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Beware of viruses

I’m a bit of a computer geek. I have several security programs that run on every computer at the office and at my home. I’m a backup junkie! Every important file is backed up nightly in at least three locations. I want the information to be secure in the event of any kind of data loss.

So awhile back, when my wife informed me that the firewall on our home computer had indicated that a virus was attempting to “attack” our system, I had to check it out. Indeed, a virus was attempting to make it’s way in — so I fought back and was ultimately able to win! Whew!

A man whose company provides data security for military space operations explained how vulnerable computers are to outside attack. During a training exercise, hackers were able to shut down a highly protected system without ever stealing a password or cracking a code.

They simply accessed the unsecured maintenance program for the building that housed the computers and turned off the air conditioning. When the computer room became too hot, the system automatically shut down.

In computers, whether personal or military, it’s important to keep up your guard in order to protect against unwanted scenarios with your data information. The same applies to life.

Sometimes we get comfortable where we are in life, with how things are going. But overconfidence and a false sense of security can cause us to let down our guard, and when that happens things start to “creep in” to our lives that we really don’t want to be there.

Things like criticism, being judgmental, rudeness and being short tempered — to name a few — can begin to define our character in short order. That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us: Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

Notice, our heart affects EVERYTHING we do. That’s why it is so critical that we guard our hearts. When the “viruses” of criticism, cutting speech, anger, bitterness — the list could go on — begin to make their way into our hearts, they begin to come out in our lives. The end result is always damage — to ourselves and to others. Always.

“Can’t happen to me.” No? 1 Corinthians 10:12 cautions us: people who think they are standing firmly should be careful that they don’t fall.

Another translation of the Bible says it this way: Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

Let me encourage you to do a little heart examination. Are you finding yourself being overly critical? Angry without apparent cause? Sharp tongued? Those are indicators of something deeper going on. It’s time for a heart examination.

Remember, the heart affects everything we do. If you find something there that shouldn’t be, it’s time for a little “surgery” to remove it. Ask God to use the scalpel of His love and grace to remove the things that shouldn’t be there. Surgery isn’t much fun, but the end result is a much better heart and life.

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