“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
On several occasions this month I have had an automated telephone call saying: “Thank you for making your purchase of a mobile phone with…”. It goes on to say: if the item is not my purchase all I have to do is to press “one” on the phone to talk to the helpdesk.
It transpires this is a blatant lie, a phishing scam to entice you to press “one” to endeavour to get your bank details under false pretence.
I have a two-step verification process set up that sends a code to my mobile phone before I buy something. Consequently I know: no code – no purchase. My bank details with the company are safe from fraud. Nevertheless, caught off guard by calls like this, it gives me a moment of perplexed anxiety. I ask: could this be true? The call is designed to seek out the unsuspecting.
So it is prudent to be vigilant when receiving these invitations to call the helpdesk. If in any doubt I log on to my details separately to make sure I have not forgotten something. By now I have come to recognise their familiar biddings.
We live in an era of one click purchases or comments in the public domain. Twitter, Facebook, vlogs, blogs, YouTube etc. For many their lives revolve around social trends and social capital, time spent keeping-up-with-the-Joneses and appearance. Again these media circuses can seek to deceive by misinformation, fake news, and dangerous lies. Misinformation presented as the truth just for a click that makes for them, satisfaction, money or fame.
There is good too: a call to a loved one serving overseas etc. It can be online shopping for the shut-ins, someone leading discipleship courses, evangelistic outreach, education, D.I.Y. how to do, or fix, videos or uplifting music, email, podcast and video to get you through the day.
When desires, doubts, fears and thoughts go to the centre of our being how can we know what influences and calls are good and true?
Our decisions and values can be held up to the test of Scripture and, by prayer, through the power of the Holy Spirit, eventually we recognise unhelpful influences we have allowed to muddy the water of our souls and minds.
Some Christian truths are absolute and yet we should not fall into the temptation to hate or dismiss out of hand the views of others. We can disagree without being sucked into becoming polarised and fearful.
In Jesus and Scripture we too have a verification service to filter out the false from the true through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we hear the voice of the Shepherd.
“Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:20 ESV)
Prayer: LORD, we thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve.
We thank You for always being there, trustworthy, always upholding Truth, for being our companion. In a world of full of misinformation please enable us to hear Your still small voice in our beings to guide us through the storm of modern life.
By Your leading, enable us to let go of the past and the boldness and grace to change the future for the better by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, amen.