computers throughout the world got hit hard by an e-mail-borne virus known as
the Love Bug. Those of us who remember the 1960s movie by that name (about a
Volkswagen named Herbie) might have had a difficult time taking the Love Bug
seriously. But those whose computers were infected by the virus had nothing to
laugh about. In just a few short hours, this insidious bug spread across the
globe via electronic mail messages. A simple e-mail that started out in the
relatively low-tech nation of the Philippines soon brought businesses and
universities in the high-tech world of the United States and Western Europe to
virus was disguised as a love letter of sorts. "I LOVE YOU,"
proclaimed the heading of these Love Bug messages. Yet when computer users
clicked on this electronic "love letter," they discovered an
attachment that wreaked havoc on e-mail files, stored images, and even sound
files. The bug replicated itself by opening a user’s e-mail address book and
automatically sending itself to every address in that book.
Looking for love
No doubt many
people were excited to see a nice "love note" waiting in their e-mail
folders when they logged on to their computers. Chances are the return address
on the e-mail was from someone they knew, or at least were acquainted with.
Perhaps the hearts of some even skipped a beat, as they prepared to read the
confessions of some secret admirer.
Let’s face it:
We all want to be loved. And people everywhere are looking for love (usually
"in all the wrong places," as that old country song put it).
But instead of a
love note, what we got with the Love Bug was yet another virtual virus.
We reached out
for love, and again we were disillusioned.
How often has
that happened in our high-tech, low-touch world? No wonder we’re so jaded.
Another kind of
But nearly 2,000
years ago, another "love bug" virus spread rapidly throughout the
civilized world, turning entire cities upside down and bringing thousands to
their knees. The message started out in the low-tech region of Judea, and spread
like wildfire throughout the high-tech empire of Rome. Though it did not spread
as quickly as the modern-day Love Bug, this virus is still with us today, in a
somewhat mutated form. It continues to spread, most quickly through nations in
Asia and the Middle East, where cultural antibodies such as sin and apathy have
not built up enough resistance to halt its spread. In other parts of the world,
however, where the virus has been more prevalent, the antibodies have become
strong enough over time enough to resist this bug.
If you haven’t
figured it out yet, the old "love bug" is Jesus, God’s gift of
eternal life. But unlike the modern-day computer viruses, the Jesus virus offers
love that never fails.
The Jesus love
bug is a good love bug. But we live in a time in which the Body of Christ’s
antibodies —our sin—have built up resistance to this virus. And because
lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12).
Are we infected
by the Jesus love bug? Or have the antibodies of this world, the sin of this
world, made us resistant to this ancient virus? Here’s are a couple of ways to
Do we love God
or the world?
For many of us, the world has become our home. Rather than living our lives to
"occupy" until Jesus returns (Luke 19:13), we have become friends with
this sin-tainted world. For that reason, James calls us "Adulterers and
adulteresses!" (James 4:4). The Amplified Bible puts it this way:
You [are like]
unfaithful wives having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your
marriage vow to God! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being
God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as
an enemy of God
husband or wife who commits adultery could hardly be called
"faithful." And to claim to love one’s partner while being
unfaithful is the height of hypocrisy!
Is our love
love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans
12:9). The Contemporary English Version translation of that verse puts it
plainly: Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and
hold tight to everything that is good.
characteristic of those infected with the Jesus love bug is their attitude
toward evil. If we are sincere in our love for God, then we will hate the things
He hates and love the things He loves.
The proof is in
the pudding. Do we love the sinful garbage of the world—its music, its movies,
its entertainment—more than the things of God? Would we rather gossip with our
neighbors than share Christ with them? Would we rather watch a trashy talk show
than read our Bibles? Would we rather surf the Internet for pornography than
spend time in fellowship with other Christians? Would we rather read our
horoscopes than engage our soul and spirit in Bible study?
By this we
know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His
commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And
His commandments are not burdensome
(1 John 4:2-3).
Just how sincere
is our love for others—or for God? Are we merely kidding ourselves by saying
we love God? Do we have the "love bug"? Are we infected? Are we
contagious? How many people have caught the love bug from you lately?
Catch the real
Love Bug—and then don’t just keep it to yourself. Infect others!