I am a person in process. I am in the middle. I am not where I was because I am further down the road, but I certainly haven’t arrived because there’s far more ground to cover. So where am I? I am here at the intersection where one truth is clear: I want change, real and lasting change; yet in order for that to happen it must start with me. I don’t have words for others…I only have words for me; my heart; my prejudice; my ignorance. I’m grateful that Jesus came to save me from myself. My “heart is deceitful above all things” and without the power of God to transform my heart there will be no lasting change. I’m too selfish, self-seeking, and blind to love others the way He wants me to. Only He can take my pride and transform it into humility. His desire is for me to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 He asks me to be a “defender of the weak”, to “do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.” Isaiah 61:1-3 has been my life verse (s) since I was 15… “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” If I do not hear the black voice that questions if they “matter” and shout, “YES! Yes, YOU matter!! You matter to me and I will stand by you.” Then who am I? I can’t say that I love Jesus and choose to not love the ones He made in His own image! “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10 Change must come and it starts with me.
<<< This is not an instruction or final ruling!!!! These are just my thoughts after prayerful consideration and my searching of God’s word. Let this be the beginning of a conversation! 😊>>>
Hello wandering soul who has happened to find this post! 🙂
There have been some different views on how Christians should approach Shelter-In-Place mandates in various states who have locked down pretty hard. Our Life Group of Young Married Couples has also been discussing this topic a bit and through scripture reading and prayer I have put my thoughts down for them to read and am posting here as well.
Passages to read first – Leviticus 21:16-23 and Romans 8:18-23 (I have pasted the ESV versions of these texts at the bottom of this post if you want to just scroll down and read first).
One of the things I used to struggle with the most in my early Christian walk was-> why does God allow sickness, pestilence, birth defects/deformities, COVID-19, etc?
Short answer – Sin has caused all of the nastiness that our world endures.
- The results of that sin also affects the innocent.
- God still weaves His goodness, plan, and purposes through these effects of sin.
- Christians suffer from these same effects of sin on our world.
- The cyclical nature of life, death, and change will continue until the Lord Jesus returns.
So what conclusions have I drawn from these passages?
Our world is cursed by sin and our soul and spirit have been redeemed by the gift of the cross in Jesus Christ; however, our bodies are yet to be glorified with Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 says that we will die with perishable bodies but be raised with imperishable bodies. Even the family lineage of Aaron would be the only line from which Priests of the tabernacle would come, yet that same blessed family within the chosen children of Israel would suffer from the same deformities, sickness, sores and the like as everyone else…and those stricken would be unable to serve as Priests to give sacrifices…they were not immune to the effects of sin on a fallen world.
In Truth, Grace, and Love (I believe all positions like this need to be framed by these three lenses):
TRUTH (speaking openly about how I feel): If I think that I am immune to the effects of the COVID-19 virus then I am not paying attention to the message of the bible. I do believe in the almighty power of God to heal anyone or protect someone from COVID=19; what I am saying is that I am NOT going to expect that I AM protected (from either getting it myself or spreading it to others). The spiritual realm supersedes physical boundaries and I do believe that there is still value in meeting over wonderful inventions like Zoom and care for one another over electronic means. I am also called to love on those around me, both saved and unsaved; so our family does venture out to bring things to people in need, bring blessings to those we love, and serve those less fortunate. I also believe that we can come closer together respecting the instructions from our local government by taking the proper precautions. I also believe a day will come when the government will overtly act to limit my worship of the Creator God, will persecute my evangelism, and will work to subvert my ability to shepherd; but that is not what is happening here. We are being asked to take precautions to prevent the widespread propagation of a virus that has a 10 to 14 day incubation time (one that is very hard to get in front of). I believe we are doing right by God and His word to obey these instructions yet doing our best to adhere to God’s call to support one another in love, accountability, and service. Many of the letters we have from Paul were written because he had the inability to be present with the church he was writing to because he was in a place that prevented his movement; yet he still communicated effectively.
GRACE: I think that people’s opinions on this topic are like the one covered in Romans 14:13-19. Christians will have different views on the same topic and neither are inherently good or bad – but they may be deeply felt. I appreciate these differences (that do not stand against the teaching of Jesus) and hope that we can give grace to one another in our different views. What I want to encourage is for us to talk openly about how we feel, just as I am doing here. Please hear me in that this is not a heretical or show stopping issue and I hope that we can continue an open dialog in our pursuit to be Christlike and build on our theology while staying together in community and growth in our spiritual lives.
LOVE: I love each of you so much and I need you in my life. I feel a deep sense of protection for each one of your families; especially those of you who have compromised loved ones that you must interact with on a regular basis. Our brotherly/sisterly love rises above this virus and our situations – expressing love for one another in service, accountability, peace, and encouragement is part of what God has always had in His ultimate plan of redemption and rescue of His chosen. I am so thankful to my Lord and Savior in bringing us together through Canyon Hills and I expectantly look to a future where these ‘Shelter In Place’ orders are lifted. Until then, I hope to opportunistically and responsibly meet together to share in closeness and community. I believe that meeting together over Zoom is still fulfilling Matthew 18:20. Love is an aspect of the heart and mind that, again, breach physical boundaries. When I hear your heart and see your face, I am together with you. I am so thankful for each and every one of you!
Scriptures noted above:
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the Lord who sanctifies them.”
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:50-53
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
I find myself being cynical about God’s willingness or desire to intercede in the craziness that is my life sometimes. I don’t doubt Gods power, but I am guilty of being self sufficient enough to think that I know better than God. It takes a daily focus to lean on Him and His sovereignty in everything my life has thrown at it. God grant me the strength to stay firm in You.
…God never gives a thorn (a death of a loved one, a terminal illness, etc) without this added grace, He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
From a poem by Martha Snell Nicholson (a “mendicant” is a beggar)
As a Christian my ultimate enemy is Sin. I must become a sin killing machine. If I am not killing sin then sin is killing me. Before I was saved I had a gun (my will) but it had no bullets so any sin I pointed my gun at and shot was not affected. I could bludgeon my sin with the gun but the sin would ultimately prevail; bullets are the only thing that can mortally kill the sin. When I became saved, the Lord put His power into my gun (bullets) -> now I can kill sin! But, I still must pull the trigger. Now that I have my gun with sin killing bullets, I need sights that help me zero in on the sin – I better my sights by reading the word of God, the truth that calls out the sin in my life.
Today the Lord gave me a good one – We are not commanded to “don’t do what Jesus would not do” but “do what Jesus did”. I have gotten so hung up on thinking living righteously is just keeping a clean nose…nope, it’s proactively doing what Jesus did or would do. So if you are going through every day just avoiding sin then you are not truly FOLLOWING Jesus.
Right now I am going through Colossians with an amazing gentleman our LifeGroup. He has been looking for ways to get something in, time wise, each day that he can mull over and pray for the Lord to give him life application in. So we are doing a verse a day starting in Colossians 1; yesterday was verse 9 of Colossians 1 and today is verse 10. This is Paul telling the Colossian church how he and Timothy have been praying for them. However, I found it amazing to just turn the wording inward and actually use it as a prayer to the Lord about what I could have in my own spiritual life. Here goes – “[Lord allow me to] be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of [Your] will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into [Your] ways and purposes] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things; that [I] may walk (live and conduct [myself]) in a manner worthy of [You], fully pleasing to [You] and desiring to please [You] in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of [You][with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. Colossians 1:9b-10 (Amplified)…sooooo good!!
As long as it’s not sin, the differences between you and your spouse are necessary for the fulfillment of God’s will in your marriage.