By now the entire country—the entire world—knows about COVID-19. Health professionals and governmental authorities have recommended that the entire population practice social distancing and prepare to “flatten the curve.” Widowers and widows are now isolated. Young parents now have to learn to be teachers and coaches, in addition to parents. Little boys and girls now have to adapt to life away from friends. Life, as we know it at least, has changed.
How do Christians respond to the new norm dictated by COVID-19? How do we view the mandated time at home, even time alone, as a blessing and not a curse? What can followers of Jesus do to glorify God in this odd season?
Here are 5 simple suggestions:
- Get comfortable with the Bible.
It seems that every Christian wants to know the Bible better, but the busyness of daily life often makes it difficult to study, memorize, and discuss Scripture. Now is a great time to get comfortable with the Bible. Maybe it’s time to pick a book of the Bible (Romans is my favorite!), and dive in deeply. Read the book from start to finish, and then study a chapter a day until it’s time to choose another book. Maybe it’s time to read the entire Bible from start to finish. It takes about 75 hours, so at one hour per day you could read the whole Bible in less than three months! What about Scripture memory? My memorization skills are not what they were when I was in elementary school, but with time and diligence I can still commit verses and entire passages of the Bible to memory. Now is the time.
- Get serious about prayer.
Who among us feels as if we have reached the pinnacle of prayerfulness? We all (and that definitely includes this pastor) have much to learn about prayer. When will we ever have more time to get serious about prayer? Now is a great time to pick a passage of Scripture to use as a prompt for prayer. It is a great time to put together a prayer journal or a daily prayer guide. Now we have been given an excellent opportunity to build in times of prayer throughout the day. Maybe you could start and end your day with longer times of prayer, and then during the day you could pause every hour for a quick time of prayer to keep you dialed in to the Lord as your strength.
- Get focused on Biblical leadership.
Moses told the Israelites to talk about the Lord as a family, and Joshua had the Israelites to build memorials to teach future generations about the Lord’s work to redeem His people. Families were created to worship. Now is a wonderful time to build in a time of intentional leadership in which we read the Bible, sing gospel-centered songs, and pray as a family. Husbands and fathers, especially, have been called to lead, but leadership takes initiative. Maybe you can sit down with your family once a day to read the Bible and ask questions about what was read. Then, you could sing together. Acapella works, but Spotify, YouTube, and other resources provide great helps. End your time with prayer and use it as a time to pray your family’s problems. You may never have more time at home to orient your family toward things that matter, so make Biblical leadership a priority.
- Get missional in service.
Christians have been redeemed by Jesus and placed strategically by Him wherever they live, work, shop, eat, and play to live intentional lives of service for the good of others. Right now, we have neighbors that are bound to their homes. We have opportunities to reach out through calls, texts, or notes to offer encouragement, prayers, or even tangible goods like groceries. Maybe you are waiting for a church program to be put into place to get busy living on mission and serving others, but maybe you are the program you have been waiting for. How can you live intentionally in the coming days to serve those around you?
- Get benevolent in love.
The church of the Lord Jesus is not made of one demographic, so there are men, women, old, young, and people of all ethnicity. During a unique time of isolation, there are those in every church who are quarantined and have no one home to encourage them, talk, or to provide help. Now is the time for the church to see themselves as members of the one body of Christ, and then to begin to look for areas that they can provide love and help. Maybe your family knows of a senior adult you can call to offer help or just a good conversation. Maybe your kids can color pictures to send to the home bound. Maybe you just start praying through the church membership list. There are so many ways to be benevolent in love, but love will not flow freely without planning and effort.
COVID-19 is no fun, and no one will enjoy the days of isolation if they continue for weeks. But this is a time for Christians to actively work to glorify God. This is not a season for passively waiting for the day we can all leave our homes and get back to “normal life.” Now is a time for active intentionality. Get comfortable with the Bible. Get serious about prayer. Get focused on Biblical leadership. Get missional in service. Get benevolent in love.