The world like we know it has certainly changed! The main topic on the news, in social media and in most conversations is about the coronavirus, social distancing, and now the 21 day lockdown. Our lives are being affected at every level!
It appears to have come upon us suddenly! It seems like yesterday we were just getting over Christmas and planning our New Year’s resolutions – or lack thereof – and discussing the Year 2020 meaning perfect vision and wondering what it will have in store for us. Today, it seems like that was part of another era and time period!
Our World has changed but Jesus has not!
While we know the COVID-19 virus has not taken Jesus by surprise, and as so many people have already said, “God is still in control” and “Choose faith not fear”, there is still the question we all have in our hearts, “What must we do?” How can we live as followers of Jesus Christ in a world that has gone mad with fear? How do we respond in faith and not fear?
In Luke 18:1-8 (ESV) Jesus was teaching His disciples on the perseverance of prayer and He told them the parable of the persistent widow who kept bothering a judge for justice until he eventually gave it to her. But then, at the end of the parable, Jesus asks a question which seems to be magnified in today’s time … “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”
It is a time for us to hold onto the promises of God and realise the storms and troubles that surround us, do not change our purpose or destiny!
It is time to respond in faith and not fear!
Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see, is darkness.
I am so encouraged by God’s promise to His people to fulfil His purpose in our lives even though we walk in the midst of trouble!
Psalm 138 :7 & 8 (ESV) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Who we believe God to be and how we believe God works, will determine how we respond – or react – to the season or time we are living in today.
How to Respond in Faith
1. Feed our Faith with the Word of God
Romans 10:17 (NIV) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
There are more than 65 Social Media platforms and Apps available today as we are constantly looking for ways to connect and network with each other. In this age of digitalisation, we have found ways to be socially active on the internet, and it has changed the way we relate to the world around us. We no longer need a personal handshake or face-to-face meeting. We have become more comfortable to share our feelings and life on these social media platforms rather than picking up the phone or making a coffee date with a friend.
It also affects our relationship with God. We open Facebook and receive our daily input from the Word of God from the posts of our friends who are sharing their latest revelation. This is not wrong to do, but it cannot be the only way we receive from the Word of God!
We need to know what God is saying to us personally and what He is saying about the times we are living in. The reports in the media carry the news from the world’s perspective but the Word of God will give us insight and perspective from God’s point of view and surely that is what matters?
We need to open the Bible, read it and study it for ourselves!
We need to feed our faith with the Word of God!
2. Exercise our Faith with Steps of Faith
2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV) …for we walk by faith, not by sight.
James 2:17-24 (NIV) What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
Our faith in God and Who He is, is seen in what we DO. We do works, not to receive salvation or to receive love from God. We do works BECAUSE we love Him and want to please Him. When we are exercising our faith by reaching out to others, we are revealing the very heart and character of God! His heart is for people!
In these times while we are restricted in our times of physical togetherness, let us use what is available to us to reach out to others to show the love and the care of the Father. Do video chats, send texts, reach out and find out how others are doing. Pray for folk over the phone, exercise your prophetic gifting by prophesying encouragement and hope into the hearts of people around you.
Lockdown is not about withdrawing into our own worlds! It is about reaching out and showing your faith in new ways! God does not need perfect people to accomplish His will. He just wants people who are willing to take that first step of faith.
I am so reminded of Joseph in Egypt, when his brothers realised who he was, and what he said to them in Genesis 50:19,20 (ESV) But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
The enemy has attacked our gathering together, but God will bring good out of it as we continue to reach out to others and take our steps of faith!
3. Speak to our Faith to make it Grow
There is power in the spoken word!
Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Our life today is filled with the negative as the coronavirus continues to take centre stage, but we can choose life simply by the words we speak!
The Israelites lost their inheritance because of murmuring and complaining about their situation in the Wilderness. We have a wonderful opportunity to release life into our situation and into the hearts of those who are feeling hopeless by speaking about the good things we can still be thankful for.
1Thessalonians 5:16 -18 (ESV) Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Thankfulness is God’s will for us!
Psalm 100:4 (ESV) Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Speak to our Faith with words of thankfulness and praise and watch our Faith grow!
4. Free our Faith from Fear and Doubt
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
The enemies of our faith are fear and unbelief or doubt! Both fear and faith cannot stay in our hearts at the same time. If we fear something, that means we have had to let go of some truth or belief about God and His character, in order to accommodate the fear!
Fear is simply the result of a wrong focus and misdirected faith. We need to refocus on God and Who He is and what He has said and direct our faith – what we believe – in that direction. As we feed our faith, fear will starve and die.
But if we are feeding our fear with all the “what if’s” and the negative reports, then fear will certainly fill our hearts and faith will die.
Amid the reality of the deaths and amount of people catching the coronavirus, there is God and His promise that He has not given us a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound mind! There is God and the precious Blood of Jesus!
During the US Civil war, Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers at a prayer breakfast.
One of the ministers said: “Mr. President, let us pray that God is on our side.”
Lincoln’s response shows far greater insight: “No gentlemen, let us pray that we are on God’s side!”
Who’s side are we on? Whose report will we believe? The side we are agreeing with, is the side we are on!
Responding in Faith does not make things easy. It makes things possible!
Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.
Finally, let us remember Pauls words in Galatians 2:20 (ESV) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Read Maureen Le Roux's bio here