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01 April 2008

"Show Hidden Files"

This is not a computer tech post. I'm writing so that this is understandable, hopefully, even to those who don't know the difference between a CPU, a motherboard, RAM, and hard drive space. I'm even skipping a lot of the boring stuff (and of course, it's still a long-ish post).

I'm diligent about deleting old files or moving them to a backup hard drive to free up space. My laptop, which purportedly came with a 40 gigabyte drive (very small by today's standards), fills up quickly, and I find myself performing "deletive maintenance" (my new term) on it pretty regularly. I also do a bunch of other stuff to keep the computer running smoothly -- AdAware, CCleaner, etc.

Last night I thought I'd deleted all the old files that I could possibly delete, but I was still left with only about 8% free space on my drive. Not only did I really need more free space for some graphics I was working on, but programs were running slowly, and since I kept getting a warning message when I began to defrag ("Don't do this unless you have 15% free space") I fired up the old, free version of SpaceMonger to make one last attempt at finding something I could delete.

(SpaceMonger is really neat because it gives a visual representation of what's on your hard drive. That is, large files appear as big "blocks" and small files appear as little ones. Everything is sectioned off for a great overview at a glance.)

I was shocked when I saw a large folder in the root directory (the main area of the hard drive; think about the roots of a tree rather than the branches) that I'd never even noticed before. It was a "hidden" folder, to be sure, but I have my computer set to show hidden folders and files; I had just never noticed it. After a bit of searching to see if I could delete the files without negative side effects, I took the plunge.

It freed up about 15 gigabytes! On a 40GB drive, that's a proportionally large amount. (If you have an IBM or Lenovo laptop, I'll be happy to share my findings with you.)

This situation, of course, made me think of my continually developing walk with Christ. I perform regular "maintenance" (things like daily Bible reading and study and prayer), I meet with others for worship, I go out into the world and carry the Good News with me, and I've even turned on the "show hidden files" setting in my life for the Father to reveal to me what's going on in those areas of my life that I formerly wanted to be off-limits to Him.

But as our walk with Christ grows, it's possible, and even likely, that we'll find areas of our lives and things about ourselves that we have overlooked. Ferreting these areas out takes diligence and an honest desire for the Word of God and Holy Spirit to show them to us (2 Timothy 3:14-17, John 16:7-8)

While many of the offending areas of our lives are corrected gradually ("Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling..." - Philippians 2:12 (NLT), emphasis mine), they may sometimes be revealed in a single, eye-opening moment. I believe these are the most painful to deal with, because they often require sweeping changes in our habits and lifestyles, and we can actually be scared to hit the "delete" button because of potential side-effects. These side-effects might be things like the potential loss of a friendship, having to remove illegal files from your computer (programs you use every day), or even obeying the speed limit (you'd have to modify your behavior patterns so you can leave the house earlier).

The time following recognition is the time for action, not for thinking, "You know, I really need to do something about that."


Jan said...

Hi Dean, I enjoyed your post. I feel like God has had me in a place of refinement for several years now and becoming very honest with yourself is not always easy! It is quite often painful. I think that it quite simply can boil down to "knowing yourself". That probably sounds weird, but there are many things about ourselves that we just accept unthinkingly. We were raised that way, it's in the culture we are surrounded by, etc. We don't recognize it as a sinful thought pattern or a sinful behavior because it is so very ingrained in us. We don't CHOOSE to do it knowingly, it is a sin we have slowly learned over time and it is very insiduous and sneaky, such as manipulating others, coping with stress in unhealthy ways, thinking untruthfully about ourselves, etc. There are so many examples. But I definitely think about the refiner's fire when I think of deleting those hidden files in our life. Self knowledge and awareness is - all at once - painful and liberating. I think of Jesus' words - "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." May we know the TRUTH about our inmost being.

Preston N said...

Jan - I find your comments "We don't CHOOSE to do it knowingly, it is a sin we have slowly learned over time...... and "knowing yourself" very interesting.

This often reminds me of when people say I am going off to "find myself". All men have been created with the God given ability of self-awareness. To say we don't know ourselves is really an oxymoron. Mankind has been created in the image of God and we are equipped with one of the most powerful tools of self-awareness and that is our moral conscience. To deny not knowing ourselves (or our sins), is to say one really has no conscience. Rather than stating "Self Knowledge and awareness is painful and liberating", I would attribute this to the consceince fully at work or a condition of guilt - which is a product of the conscience.

Also to say "We don't CHOOSE to do it knowingly, it is a sin we have slowly learned over time..... We also need to be careful here as not to give excuse to sin - under the guise of "Well I really didn't know any better or I was unaware that I was sinning". Sin is defined as "lawlessness" or as the "willfill disobedience of God's known laws. James 4:17 defines sin as: “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”. Sin is rooted in knowledge and not acting rightly in accordance to that knowledge. God has given us not only a moral conscience, but also the Word of God (the Law) to re-emphasize what we already "know" in our own hearts and minds as to what is right and wrong. Even in your statement you stated "we have learned to do something that is sinful" - then knowledge played a vital role in the development and learning of that sin. If that "knowledge" or "learning" is contrary to benevolence or our conscience - then we are fully responsible & accountable to God for that sin.

Your statement "You shall know the Truth and the Turth shall set you free" says it all about accountability of sin and salvation. It is "knowing" truth that brings change to the mind and then the heart. Without "knowing" the Truth we can not fully change our hearts towards God and the law of Love. Therefore, all men are without excuse for their rebellion against God, not because they didn't know any better or they were somehow unaware of their sin, but on the contrary - they do "know" righteousness and yet they still choose evil and thus rebel against God. The bigger question here is what do men do with the knowledge of the "Truth" once they have received it? Change their hearts and minds or make excuses? In the end men are without excuse for the sins they commit - not because of our constitution or so called "sinful nature" - but because they have willfully decided not to act upon the knowledge of the Truth they have received.

Dean Lusk said...

I believe there were several things within Jan's post that you read and received differently from the way I did, Preston.

Your first point, in which you state, "To say we don't know ourselves is really an oxymoron," takes Jan's original statement out of context, I believe. You are absolutely correct, in one way, to state that this sentence is an oxymoron -- if it stands alone. Her comment, as I understand it, speaks of the process of self-discovery that every person who has ever lived has gone through. I am going through it daily, and it's likely that you are going through some sort of process like this, too. It is a part of life, and certainly a part of the life of a Christ-follower.

"To deny not knowing ourselves (or our sins), is to say one really has no conscience." I don't believe this to be true. If this were the case (as I read what you're saying), neither the written Word nor the Spirit would ever convict one of sin, not would the law make one aware of sin, since we would know about every sin inherently, which is what would have to be the case to make such a blanket statement true.

To draw a practical parallel, "Do I really sound like that?" is a question most people ask the first time they hear themselves on an audio recording. This is a bit of self-discovery, which the medium of recording facilitates.

I have a moderate emergency developing, so I can't proof this or finish my point... More later!

Preston N said...

Dean, let me maybe clarify a few things here. I would define sin as James 4:17 puts forth that Sin is really a violation of knowledge. In other words, when we sin we violate that which we KNOW to be right. How else could it be sin? All sinners who have a conscience choose to sin with knowledge of what they are doing is wrong, and therein lay their guilt. So to say "I didn't realize I was sinning doesn't seem possible in context of the above definition.

However, I think we might be mixing up our terminology here or our definitions. For example, the Bible does make reference to in the OT (Lev 4:13) that man can "sin" (transgressions) in ignorance, doing that which "ought not to be done" (Lev 4:2) "he shall be guilty" ONLY "when he knoweth of it" (Lev 5:3) and is ONLY held responsible and accountable ONLY when it is "known" (Lev 4:14). This is also what 1 John 5:17 is speaking of when he speaks of "sin that does not lead to death". (BTW - An interesting side note is sacrifices in the OT were only for unintentional sins - there was but only one annual sacrifice - Day of Atonement -for intentional sins) Furthermore, God does not judge or condemn morally ignorant or morally crippled individuals (ie. mentally handicapped) but he judges and condemns those who know to do righteously, are capable of doing what is right, but are unwilling to do so.

The key here (as your post alluded to) is once we are made aware of our ignorance is that we are called to act immediately upon this knowledge. As Christian this should be pretty immediate, as this is a sign of our faith and our full submission to God. Looking back I think the issue I had with Jan's comment was I was interpreting "sin" here as someone already "knowing" what is right and not acting upon it. I hope this at least makes a little more sense of what I was trying to say.

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