Spiritual firewalls


Isn’t it amazing how science and developing technology eventually trap us in a web of total dependency? How did we ever get along without our personal computers, e-mail accounts, and cell phones? It seems incredible that the Church survived almost two thousand years lacking these vital services.

Unfortunately, where grace abounds, much sin abounds. What should be valuable tools that serve us can quickly become curses straight from hell.

If I sound like I’m coming a bit “over the top,” it’s because I have too often become the sad recipient of some of those modern curses. A few years ago, my computer received a nasty little virus. It infected my hard drive and eventually made my operating system virtually undetectable to my hardware. In layman’s language, the darn thing was busted.

The worst part of the disaster, however, is that this virus attached itself to my e-mail address book and then randomly sent bits and pieces of infected information to all my friends and relatives. If you have ever been one of those victims, let me extend to you my sincere apology and deepest sympathy.

On top of the technical issues that put this generation of humans at personal risk are the many computer applications upon which we have gradually become hopelessly dependent for information, managing finances, and, of course, our precious entertainment. Never mind that the applications could be preprogrammed to infect our devices with viruses or spyware, think for a moment about how much our hearts and minds may have been subconsciously indoctrinated away from truth and righteousness.

Sadly, it seems that people can no longer live a content life if their cell phones are not within immediate reach. Personal convenience has been mistaken for urgency. We can’t even go to the gym or on a date with our significant other without instant access to our precious devices. Some recent scientific studies even suggest that it is a form of addiction, actually releasing dopamine in our brains producing that “rush” or “feel good” sensation.

But does it serve us, or do we serve whatever motivation that covertly drives us to our dependence on it? While we have access to the whole Library of Congress through a little portable television that we keep on our person at all times, very few of us actually use it to educate ourselves in the classic sense of what “education” really means.

We are living in a time when advancements in technology open up our imagination to what can be carried out by mankind in matters of health, safety, and nearly any aspect of life.

Science is now “unsettled” simply because mankind is armed with a tool that is powerful beyond what almost anybody can fully understand. Unfortunately, there are some who do understand that, and very few of them have your best interests at heart. While we are taking hundreds of cute “selfies” our personal identity, vital information, and perhaps our attention are being stolen away from the eternal issues of our true identity which can be found only “in Christ.”

Those of you out there who don’t believe that evil exists are not paying attention. Hacker geeks and malicious program technicians are influenced by demons straight from the pit. How else could you explain why someone who doesn’t even know you would want to destroy your valuable computer information or misguide you away from those things that are transiently vital to your eternal security?

Some of them don’t even get paid to hurt you; they do it for the sheer joy of creating chaos. That’s evil, plain and simple. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I am convinced that’s what we’re dealing with here. Our enemy, Satan, is a thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). It is often subtle, seemingly benign, and happens when we’re not paying attention. In short, he’s out to get us and he will use whoever and whatever to aid him, including our technology.

The fact is we live in a world that is infected with a nasty, fatal virus called sin. It wreaks havoc with our lives and can destroy our moral operational systems. It randomly attacks vital spiritual “programs” upon which we depend for divine knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Furthermore, it attaches itself to our personal address books. We don’t intend to damage our friends and relatives, but that ugly virus manages to worm its way into every one of our relationships and systematically disrupts effective communications. To be certain, sin has pretty much made a mess of our world. The Bible says so, anyway.

My computer-savvy friends told me that I had become a victim of a sophisticated virus because I had not kept my virus protection program updated. My “firewalls” were not adequate to repel the technological demonic forces that were attacking my computer. Without an effective shield, I was doomed to crash.

This information, too late to save my computer, does give me a timely illustration concerning how to avoid moral infections and crashes in our non-technical lives. We simply need to keep our firewalls current.

Paul continues his thoughts concerning our struggle against evil by admonishing us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand firm when the day of evil comes (Ephesians 6:13-18). Truth, readiness with the gospel, faith, confidence in our salvation, and the Word of God protect us against the virus of sin. Above all, we need to pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions, being alert as we pray.

1 Peter 5:8-9 reinforces the warning to be self-controlled and alert because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Peter’s admonition to us is that we resist him as we stand firm in the faith. James 4:7 adds that if we submit ourselves to God, we can resist the devil and he will run away from us.

The bottom line is that in times of trouble or temptation, when we are most vulnerable to the wiles of Satan, we need to press into the Lord and the power of His Holy Spirit.

That sounds simple enough if we could only discern what is going on beneath the surface of the reality we are experiencing. How alert are you concerning what is happening in your mind, heart, and soul? That is not a rhetorical question; it is serious business.

Jude 20-21 instructs us to build ourselves up in our most holy faith, to pray in the Holy Spirit, and to keep ourselves in God’s love as we wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life. Spiritual preventative maintenance takes forethought and attention; to even the little things that we too soon take for granted. This includes our dependence on modern technology.

It is vitally important to stand firmly together in our faith against the constant attack of sin in our lives. May our corporate alertness keep our spiritual firewalls secure and current as we pray for one another regularly. May God add his matchless grace and wonderful mercy to your vigilance.



[LeRoy Curtis is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Asbury Theological Seminary. He served four years as a U.S. Naval Officer after which he became a pastor, Bible professor, educator, author, and missionary living in E. Africa for eight years where he and his wife developed a curriculum of biblical studies for untrained pastors in rural Kenya. His passion for training young church leaders takes him to various parts of the U.S., Latin America, and Africa. He and Judy are currently residing in Carrollton, Georgia.]