as well. We miss the opportunity due to timidity. Fear of getting it wrong keeps us locked in place. Making no decision is in fact a decision!
To me, the secret is in answering the question now. Who am I? What is my purpose? What defines my character and ministry for the Lord? Knowing these things help us make decisions in keeping with the core of who God wants each of us to be. Then, when those moments come, make the decision which advances us forward in the goals God has given us. Sin’s temptation weakens when viewed in light of our call from God. Decisions become easier if we look for the one which is in keeping with our purpose. Know who you are.
When I was in High School, I showed animals in FFA. One year, I had a pig named Pork Chop. Pork Chop was the best animal I showed. From day 1, it did exactly what I wanted. I would touch its ear, and it would turn. Showing Pork Chop was a dream. Then there was Bari. Bari was a steer. I was so proud when I picked him out at our auction our Ag teacher had arranged. I took Daddy to see him afterwards, and was stunned to see this massive steer trying to jump out over the top of the pen. As the months went by, I would drag him away from the pen, and he would drag me back. We pulled him behind vehicles, and spent hours trying to train him. He never would break. He never would do as I wanted. On the day of the show, it was all I could do to hold him in place and pray he didn’t escape and kill half of Ferris.
As I remembered Pork Chop and Bari this morning in my quiet time, I thought of my walk with God. Looking back on life, I know there were times I was as stubborn and bull-headed as Bari. God would pull me in a direction, and I would pull the opposite way. Other times, I have yielded to His leadership and complied without hesitation. The times I remain submissive to His will have been far better than the other times. Unlike my fiasco with Bari, God is able to break my stubborn will. Ask Jonah how well running from God turns out.
If only we would be compliant to God’s will, we would save ourselves a lot of trouble. Like Pork Chop, let us do what God wants when He wants. Let us pray with Jesus in the model prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
It happens frequently. You try to get on your computer to pay bills, and it won’t work. It won’t connect to the right website, it keeps opening popups, the problems just compound. Most likely you have a virus or malware. Time to do some cleanup work. The bulk of the tech requests I answer are related to malware.
All of that got me to thinking about why we get infestations in the first place. On the computer, it happens because we go to places we should not on the internet or open unsafe attachments. Sometimes it comes to us through deceitful links. You are trying to download something legitimate and it is surrounded by fake download ads.
That is also true of infestations of sin in our lives. We let our guard down and start moving in directions we should not. Sometimes it may start innocently, and then it proceeds from gray areas into questionable ones. Finally we end up enslaved to our sins.
James addressed this very issue in James 1:13-15 ”13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” HCSB
Just as we need to be careful when online to avoid malicious programs, we need to be careful in life to avoid temptations. Sin lurks within in us just looking for a chance to lead us astray. Sometimes all it takes is song or glimpse of a television show, and our desires latch onto it and we start the “what if” game. If we are not careful to shield ourselves from them, those desires will lead to sinful thoughts and actions.
So what software is out there to protect us from the malware of sin? David wrote in Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. 10 I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.“ HCSB God’s word is the protection for our lives. Keeping the word and treasuring it in our hearts gives us God’s perspective on situations.
Being exposed to malware and sin are inevitable. Having protection is required. Keep your spirit protected through frequent and extensive application of God’s word.