As I type, I'm waiting for "Malwarebytes" to finish scanning my computer. It's been over 1 hour and 17 minutes. Still counting.
While I was working today, a fake anti-virus alert (saying it was from Windows) popped up on my screen suddenly. When I tried to open my security software or search Google for info, I found that the malware had blocked both avenues of help. I was also seeing "alerts" constantly warning me of fake threats manufactured in order to scare me into giving out financial information to buy false protection from the malware site.
I used another computer to research the specific tactics of this malware: Deception, blocking help, and fear. As I read, it occurred to me just how universal these evil principles are.
Facing temptation to linger in anger or to dwell on discouragement are attacks that I face fairly regularly. Dealing with these temptations is a challenge, but knowing the intricacies of how they work will help me to defeat any attack the devil wishes to launch on my life.
When I consider the deception of a temptation, I am reminded that the Bible warns "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." It is my job to be on guard against ideas that look and sound fairly safe but will really lead me deeper into sin. It may sound good to say, "I have a right to be angry!" But ultimately, if I let my anger get the best of me, then I have lost self-control and lost the battle against sin. In order to be victorious, I must guard against philosophies and ideas that sound good but are not biblical.
In order to be able to recognize the dangerous, deceptive ideas that infiltrate my thoughts, I have to be rooted in God's word and in prayer to get help. Temptation will always attempt to block my access to God's help. Just like the malware blocked the helpful tools on my computer that would guide me to remove my problem, temptation can block off my prayer life and my time in God's Word. Feelings of weariness, discouragement, or anger can make me not want to pray. In my despair, I am tempted to leave the Bible unopened. "What good will it do anyway?" I often wonder. When I do that, I put myself in the weakest position possible because I can't get the help I need from God. Persistence and determination to find helpful guidance from God are the only ways to succeed against such an attack.
Finally, the tactic of fear can paralyze me and render me completely vulnerable too. When I am attacked with fear about my future, there are two things that can happen - I either shut down and become paralyzed by my fears, making me unable to act, or I get so flustered that I act rashly and impatiently, leaving no time for wisdom or for God to work. When under temptation, panicking is highly dangerous and can quickly lead to either foolish action or, worse yet, no action at all.
My malware attack was defeated by guarding against deception, determining to find access to help, and not letting fear motivate me into making rash choices or taking no action at all. Now, several hours later, I finally have the option to "remove selected" threats from my computer. The same can happen spiritually when we guard against the devil's reasonable-sounding lies, determine to walk with God daily, and decide not to let fear rule our decisions. Relying on the Lord will give us the victory in every battle, no matter what.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)