Some would say that because there is a pandemic afoot we should behave in certain ways in how we deal with our fellow man.
We are called upon to practice something the culture has labelled “social distancing”. I’ve tried for several years to not take any identities nor any of my lifestyle from the world.
Jesus said this to worldly religious leaders trying to trap him in one of their evil snares: “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” (John 8:23)
This spiritual principle matters to us not only because it is truth…but also because it has affected each of us personally – IF we are born again. The Apostle Paul said this about ALL Christians:
“…our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 3:20)
I am no longer of this world so, I don’t want to any longer take any labels from the culture. If you are also a Christian, you aren’t of this world anymore either and, because we are no longer of this world, let’s not take on the identities, labels and practices of the world.
The world tells us to practice “social distancing”; Jesus says, “Love one another”.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
“These things I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:17)
This brings to mind a couple of questions:
Are you interested in obeying these repeated commands from the Lord Jesus?
How the can we do this if we distance ourselves socially from one another?
So, I have resolved to stop using the term “social distancing” and replace it with “physical distancing” and, if the term wasn’t too bulky, I would say “physical distancing TEMPORARILY”, because I’m a hugger and a hand shaker and I do NOT intend to “elbow bump” everyone I meet for the rest of my life.
I know that this might seem, at first glance, to be semantics, but it isn’t word play. This is a real thing…a spiritual thing.
Jesus came to reconcile people…to bring people together. EVERYTHING satan does has to do with dividing people. This current virus (there have been others before and there will be others after now) is ultimately the devil’s work, perverting something good that God made into something harmful and deadly and divisive.
It is his way.
The fear in which many are living now and which is being broadcast sowed by the worldly media comes from the devil. He LOVES when we bow to his evil work and worship him with fear because fear ALWAYS causes us to divide from those the Lord intends to be a part of our lives and isolate ourselves.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10a)
You know, “spiritual warfare” is not really about striding about a stage somewhere, screaming various statements at the devil or demons that include the words “in the name of Jesus” in them. I suppose it could include that, if the Lord so directed.
And, “spiritual warfare” is not really always about ministering deliverance personally in a home or an office or a church building. It definitely could include that, if the Lord said to do it in specific instances.
And, “spiritual warfare” isn’t something that can only be practiced by people with specific training or man-made titles or pieces of paper issued by other people. For Christians, “spiritual warfare” is more of an issue of truth than it is of power encounters with the devil.
There is a form of “spiritual warfare” that we all can practice and SHOULD practice moment by moment.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:5-6)
This spiritual warfare has to do with setting aside our emotions, THINKING, doing the things the Lord would have us to do, and then feeling emotions appropriately. Our emotions, which the systems of the world are so adept at manipulating, were never meant by God to control our souls. When we resist satan’s attempts to dominate us in this way we ARE practicing spiritual warfare.
Any Christian can do this.
Many of those around us fear something satan engineered and really ARE practicing “social distancing”. They aren’t using social media or their phones or even email to be a part of the lives around them. I wonder if they even wave at the mailman.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b)
Yesterday we were at a store. Almost everyone was wearing a mask. (I think most people wear invisible ones all the time, anyway.) People weren’t just being physically distant…which is wise in this season; they were SOCIALLY distant as well.
No one was nodding at one another. If they were smiling at us, we couldn’t tell…thanks to the masks. People seemed a little more prone than usual to cut one another off with their baskets.
It was unfriendly.
I saw a woman holding a product and studying it and it was something we were there to buy. She looked at me with suspicion as I came near. So, I smiled at her and asked, “Have you ever tried these?” She said she hadn’t and I volunteered that we had and that we loved them. She smiled around her mask and said, “Thank you”.
On another aisle, I noticed another lady on her tiptoes straining to get something off a shelf. I asked if I could get it for her and she thanked me. She seemed a little startled that someone would offer to help.
Social distancing. Its not really good for us.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:11-13)
In this season of human history, we have an incredible opportunity to affect others with the love of the Lord in very small, simple ways.
We aren’t of this world anymore (John 8:23); our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Let’s set our minds to LISTEN to the Lord’s nudging and simply love others and, as we do so, let’s erase the “social distance” satan is striving to put between us all.
When we go to the store, let’s ask others if they need us to get something for them – especially those whose immune systems are compromised. Let’s offer to do things for others: carry heavy items, mow lawns, run errands. Let’s PRAY and ask the Lord who needs a phone call or an email or a text message and then immediately DO IT.
I know people who have mowed lawns, built things for others, shopped for neighbors, taken people to stores, gotten needed things like beds and appliances…all during this latest “crisis”. They were loving their neighbors.
Jesus said, “These things I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:17)
It IS possible, you know, to love one another WHILE remaining TEMPORARILY physically distant.
Jesus does it all the time.
One day He will return. He won’t be physically distant anymore.
One day soon, many of the restrictions that are in place due to this virus will be lifted. Satan’s desire is that we be “socially distant”. Will you bow to that desire?
I pray this was encouraging and thought-provoking. I hope you will share it with anyone you think it might benefit.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© April 19, 2020