Last week we looked at your mind as a computer, and we talked about the programs running in the background as being like your subconscious. We discovered that when your subconscious controls your conscious, it can either be good forming a good habit, or destructive causing addiction.
The way you overcome addictions and bad habits is by controlling your subconscious, but you cannot do that directly, you have to change it via your conscious mind. We found that addictions and bad habits can be overcome, and good habits can be formed, by the conscious choices we make. It all starts it's a decision.
But like many computer programs, our mind can also be affected by viruses. So what is a virus and how does it affect us.
VIRUSES- MEDICAL, MICROCHIP AND MIND
Computer viruses are named after medical viruses, and we all have experienced something of these. Viruses are not bacteria, but are far more sinister and harder to control and be healed of. So what is the difference?
Bacteria are living microorganisms that infect and attack your body’s cells. They reproduce themselves and either engulf other cells or poison them with a toxin.
Viruses on the other hand are just tiny parcels of DNA. They inject themselves into your actual body cells, and take over the cell machinery, thereby using your own cell material to reproduce itself? It attacks you by using your own cells against you! They're often constantly changing form, and because they use your own cells against you, usually far harder to kill. They require a living host to spread, and many cannot be cured at all, such as HIV and the flu, but only the symptoms can be treated, until the bodies immune system fights them off. You become infected by somehow touching, breathing or interacting with an infected person.
Computer viruses are similar, often piggybacking in on emails or hidden in programs. Click on the attachment, it fires up and affects programs you are currently running. You get infected by actively interacting with an infected program.
Mind viruses likewise sneak into your mind, planted there by the world and/or the devil. They affect the apps you're running in your life, both conscious and subconscious, and like the medical and microchip variety, mind viruses use your own personality and subconscious mind against you. They're also ever changing and fast evolving, so we need to be alert to recognise these viruses! You become infected by interacting with and then tolerating sin in you life.
So where do computer viruses come from? Well, somebody, some brilliant but twisted hacker out there designs them. They tend to have cute names like klez, Anna Kornicova or I Love You, and they can infect any computer if we don't have antivirus in place and up to date.
One of they latest I heard of is called WannaCry, and it is ransomware. It locks up data on your computer and only releases it when you pay of $300 US. It is actually based on a code called Eternal Blue, which was developed by the US National Security Agency or NSA.
And like computer viruses, mind viruses are designed by a malignant Spirit called the devil, they are downloaded through society and when fired up they control our minds and hold us to ransom! They infect our subconscious mind often without us knowing it, and make us do things we don't want to do or give in to temptations we don't want to give in to, and we don't even know about them!
The first family of viruses we will look at is called …
LOVE OF THE WORLD VIRUS
1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Does John mean we can't feel affection towards anything in the world. I can’t love a new car or a nice home? I can't love my wife, my kids, the Broncos, or Paul McCartney? We need to understand what John is saying here, or we'd better just put on a robe and head off to a monastery!
In the past, this verse has been used to stop people going to the cinema, wearing shorts or wearing makeup. The last one has worked on me!
But to understand this virus we need to unpack 2 words… love and the world.
WHAT IN THE WORLD!
The Greek word used here is KOSMOS, which has 3 meanings in the Bible. It can refer to the earth, but that's not the meaning here. It also can refer to the people living on said earth, but that also isn't the meaning here, such as in John 3:16, for God so loved the world. We need to love our earth, and Scripture clearly teaches us to love people, so what's the third meaning?
Sometimes the word “world” is used to refer to the world system, the organised, evil system with its principles and its practices, all of which are under the authority of Satan. This includes all teachings, ideas, culture, attitudes, activities, etc., that are opposed to God.
A fixation on the material over the spiritual, a promotion of self over others, pleasure over principle—these are just a few descriptors of the world system John is talking about. The word “world” here means everything that opposes Christ and his work on earth. Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world.”
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.
and Paul called him “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
LOVE AND HATE
Believe it or not, love and hate often go together. On a first grade hospital excursion one child asked why everybody kept washing their hands. The nurse replied, “Because we love health and hate germs!” So what is John trying to say in this passage?
The Word for LOVE here is in Greek AGAPE, which refers to the highest form of love, unconditional love. So John is hitting his readers right between the eyes saying, “When you love things of the world to the point where you invest all your time, resources and thoughts into it, you're infected by the virus!”
John writes this because some Christians had become too cozy with the world system. They had begun to compromise with the world. They were giving too much ground to the world’s way of thinking and acting. Things in the world began to look more and more glamorous. As the hair commercial says, it doesn't happen overnight but it does happen. It's slow, subtle and like a frog in a pot of gradually boiled water, we don't recognise it soon enough!
So Christians had taken their eyes off the Lord, and off things eternal and all they could see is the world. That's exactly what we see today in our society, isn't it? Christians compromising, pastors preaching love without holiness and suddenly the minds of believers becomes infected with the LOVE THE WORLD virus.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
If you love the world system, the money, the prestige, the success, and if you love these things of the world more than God, this virus is affecting you and according to a James, it's as if you you hate God!
THE ACTION OF THE LOVE OF THE WORLD VIRUS
Loving the world is the sin of allowing your appetites, ambitions, and conduct to be fashioned according to earthly values.
So how does this virus act, what are the symptoms of it, and are you infected? Here's 7 telltale signs that you're infected with the LOVE OF THE WORLD VIRUS…
1. WHEN ALL THOUGHTS ARE CONSUMED BY IT
When the world, or any object in it, so engrosses our thoughts to such a degree that it excludes serious reflection on the things of God, we are guilty of loving the world.
Dr Carl Tanzler was a German doctor working in Florida, when he became obsessed with a young TB patient Ellen Hoyos, showering her with gifts and professing his love for her. She died of the disease in 1931, but he was so obsessed with her he exhumed her body, preserved it as best he could and kept her in his home with him for 7 years. That is obsession, where his love for her transcended common sense and decency!
You won't have done that, but I'm sure you've felt the effects of this virus at some time. We might call it obsession, or maybe stalking, but there are times when what we want, or who we want fills our minds constantly. In these times it is almost impossible to concentrate on God, reading His Word is dry and boring and going to church is a chore, because all we want is that one thing, to the exclusion of God!
Let me be specific… it is wrong to want success. It's not bad to be an ardent supporter of a football club, or a fan of a singer. It's not wrong to love a car, love your house or love your spouse. These are normal, wonderful feelings that bring us joy. But there is a line!
It becomes wrong when we exclude God and become obsessed with the thing or person.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
When you want it more than you want God, you're infected!
2. WHEN CONVERSATION IS ONLY ON IT
Our conversation gives our heart away! What do you talk about a lot? What fills your speech? When the things of the world engross most or all of our conversation, we are loving the world.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
In other words, what you are constantly talking about gives away what your heart is really obsessed with. If your conversation rarely includes God, what you've read in His Word, serving the Lord, church activities, etc. then ask what you are actually talking about! If you talk more about worldly things than about God, you're infected!
3. WHEN YOU CANNOT OR WILL NOT GIVE IT UP
If we are unwilling to part with something when need to, or to give it or anything in it up to God’s purposes, we are loving the world. When we refuse to give up something God asks us to, it is a sign that we love it more than we love God.
One of the hardest to give up to God is money… the Rich young Ruler
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
He didn't just have great possessions, they had him! What is it that has you that you won't give it up for God? If you won't give up something or someone for the Lord, you're infected!
4. WHEN YOU PRIDE YOURSELF IN IT
Pride is the original sin. If we pride ourselves in earthly distinctions, positions reputations or if we feel superior, if we expect others to treat us well and resent the smallest slight from others or take offence easily, we are loving the world.
God feels strongly about pride… He hates it!
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Even in the church pride is an issue! And the answer is not false humility, which is often how prideful Christians try and negate their pride. They gave me a badge for humility, but they took it off me because I wore it!
You can be proud of a job well done, or proud of your spouse, but that's not being prideful. When you become arrogant, feeling or acting superior, then you're loving the world more than the Lord, and loving yourself and your achievements instead of acknowledging that every success we have, every good thing we acquire, every compliment we receive is from God, not us!
If you're arrogant or prideful, you're infected!
5. WHEN YOU HAVEN'T GOT IT BUT LONG FOR IT
You don't have to have possession of something to have obsession with it! What do you long for? Companionship? A new car? Prestige? Money? Someone else's wife?
Discontentment with our portion of the world’s goods proclaims a criminal love for it. If we secretly grieve because we are not blessed with every earthly convenience or experience that others possess, we are loving the world.
If we envy others we cannot truly trust God that He should distribute his own gifts as he pleases and to whom he pleases.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Some rich people, all they talk about is money…. And some poor people too! And some of us are obsessed with the pursuit of money.
Sometimes I've found that poor people are more obsessed with money than rich. Everything they talk about, think about and everything they do is about getting more money, and how much they don't have! You don't have to have something to be obsessed by it!
What do you long for in your life? If you cannot answer more of Jesus and His Word, then it's a symptom of loving the world. If you're full of envy, you're infected!
6. WHEN YOU PURSUE IT MORE THAN GOD
When we pursue the world with greater zeal and enjoy it with higher relish than we do serving God and enjoying his favour, we are loving the world.
So how much do you want something, and what are you prepared to do in order to get it.
1 Timothy 6:10-11
For the love of money is a root of all. kinds of evils. It is through this craving (longing) that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Prostitute study. University campus, students were asked how much it would take for the, to sleep with someone they didn't know. Whatever the figure, you're a prostitute!
That verse says pursue righteousness, godliness, faith love, steadfastness and gentleness. Pursuing anything else, however good, reveals an idol in our hearts! If you're pursuing something that's not of God, you're infected!
7. WHEN YOU USE ANY MEANS TO ACQUIRE IT
As believers we have a standard… we must be Holy because He is Holy.
When we seek to obtain or retain the world’s objects in a wrong or ungodly manner or by questionable means, we are loving the world.
The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
When you love Jesus, the ends does not justify the means! If you are faithful to Him, if you are honest and have integrity, then you can rest assured that He is working on your behalf. You cannot lie cheat and steal and expect God's blessing. You might seem to prosper now, but you will give an account! If you're prepared to compromise your Christian walk and principles in order to get somewhere, or get something, you're infected!
THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF THIS VIRUS
1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
You cannot say you love God but live like you love the world! The two are incompatible. They are like oil and water, fire and ice, myself and classy dressing!
Imagine proposing to a girl and she says, “yes, I'll marry you, but I love and am devoted to my ex boyfriend far more than you and I am never going to stop loving him, and putting him first.” Would you go ahead with it? I wouldn't!
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” In fact, you cannot serve God and anything else!
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Verse 16 defines what the world system consists of with three parallel phrases:
LUST OF THE FLESH
The Word desires is actually the word lusts, from the Greek meaning to be hot after or burn for something. In our world we think of lust in a sexual way, but John is thinking way beyond that.
Lust of the Flesh means a burning desire for anything that satisfies your flesh, to the exclusion of what God wants you to have. It is becoming a slave to pleasures, becoming prisoner of your own desires. You might think you're free to satisfy your lust for everything , but no matter how nicely you decorate your cell, you're still a prisoner!
Taken to the extreme, lust of the flesh makes us become “gluttonous in food, . . . slavish in pleasure, lustful and lax in morals, selfish in the use of possessions; regardless of all the spiritual values; extravagant in the gratification of selfish or material desires.” And it is closely linked with…
LUST OF THE EYES
“The lust of the eyes” describes someone who is captivated by an outward show of materialism. See a new car, must have it. See a dress, must have it. See a position, must have it.
Cars, houses, dresses, positions, etc., are not in and of themselves sinful. But the inordinate desire to have what we see is sinful. An inordinate desire to have anything contrary to God’s will is sinful. It's lust of the eyes.
Our society, the world if you like, spends billions of dollars trying to stimulate the lust of the flesh and the eyes. If it's not sex, it's cars, houses or the latest gadget. We think that pleasure is our God ordained right, and we will pay any price to have happiness.
PRIDE OF LIFE
The third phrase, “pride of life,” describes the arrogant spirit of self-sufficiency. It expresses the desire for recognition, applause, status, and advantage in life. The phrase describes the pride in what life can offer you.
This is definitely part of our modern life, as evidenced by that which sums up our modern world… the selfie! We have a self serving attitude in everything, and it's all about me. It's like standing in the old house of mirrors, where they have mirrors on either side of you. Everywhere you look as far as the eye can see, is me, me, me, I , I, I?
So all of these things are the symptoms of a mind viral infection called the LOVE OF THE WORLD VIRUS. Now let me conclude with God’s antivirus…
You can choose what you become obsessed with. You can follow a team, or be a crazy fan. You can love a person, or be consumed by your love of them. The choice is yours. David wrote…
For zeal for your house has consumed me,
And later Paul encourages us…
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
The cure to the LOVE OF THE WORLD virus is simple… love the Lord more. But how can you do that? How can you fall in love with the Lord more and more every day?
We looked at it last week… the way to combat this virus, to protect yourself from it and to refuse it’s influence in your subconscious is simply this. Fill your subconscious mind with the things of God, things that place God and His values centrally into mind.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The best antivirus program for your mind to combat and protect against this virus is to fill your mind with good and godly things. If you suspect that you're infected, turn off that TV, get off Facebook, stop reading 50 Shades of Gray and start reading the Bible, listening to Christian music and coming to church. Don't just surround yourself with godly thoughts, immerse yourself in them, until your zeal for God far exceeds the pull of the world.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Every one of us here feel the pull of this virus, without exception. What is it that is pulling you, how has this virus infected you?
What is it that caresses you, obsesses you, possesses you?
I want you to Image you have your entire life in your hands and come and lay it before God this morning.