by Brian Bettes
I sat staring at the number…147. I had only been gone a couple of days, and in that time I had amassed 147 “pieces” of junk email. What a pain!
If you are like me, you have an email folder marked “Junk Email.” It seems that no matter how much I “unsubscribe” from advertising websites, the flow of junk email continues to bombard me. It is email I didn’t ask for and I don’t want, yet everyday it gets forced upon me. Part of the “privilege” of using the internet for what I need it for, and getting emails from those I wish to receive them from, is that I must allow for the distraction of being assaulted by advertisers who are constantly broadcasting their products, services, and scams. They are attempting to entice me to spend money on them or fall for their lies so they can steal valuable information that will allow them to rob me blind. Though I have a filter called “rules” to sort out what is typically junk email and what is legitimate email, I still have to skim through the junk emails to see if anything has gotten into the wrong folder. Thanks to the evolving creativity of email advertisers, sometimes I still get junk email in my Inbox, and on rare occasion legitimate emails get pushed into my Junk Email folder.
This brings me to some interesting parallels between my thoughts and my emails. Though I am able to focus the majority of my time and energy on those thoughts I want to think about, I still find that I am forced to consume a significant amount of mental effort to sort through the barrage of thoughts that flow into my head unannounced, unrequested, and unwanted. Why is that?
Ephesians 2:2 talks about “the prince of the power of the air” and his spiritual influence over “the children of disobedience.” Satan the Devil is constantly broadcasting his “ads” to us. Like email advertisements, he is constantly trying to get his messages to land in the Inbox of our minds and stick there. He is ruthless and relentless in using these messages to attempt to distract us, or to steal our thoughts away from God and His purpose for us. As the scripture states, he is like a roaring lion prowling about looking to destroy God’s children in any way he can (1 Peter 5:8).
Like with email, we should have a filter that sorts our thoughts as they come into our heads. That filter is the Word of God. Everything needs to be filtered through God’s Word. It is the only source that can identify what is truth and what is not (Hebrews 4:12; John 17:17). Some thoughts are obviously from Satan and can immediately be thrown into the “junk” folder; others, not so much! We may have to “read” them carefully, and then study deeply to determine what source they are coming from. The closer we are to the Word of God, the easier it is to discern good from evil. The closer our relationship with our Father and Jesus Christ is, the safer we are when errant thoughts are pushed into our heads.
Though all of the armor of God is important to wear in our daily battle against our enemy, wearing the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Word of God are specifically noted as part of our protective covering (Ephesians 6:11-18). Along with using this armor, God gives us a set of filing “rules” for the mental emails that come into our heads. He says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
As we go about our day, Satan will attempt to distract us, enticing us to buy his “emails” by bombarding us with his lustful, sinful, negative, rebellious thoughts. That is not new. He tried to do the same with Jesus Christ. And as with Christ, our protection is using the Word of God against him (Matthew 4:1-11). If we use the same tactic that Jesus Christ did, he will have to flee from us just as he did from Christ.
So the next time you find yourself getting Satan’s “emails” that don’t align with Philippians 4:8, use the Word of God to reject them. File them in your Spiritual Junk Email folder, and then delete them!