Internet Filters: Make It Difficult to Sin
- Friday, April 14, 2006
“Hey Rand, I’ve got a problem, and I wonder if you could help me. I caught my dad a couple days ago viewing pornography on the computer in his office. He doesn’t know that I saw him through the window, and I’m not sure how to confront him. My biggest problem is this: he’s not just my dad; he’s also my pastor. I don’t know what to do.”
I feel sorry for the teenage preachers’ kids who will have to face what this seventeen-year-old boy faced. We as preachers must take heed, watch out, and be careful … lest we fall! Clerical failure in areas of morality has become almost epidemic. Throughout the constant bombardment of sexual temptations, we must be aggressive in our fight to maintain personal purity. Most of us would agree that it is easier to stay away from temptation than it is to say “no” to temptation. I have reminded many teens that I love (and I mean love) MacDonald’s french fries. But if I were to eat MacDonald’s french fries every day of my life, I would look like a super-sized happy-meal, so I stay away from the Golden Arches. Today’s preachers should stay away from unfiltered Internet access. Inevitably, the consequences of impurity will manifest themselves.
Do you have a wake-up prayer? Maybe you should start praying for God’s daily protection and base your prayer on passages like Matthew 6:13 and Romans 13:14. “Lord, keep me pure today. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. Make it hard for me to sin and easy for me to do right! Help me to put on the character of my Lord Jesus Christ and to resist the temptation to satisfy the lusts of my flesh. Please make it hard for me to sin and easy for me to do right. Amen.”
I would encourage all of us as ministers of the Word of God to actively and purposefully put filters on both what comes into our computers and our minds.
Put a Filter on Your Computer
I used to recommend a list of dozens of Internet filters that included programs that were expensive and confusing memory hogs—which were excellent at slowing down one’s computer. Recently I have personally met two Christian men who have produced an excellent filtering program that has received the highest rating by Consumer Reports (June 2005) and has been featured in many broadcast and print news articles. The program, now available for both PCs and Macs, is called Safe Eyes (www.safeeyes.com).
Safe Eyes enables you to determine where you and your family members go online, how often you go there, and how much time is spent on each journey into cyberspace. For a one-time cost of $49.95, Safe Eyes will filter out undesirable Web sites and report Internet activity in such a way that it will make it hard for you to sin and easy for you to do right. (This may sound like a commercial, but it is not. I do not receive one penny from Safe Eyes, but I want adults to protect themselves and their kids from the barrage of objectionable material online. If you don’t get Safe Eyes, find some filtering program that works for you.) I don’t want to sound harsh, but anyone who has unfiltered Internet access in his home or office is a Proverbs 22:3 simpleton. Job made a covenant with his eyes to keep them safe from objectionable material! So should we. Filter your computer.
Put a Filter on Your Mind
How can we keep our minds clean? David put it this way, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9). The words taking heed are from the same root as the word diligence in Proverbs 4:23, where we are commanded to keep our hearts with all diligence. Our minds are to be encircled, completely wrapped, with the very words or oracles of God, which act as a filter for what enters our minds.
This does not just happen. It takes a solid commitment to both Scripture memorization and meditation. Meditation is essential for anyone who desires to stay pure. The word translated “meditation” throughout Scripture is also translated imagine (Psalm 2:1, 38:12), studieth (Proverbs 15:28, 24:2), utter, mutter, talk, or speak (Job 27:4; Psalm 37:30, 71:24; Proverbs 8:7) and mourn (Isaiah 16:7, 38:14, 59:11). It is usually defined as murmuring or speaking to oneself. How often do we as believers devote a full morning to studying, imagining, talking through, speaking to ourselves (meditating) about one specific characteristic of God taught in His Word?
Meditation is a form of creative thinking. Using word studies, comparisons with other passages, and a good study Bible, we can grasp what God is saying and determine how to apply it in a life-changing way. For instance, if we set aside an entire hour to meditate on how much God loves righteousness and hates evil, our doing so will affect our thinking in such a way that we will personally begin loving good and hating evil more.
We must meditate on God’s Word in order to come to the fullest possible understanding of it. Most of us have developed lazy habits in reading, grammar, and word study. We often glance over a word we think we know rather than gaze into its true intent and purpose. For instance, when Paul uses the phrase “for this cause” it is so easy to keep reading rather than stop and think, “What cause?” “What is this driving force in Paul’s life?” “What was his essential reason for living?” “What is my ultimate reason, purpose, or cause for living?” “Have I attached myself to a cause bigger than myself, my wants, my time, and my life?” After I have pondered these questions, Paul’s simple phrase “for this cause” takes on a new relevance, and my heart is convicted because I have been living for my own causes and not God’s! Meditation is essential for all who seek victory over sexual temptations. Failure in sexual temptations comes from a lack of knowledge, a misunderstanding of Bible principles, or a misapplication of scriptural truth. We can live pure, holy lives, free from bondage or enslavement to sexual sins, as we begin thinking as God thinks. That takes time! That takes energy! That takes meditation!
Below is an excerpt from my new book entitled Lest You Fall: Meditations to Fight Moral Impurity (BJU Press, www.bjup.com). Because most of us know what God loves and what God hates and we all preach what needs to be put off and what needs to be put on, we must be committed to renewing our minds so that we will desire to put on what God loves and put off what God hates. Take your time reading the following section and meditate on each thought:
Do you really want to be a slave to sin?
This is what God says: Proverbs 7:22–23 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
Now think about it.
Straightway, immediately, all at once, without fighting the temptation at all, he chased after that which he thought would satisfy his sexual desires, with as much sense as an ox that hurries towards the butcher who has some tasty grain in his one hand to lure him and a knife in the other ready to take his life from him, or as a non-thinking deer that steps into a bear trap, holding him captive until the hunter shoots his bow, sending an arrow of death straight through his liver, or as a bird that flies straight into a snare, not knowing that the hunter put the snare in that very place to catch and kill him.
How can this affect me?
Those caught up in sexual addiction are quite impulsive. They act first and think later. When they are faced with any sexual temptation, from filthy pornography to a promiscuous person, they “straightway” run to the sin without any thought of the consequences. All they desire is that instant satisfaction the flesh so deceitfully cries for. They are blinded to the fact that you cannot sin and win. The immoral butcher is ready to slit their throat, and the seducing hunter has his arrow ready to fly through the heart of the unsuspecting sexual addict. Satan will kill and destroy every man or woman he can get his wicked hands on. He uses immorality as the bait, and sadly to say, often bags his limit. Satan would love to add you to his list of trophies. He wants you dead.
We need to filter what comes through our computers and everything that comes to our minds. Make it difficult to sin and easy to do right.
Rand Hummel has worked for more than 25 years at The WILDS, a Christian camp and conference center in North Carolina. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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