Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Filtering Junk"

If we think of prayer to God as “knee-mail” we can draw some interesting analogies with that term and e-mail terminology.

For instance, unlike e-mail, our “knee-mail” time is free-of-charge to us because God, our Eternal Provider, sent Jesus to pay the one-time price for us to be able to connect with Him any time of the day or night.

Because God has called us by name, we have user names that He recognizes in our daily times with Him.“...Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1b, NAS) We have unlimited, direct access to God upon His throne with no password needed other than what He has provided through Himself, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14 & 16 NAS)

We can receive messages when we first login with God through dialing Him directly in prayer and, unlike some internet providers, we never have to wait on Him to be available and be told to try again later. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV) Also, we are able to dial specific scripture passages from God’s Word and know that they are authenticated because they are from Him.

Sometimes we have trouble signing in and getting connected with God because we are distracted and keep thinking about all the things we believe we have to do that day. We get disconnected by such mundane tasks as laundry, meal preparation, getting ready for work, errands, etc. Or, perhaps we attempt to sign-in again with God at another time during the day and Holy Spirit says that we have an unexpected error message of sin in our hearts. He reveals to us exactly what that sin is, complete with His own specific error code from the Holy Bible. At that moment, we must totally close down any distracting thoughts or activities and confess our sins to God, asking for His forgiveness and cleansing. We can then be reconnected with God in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to Him and beneficial to us. We can get in touch with God and receive the new messages that He wants us to have from Him, kind of like an inbox of messages directly from God–personalized only for us. Instant messaging with God is possible with Him at all hours of the day and night because He is never offline. He is always available.

What about the junk mail in our hearts? Holy Spirit is there to assist us in our attempts to totally filter junk out of our lives and to pray according to God’s will. Instead of junk mail however, it is yet another reminder of any sin that needs to be deleted and sent to the trash bin. Colossians 3:5 & 8-9 NIV gives a thorough list of spiritual junk mail that needs to be put into the trash bin: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, idolatry, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. These junky sins get into our lives when we allow them to be forwarded into our hearts and minds and remain there long enough to cause damage. God deletes or forgives the sin in our lives when we confess it to Him. I John 1:9 NAS assures us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s way better than an e-mail trash bin!

In our “knee-mail” times of prayer we can check the inbox from God to us and gladly receive what He has to say about His will for our lives. In addition to that, we can send a reply to God by praying to Him about our requests that are deep down inside our spirits. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NAS) During those times when we have such anguish of soul and heaviness of heart that we don’t know what to pray, God provides Holy Spirit and Jesus as our “prayer partners” to intercede on our behalf when the words just won’t come out of our mouths. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. ...Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:26-27 & 34 NIV) In addition to prayer, it is possible for us to send a new message to God in praise and worship by singing a new song to Him with thanksgiving in our hearts, as we are reminded to do in many of the Psalms.

Just like an uncontrolled computer virus that can literally spread around the world before we hardly know what’s happening, we need to realize that sin in our hearts can spread to others in our world and damage their spiritual lives before we realize what’s happening. Instead of such viruses as “...hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like....” we should seek only “, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control....” to share with others. (See Galatians 5:20-21 & 22-23) God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit help us detect and block any sin (virus) that would further infect, damage and corrupt our bodies, souls, minds and spirits. Philippians 4:7 NAS is a reminder that God Himself wants to be our peace and guard our hearts and minds. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God is far more effective at guarding us than any anti-virus program. In addition to this, God does expect us to do our part as well and turn on our spiritual anti-virus programs so that our hearts do not become corrupted or bitter. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) We are also reminded to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (I Peter 5:8-9)

When I am processing the e-mail in my computer I often refer to the “Truth or Fiction” website so I can know when to believe things that come into my e-mail box or not. I don’t want to forward something to others if it is spam mail or an e-mail hoax. In my spiritual life, God gives me a reference book called the Holy Bible so that I will know in black and white whether to believe things that come into my life or not. Nothing from God is fiction! It is all truth because He is true Truth! No spam mail or hoaxes with God! I am then confident that whatever I pass on to others directly from God’s Word is safe and true.

Perhaps we need to be like the growing child who was trying to memorize “The Lord’s Prayer” from Matthew 6:9-13. She had quoted the verses exactly right until she got to verse 13; instead of saying “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” she prayed “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from e-mail.” Maybe the little girl was right after all, since we do need to be delivered from e-mail when it keeps us from spending time with God. As growing Christians, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions. Do we spend as much time hearing from God via “knee-mail” as we do hearing from family and friends via e-mail? Are we allowing Holy Spirit to filter the junk mail of sin out of our souls so that we can be connected with God properly? Go with God to His “chat room” soon to talk to Him about it.

© 10-22-04, 11-03-04, and 10-23-08 by Janet Faye Broyles Edmond, Oklahoma
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