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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lessons From a Trojan Horse Virus

Well, last week I experienced a first. For the first time in my life, I fell for the old Trojan horse virus trick. After I got past the initial self loathing process that comes along with falling for something like that, I had a pretty full day of dealing with getting the thing out of my computer. And the really humiliating thing about a Trojan horse virus is that it goes through your address book and cordially sends everyone you know the same virus.

How thoughtful.

Anyway, like most things in my life these days, I am having no trouble in finding life lessons in these little misadventures. So today, my life lesson learned from the Trojan horse virus.

The thing about these viruses is that they don't look like viruses. They look like something entirely different. I mean, who among us would look at something that had a skull and crossbones on it, and think to ourselves, "sure, why not? What could possibly go wrong?" Sin often presents itself in our lives in very attractive packages. In fact, I think it's safe to say that history's very first Trojan horse virus pre-dates the actual Trojan horse. Heck, it pre-dates the invention of the horse! Of course, I'm speaking of that whole Adam and Eve/fruit incident. Maybe you've heard of it? It's true. Think about it. Adam and Eve are knocking around the Garden of Eden without a care in the world. They're enjoying everything God had created for them. But then came that wiley old serpent. He approached Eve and eventually convinced her that there was absolutely nothing wrong with eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, despite the directive from God to eat from anywhere but that tree.

The bible says that the fruit on the forbidden tree was, "pleasing to the eye." Well, of course it was! If it looked like snot, I doubt Eve couldn't have been talked into it. Anyway, you know the story. Eve ate it, and like the Trojan horse virus, she passed it on to Adam. And like a dummy, he ate it, too.

There's another humorous aside in this story which I'll share with you another time. It's another topic, and I don't want to get sidetracked.

We can be so easily duped by things and people which look so darned good on the outside. But the devil is no idiot. He's puts sin in nice, eye-catching packages. But here's the thing. When we give in to sin and let it worm its way into our lives, it leads us into deeper and deeper sin. That is what happens to good people when they start with a little marijuana. But it's not enough. So now they need to move on to a little crack, which leads to a lot of crack, which leads to heroin, and so on. Or people start with a "little" porn. The next thing you know, it's not enough. They need to move on. They go from looking at it to needing to experience it for real. They find themselves in a dark subculture just to fulfill their need for more. The soccer mom, the bank executive, the politician, the pastor, the teacher. It doesn't matter. Sin has torn apart people from all walks of life. It's not just for homeless junkies.

Sin leads to death. An eternal, catastrophic death. But there is no way the devil is going to package it that way. Instead, he does it with something pleasing to our senses. He promises to lavish us with power, wealth and fame.

Just like avoiding a virus on your computer, there is a way to avoid falling into the trap of sin. Wisdom. And this important quality begins when we fear the Lord (Psalm 111:10). When we recognize God's ultimate power and authority, and fear the consequences of being separated from Him, we exercise wisdom.

Listen to and obey God. Know His word. The bible is the ultimate anti virus.

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