It used to be that we could gauge a person’s spiritual life by their church attendance (or so we thought). COVID 19 changed that perspective–or, rather, revealed that it was an erroneous one.
3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
Actually, to be freed from the bonds of religion and duty reveals what is really in our hearts. Those who were going to church as a duty found that they didn’t miss it at all; those who were going out of habit found that they have made new habits that do not include church attendance; those who were going out of social or familial expectations have found that they have a great excuse to do what THEY want rather than what everyone expects of them. And then, those who went to church to worship the LORD out of a glad heart and to spend time with other Christians found that they had to find other ways to worship, and to be content with smaller groups of Christians–sometimes, much smaller groups.
What Jesus frees us to do is what is in our hearts. He desires us to come to Him on our own seeking His presence and participation in our lives. If we can do without Him during COVID, then we never really had Him because He is supposed to be inside us, which means that we can worship Him all the time. Also, He said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” We don’t need more than one other person to constitute a church meeting! Sure, it’s more fun the more people we have, but it’s not necessary. It’s all about intention: Are we intentional about our worship? about our study time? about our disciplines? and about connecting to God in prayer? It has really shown up now that we have COVID as our excuse!
What it boils down to is sole dependence–or, soul dependence–on Jesus and His Spirit. Each of us is responsible for our own relationship with Jesus Christ. We can’t depend upon our parents, our spouses, or our church. Why? Because there may come a time when we don’t have anyone else! You may be thinking, “Surely not. I can’t think of any situation where I would be totally alone.” Consider this scenario:
Your blood pressure goes out of sight for some reason and stays high for several weeks, thus rendering you limited in your abilities because of brain damage due to mini-strokes. Over the course of time, you have a big stroke that puts you in the hospital and eventually in a nursing home. While you’re there, you get COVID 19 and are isolated. Your family can’t come see you; you can’t work a phone because of your limited function; the only people to come and see you are the people who work at the nursing home. Your relationship with the Lord is completely down to just you and Him.
The scenario I just described is what has happened to my cousin. He is currently in a semi-conscious state that renders him incapable of taking care of himself. He never married, so he depends upon his sister to make sure he is getting the care he needs. Pray for my cousin that Jesus will supply his every need according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).
What is God doing in Larry’s life? I don’t know. Is He communicating with him on a spiritual level of which we are unaware? Does Larry leave his body and wander around heaven? Is he simply asleep until death comes and he is released from his body? I don’t know, but I pray for him that God would work a mighty work in him, and when He is done, He will take Larry home to be with Him. I can hardly wait to meet Larry in heaven in our glorified bodies!
Let’s make sure that we are proactive concerning our relationship with Jesus Christ. Read that Bible. Make out prayer cards and lift up people to the Lord. Get together with at least one other person for fellowship, worship and prayer. It’s important.
Abba, COVID 19 can be a positive force in our lives if we allow You to guide our choices in these circumstances. May we be intentional about our relationship with You by reading, studying, praying, and worshipping personally and with at least one other person. Thank You for creating THE WAY for us to worship You in spirit and in truth. Amen.