Good Afternoon PBC Family,
I wanted to share some thoughts from one of my professors at Faith Seminary, Dr. Carson, regarding the CV-19. Through this entire pandemic, our greatest responsibility is to eagerly follow Christ and demonstrate that in the way that we live our lives. Here is a portion of his blog:
Today is Day 46 of the National Shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic. What do we do and how do we continue to respond?
This is an interesting question because many across the United States struggle to determine how to move forward. As governors, mayors, commissioners, county judges, and alderman determine what is best for their particular area and if they are going to open up individual areas consistent with the President’s encouragement, most people are ready for change. For those who have been under a stay-at-home order, after 45 days, the walls must be closing in per se. Cabin fever spreads as a different kind of fever also associated with COVID-19.
Submission to our government and a gracious spirit toward others remains a premium for every Christian as each one strives to follow Christ and live responsibility for Christ. However, even many very conscientious Christians struggle as this continues.
So what are those choices? Let me suggest one overarching choice and three subordinate choices that flow out of it.
1. AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, WE MUST CHOOSE TO EAGERLY FOLLOW CHRIST.
In the midst of these trials and circumstances, we have no other choice than to be more committed than ever to honor the Lord as those who strive to be like Christ (2 Cor 5:9, 20; 1 Cor 10:31; Rom 8:29). To the extent that we commit to following Christ first and most is to the same extent, we are going to respond in Christ-honoring and Christ-exalting ways as we move out of this stage of this pandemic. This is our chief end. We must seek to follow Christ consistently and loyally.
2. AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, WE MUST CHOOSE TO LOVE OTHERS.
Jesus instructed us that loving our neighbors is only second to loving God (Matt 22:37-40). Further, the Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Love will go along way to help us as we seek to serve each other in the coming days. Love produces the necessary motivation to make the necessary sacrifices for each other (2 Cor 5:14-15). The only way we will overcome simply following our own desires in the days ahead is to choose love of others over love of self.
3. AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, WE MUCH CHOOSE TO PRACTICE SELF-COUNSEL.
Herein lies the challenge. Many of us claim to follow Christ and love others; however, we fail to do self-inventory to actually test and prove that what we want, what we think, what we feel, and what we do actually are consistent with a loving, Christlike person. We cannot wave our hands at those commitments without looking at and in our own hearts (James 1:13-18). What controls you? For whom are you living? What is most important to you? These questions deserve and take serious consideration.
4. AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, WE MUST CHOOSE TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT.
All the spiritual disciplines start and end in this step. We are exhorted over and over to be humble, gentle, patient, kind, longsuffering, to forbear, persevere, and endeavor to protect the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-3, et.al.). These words cannot be glossed over as if they do not exist or as if we do not care about them. Instead, we must double-down our efforts at living consistent with each of them.
IT TAKES ALL OUR EFFORT TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GREATER GOOD
As the long list above implies, in our great families, neighborhoods, communities, cities, counties, states, and country, we all possess individual takes on this COVID-19 pandemic and the steps moving forward out of it. Each of us understands our own individual opinions the best – and I am not sure how well we even do that. The natural landing spot for our individual hearts is at self-interest, self-love, and self-pleasure. As we each commit to loving God, loving our neighbors, and living a Christ-centered, Christ-exalting life, we fight an uphill battle against self.
Let me be honest so that no one misunderstands this. What is the best way for us to come out of this? MY WAY. The way I see it. My goals. My passions. We could add lots of other word sentences that begin with MY. This is both the problem and the way to understand the way out.
On Day 46 and beyond, it takes all our effort to work together for the love of Christ and each other for the greater good that benefits each of us. Some solutions I will be less comfortable with. For you, it will be others. But for each of us, our response going forward to COVID-19 must be governed by a commitment to follow Christ, love our neighbors, practice self-counsel, and walk in the Spirit.