When we are faced with temptation, our proper response is to immediately bring it to God in prayer.
By 2025, it is predicted that worldwide cybercrime will total $10.5 trillion, exceeding the combined GDP of every country in the world except than the United States and China.
As an illustration, just recently, ransomware attacked Los Angeles Unified, the second-largest school district in the United States with over 640,000 pupils enrolled. There has been a recent uptick in attacks against educational institutions.
The water industry, the healthcare system, and the nation’s energy grids, oil refineries, and factories are all increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. The technology company Uber Technologies announced yesterday that it was conducting an investigation into a cybersecurity incident that had resulted in the temporary shutdown of several internal communications and engineering systems.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced charges against three Iranian nationals for their alleged roles in cyberattacks against the United States and other countries. They are still at large and likely in Iran at this time. A reward of $10 million has been offered by the State Department for information leading to the capture of the three suspects. At least ten individuals and two organizations with ties to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been hit with sanctions by the United States Treasury Department over allegations that they have been behind ransomware and other cyberattacks dating back to at least 2020.
That which we should repeat to ourselves every day
One of Satan’s most potent weapons against God’s kingdom progressing via God’s people is “hidden” sins, as I mentioned yesterday. The Spirit, who alone can give us the strength to do eternal good, is grieved by sins known only to God.
The power of words to change people’s hearts is limited. Only the Holy Spirit can transform sinners into God’s new creation (John 16:8), and that transformation begins with repentance (2 Corinthians 5:17). Only the Spirit, acting in and through us, can accomplish things of lasting value.
Because of this, we should constantly remind ourselves, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
But Satan is aware of this as well, and uses three aspects of culture to undermine the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s people:
We have been conditioned to believe that the world revolves around us as customers, thanks to the efforts of shrewd marketers.
As fallen beings, we are afflicted with the “will to power” to become our own god (Genesis 3:5).
Protestants emphasize the instantaneous nature of God’s forgiveness and grace when we confess our sins to him, in contrast to the Catholic understanding of penance for sins in this life and purgatory for them in the afterlife (1 John 1:9).
Satan appeals to all three when he convinces us that we can choose to commit “hidden” sins and later confess them without repercussions. We tell ourselves that nobody except God knows, and that God forgets as much as he forgives (Isaiah 43:25). However, we must keep in mind that Satan is at war with a God he cannot strike directly (Revelation 12:9), so instead, he assaults God’s children in an effort to wound God (1 Peter 5:8). Hurting my children or grandchildren would be the most effective method to hurt me.
Therefore, Satan’s evil nature forbids him from presenting us with a temptation that does not result in more harm than good. This rule is always in effect.
Three revelations regarding hidden wrongdoings
Three things regarding “hidden sins” that are worth keeping in mind are as follows:
- One: “Secret” shame from “Secret” transgressions can be crippling.
After God pardons our sins, Satan punishes us with feelings of shame over the identical acts he enticed us to perform in the first place. Another way we punish ourselves for sins God has already forgotten is by feeling guilty about them. Its debilitating effects on our daily life bring us to the second factor:
- Two: “Secret” sins make us feel like God can’t possibly use us.
Satan whispers in our ear while we are engaging in “hidden” sins, even after we have confessed them, that we are hypocrites if we share our faith with others when we are not entirely living up to it ourselves. This is a major factor explaining why more Christians don’t preach the gospel openly and persistently. It dampens our enthusiasm for serving the kingdom in other ways, and it discourages us when we do.
- Third, even after confession, “secret” sins still prevent us from receiving eternal reward.
Scripture says that those who “stay firm amid tribulation” will be rewarded with the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12). We lose such a crown every time we don’t make the grade. Although God removes the punishment we deserve for our transgressions, we will never get the benefits we deserve for repenting.
Just what is the answer here?
Satan doesn’t waste his time tempting us to sin when he knows we can overcome them. Therefore, we can rest assured that no temptation we confront is one we can overcome on our own. Yet, Satan’s approach for enticing us includes tempting us to resist temptation to the best of our abilities. Inch by inch, he sinks us more and deeper into the quicksand, until we can’t get out.
So, what is the solution to “hidden” sins?
Training oneself to automatically pray to God when faced with temptation. Forgetting this habit puts us at a disadvantage for being “filled” and energized by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). It helps us become more like our heavenly Father and more useful to his kingdom.
If there’s one thing Satan despises more than having his wickedness put to good use, it’s being put to good use, as Renaissance thinker Erasmus pointed out.
The bottom line is that giving into temptation makes us weaker. In the long run, we benefit by exercising willpower and saying “no” to temptation.
Are you going to finish today better than you started it?