Regardless of your response to the COVID-19, there are some key truths it should remind us of, and lead us back to.
The Word calls us to:
- Not be anxious – businesses may be at risk, the supermarket shelves might be low, you might be isolated from friends or family, but we have peace in Christ;
- Pray about everything – as believers, we should constantly be praying not only into our own situation, but that of the world, our fellow believers, and those people God places in our lives;
- Focus on the things of God – live as an example, live as the salt and light of the earth;
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4;6-8)
- Help the poor – this is a large one for my family in South Africa where businesses closing will have a huge impact on the ability of many to buy basic stables (I’m not talking tinned meat and veg here, but maize meal!). Poor believers are to be cared for by those of us who have more.
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
- Don’t look at the troubles ahead, but focus on the task set by God each day – what has God asked of you in this season? Do not get caught up in what might be, but put your mind to what He has already asked of you;
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.
“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34).
- Remember that you are a priest. Church leaders help to raise up disciples of Christ, but we are ALL of the royal priesthood. You can lead a prayer meeting in your home, a small group, praise evening, or a Bible study. You can call believers together to fellowship over a meal, or take communion.
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5).
We can trust God to work ALL situations for the good. It might be hard to see the good sometimes, but we can trust to the surety of His Word.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).
We also must remember that God’s focus is eternal. There has been a big “word of faith” movement as well as the “prosperity Gospel” in recent years, teaching believers that we should have easy lives with the blessing of perfect health and financial riches if we have enough faith. The New Testament does not support this.
There is wisdom to be found in Scripture for financial stewardship and many of the Levitical laws focus on healthcare for a people who did not have access to the medical knowledge we have today. However, the New Testament calls us to give without looking to receive, to endure persecution for the faith, and to be content with little and much. It teaches us that we can either serve God or mammon. We must learn to focus on the spiritual, and look to our eternal home.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16).
What I’ve highlighted in this post is part of the backbone of our Christian faith, not just in times like this where our normal lives are interrupted. That said, these times help us to remember our day to day call as believers.
So what is your response at the moment?
Dwell in the presence of the Lord. Do not neglect to fellowship with God or other believers.
Pray that God will shake the nations to bring more people into His people, and that He will continue to refine those of us in His church.
Feeling isolated, or bored, now you cannot go about your ordinary life, work, or social activities? I can’t recommend enough that you use this time to get into the Word of God – sign up for an online Bible course, such as the School of Biblical Studies. The Bible Project is also a great resource.
And don’t forget to meet the practical and spiritual needs of those around you, however you can: pray with friends, encourage fellow believers over WhatsApp, make meals for the poor or those who become unemployed.