It’s been a while since I have been troubled with malware; the little bits of software that cling on for dear life to your computer redirecting your webpages, taking you to places you don’t want to go and to see things you shouldn’t really see. But last week, one little bug nearly made me throw the computer in the recycling.

It didn’t seem to matter what I did, or which programmes I uninstalled, the computer was determined that I should visit a website about Russian brides or buy products that I didn’t even know I needed. For a while, I was helpless and at the mercy of wherever the browser wanted to take me. It took several hours, and three different programmes to rid my computer of the clingy little blighter and thoroughly clean my device. It’s amazing that one little bit of software can cause so much trouble and take up so much time to resolve.

After the deep clean came the inquisition; where did this malware come from? How did it get on my computer? How I protect myself from future attacks and ensure that my computing experience is malware-free? Finally, I discovered the culprit – I had downloaded a programme I wanted to use but failed to notice the tiny checkbox which automatically downloaded a whole load of other stuff – including the malware. Bless ’em!

It’s a modern day parable.
How easy it is to entertain things which end up clinging to us, sapping our energy, wasting our time and causing us strife. These might be otherwise good things, like TV or social media or the like, which starts off innocent or innocuous but ends up consuming us and clamouring for our time and attention. We have systems in place to protect our technology; why not our spiritual lives too?

Lent is a good chance to do things differently, to do a spiritual detox. It is a chance to consider how we spend our time, what things we entertain in our lives which rob us of the Peace and Life we long for.

Lord, help us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.