What a difference a week can make! There is a fight going on against a new disease spreading through our country, but the old tactics of the devil are still very much at work. Here are a few thoughts that are running through my mind:
1. This is an opportunity to grow closer to God. As the economy takes one hit after another, schools close, restaurants and grocery stores are in a different condition than we have ever seen them, more work is being done remotely, and people are more nervous about the everyday – this is an opportunity to draw ourselves closer to God. Let us strive to be in communication with Him in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to let Him be in more communication with us through study of His word (Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 1:22-25). The devil wishes panic, weakening of faith, blame, and division to rule the day. Let us be motivated to truly love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew22:37). We need to allow these times to know that God really does sit on the throne and our confidence and trust needs to grow and never diminish.
2. This is an opportunity to grow closer to God’s people. Though it may be true that in the short-term we are actually together less, use this as an opportunity to make a phone call or write a card to members you know might be lonely. Too many have taken aim at the faith of their brethren and questioned their motives for choosing not to assemble. The devil is up to his tactics of trying to cause division in the body of Christ. Let us not pass judgement on those trying to love God and keep their families safe. Lord willing, this virus is not going to be a long-term issue, but harsh words, unfair criticism, and questioning of one’s faith or trust in God, is not going to soon be healed. Let us strive to remain unified and to live peaceably with each other and those in our world (Romans 12:9-12).
3. This is an opportunity to hold up the hands of God’s leaders. Elders in the Lord’s church find themselves in the proverbial ‘no-win’ situation. They take it from those who say not to meet and from those who say ‘meet at all cost.’ They are not going to please everyone with differing opinions – they are just not! The devil wishes for the flock to rise up and begin to quarrel, divide, and talk about them behind their backs. Please pray for elders who are God-fearing and God-honoring men who find themselves in a difficult position trying their best to shepherd the church of God. Let these men serve with joy and not grief (Hebrews 13:17).
4. This is an opportunity to love our neighbors. The second command is like the first, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matthew 22:37). This is not the time to hoard food and personal supplies for self. This is not the time to be looking out only for me – this is the time when God’s people need to be helping to take care of the needs of others, as best we can. We may not be able to physically meet all needs, but we must be thinking in terms of how we can best help.
We must be thinking of others and find ourselves striving not to be selfish, but selfless. The devil wishes us to be drawn in and think of no one but self – let us sacrifice this kind of thinking!
5. We live in a time where technology makes it available to be connected than ever. Let us use it for good! The elders of the Lord’s church in Jacksonville, Alabama, for example, have graciously made all archives of Polishing the Pulpit available for no cost. Go to https://free365.polishingthepulpit.com for this faith-building material. More information regarding technology will be made available in the near future. Isn’t it great that the elders can communicate with us so readily through text and e-mail? We live in a wonderful time!
The devil would have us to be down and out – but because of Jesus one truth will never change for His people – “WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERS,” (Romans 8:37).