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17 “dangerous” apps to remove immediately from your smartphone: A reflection on the path to experiencing God’s best this year

January 9, 2024 -

A lone hand holds up a smartphone covered in six red sticky notes, each of which has a poison symbol on it depicting malware. By stokkete/stock.adobe.com

A lone hand holds up a smartphone covered in six red sticky notes, each of which has a poison symbol on it depicting malware. By stokkete/stock.adobe.com

A lone hand holds up a smartphone covered in six red sticky notes, each of which has a poison symbol on it depicting malware. By stokkete/stock.adobe.com

If you own one of the nearly seven billion smartphones in the world, here is news you need to know: researchers have identified seventeen “dangerous” apps you need to delete from your device now. According to Forbes, they are known as “SpyLoan malware.” An expert quoted in the article explains that they “present themselves as legitimate personal loan services, promising quick and easy access to funds.” In fact, they are designed to steal personal information, including account details, messages, and contacts.

I read the article immediately after finding this description of our calling: “The lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts” (Malachi 2:7). And this consequence if we fail: “But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction” (vv. 8–9).

As we begin this new year, I have become convicted that the single most important resolution I can make is to do all I can to be someone God can use fully. The Holy Spirit is looking for holy vessels through whom to continue the earthly ministry of Jesus. He wants to speak to us and through us. He wants to lead us where we can most fully serve God’s kingdom. He wants to make more of us so we can make more of our Lord.

But first, we must remove the “apps” from our minds that keep us from being fully his.

Ten tenets that created our worldview

For many years, I taught a doctoral seminar at Dallas Baptist University in which I surveyed the history of Western thought. The purpose was to identify those tenets that have created our postmodern minds and culture so we can then counter them biblically and serve our Lord redemptively.

At the conclusion of our survey, I highlighted this “top ten” list:

  1. Separate the spiritual and the secular.
  2. Locate truth with the individual.
  3. Accommodate truth to culture.
  4. Reject ecclesiastical authority.
  5. Reject absolute truth.
  6. Deconstruct language.
  7. Resist power structures.
  8. Affirm a chaotic worldview.
  9. Replace truth with tolerance.
  10. Brand religion as dangerous.

Would you take a moment to see if any of these are “apps” living in your mind?

For example, #1 is a regular temptation for me. I tend to think of my workday as belonging to God and the rest of the day as mine. This can lead me into activities that are not productive for the kingdom or my soul and can even open the door to the Enemy’s whisper that private sins are acceptable since they will “never” become public. You and I know these to be lies, but they stem from a worldview that reserves part of our days and our lives for ourselves separate from the lordship of Christ.

Does this “app” tempt you? Do others on the list?

How to be “the messenger of the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts”

Our culture needs nothing more than it needs to hear a word from God. Not just about him but from him. However, returning to our text in Malachi 2, before we can expect people to “seek instruction” from our mouth, they must first believe that we are “the messenger of the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts.” Messenger translates the Hebrew for “prophet, envoy, angel.” Of the Lᴏʀᴅ shows that we belong to him and represent him in all we do; he is the source of the message for which we are merely the conduit.

To fulfill this calling, our lips must guard knowledge. The Hebrew means to “observe and then protect understanding.” So, the sequence seems clear:

  1. We seek, protect, and cherish biblical truth and wisdom with our hearts and then our words.
  2. We thus become the “messenger of the Lᴏʀᴅ.”
  3. The people can then seek instruction from us, knowing that they are hearing from the Lord himself.

Clearly, the best way the Enemy can stop this process is to defeat its first step. Corrosion on a plug keeps it from carrying the electrical current it was designed to transmit. Scripture is clear: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5–6).

Accordingly, let’s “set [our] minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). Let’s “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” so we can “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Let’s pray with the psalmist, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways” (Psalm 119:15).

In short, let’s claim the “mind of Christ” in our every thought, word, and deed (1 Corinthians 2:16).

“You are to be radiant lights”

St. Gregory Nazianzen (AD 329–390) was a great champion of the biblical faith and specifically the doctrine of the Trinity (in conflict with Arianism). In one of his sermons, he urged us:

Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as you have now received—though not in its fullness—a ray of its splendor proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

How will you “be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed” today?

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