Sunday, January 9, 2011

Infected or Infectious?

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." -- Galatians 5:16

When the family computer succumbed to a malware attack, I spent hours trying to determine the source of the virus, running scans and downloading software to rid the computer of the pesky program, and thinking about the effect this would have on the future of computing as my family knows it.  Certainly it will be necessary to take additional security precautions, but equally important will be educating my family about the dangers of visiting websites where malicious programs might lurk.

As I waited for the anti-malware software to finish its work, I began thinking about the effect of sin in our lives.  Much as stealth programs and viruses worm their way into our computer hard drives, wreaking havoc with security and rendering even the most routine tasks nearly impossible, sin often finds us vulnerable to attack and causes us to break down morally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  More often than not we make the deliberate choice to sin, but sometimes we are blindsided and caught in its vice before we even know what hit us.  Before long, we find ourselves in the clutches of sin, not knowing just how to get out of the mess we have made of our lives and often hurting others as a result.  But just as my anti-malware program scans every little file in search of the malicious virus so that it can be destroyed and my computer restored to health, God searches our hearts and minds and cleanses us from our sin through the shed blood of his only Son, Jesus.

As Christians we have a choice to either let sin infect us or to be so filled with the love, grace, and Spirit of God that we become infectious to those around us.  Having spent a great many years infected by habitual sin, I now know that the greater joy and freedom are to be found in a walk of obedience to the Lord.  The more I take in his Word, worship him, and talk with him in prayer, the less likely sin is to worm its way into my life and for the enemy to gain a foothold.

If you find yourself infected with sin rather than infectious with God's love, take a few minutes to confess your sins to God, pray for his forgiveness, and ask him to fill you with his Spirit and with great joy.  God wants his children to be infectious with the love of his Son, and he warns those who infect others by their sinful acts.  "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin'" (Luke 17:1-2).

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