If there has been one thing that has been repeated in my circles recently, is that this lockdown period is a time of rest, a time to delve deeper with God and a time to spend uninterrupted time with our family or those we’re living with during this period. There is joy despite these unusual, somewhat uncertain circumstances! The following 7 points are to help you grow spiritually as an individual and is also an encouragement to reach out (virtually) to you community.
1. Be intentional about spending time with the Lord
I want to challenge those working from home, who would usually spend time commuting to work, to take that time and spend it with the Lord. Create a routine around it, fight for that time and take it seriously. Yes, we are living in a time where there is a lot to be uncertain about, but one thing remains certain: we serve a good God, a mighty God, a God who wants to be with us. So, let’s be intentional, be with our Savior and allow His voice to fill our thoughts during this time.
Join us on Facebook for encouragement and prayer points for the duration of the lockdown period: #ConnectingNotCommuting (click here).
2. Stay in community – be intentional!
This one is a little harder during times of quarantine and self-isolation. But I would like to encourage you to not buy into the temptation that you do not need community during these times. At the church I attend we have decided, like many, to stream our services on a Sunday. If you belong to a church that is unable to stream their service, I would encourage you to find a sermon series online, or a podcast series, to help you grow during this time. It’s also important to create a group chats or to call your friends.
We need to help each other as much as we can!
Worship during lock down is going to be important. Because worship matters – worship matters to God and worship is important for you. It is easy to let personal distractions get in the way on the best of Sunday worship times, being in lock down is no different, if anything, I would say it’s even harder to try and stay focused. Sometimes we go to church, but we don’t worship. We merely singalong to songs. We listen to sermons, but we don’t worship. We serve in a ministry area, but don’t worship. All of these things are elements of worship, but they are not worship in and of themselves, which means that you can do all of them and yet have failed to truly worship God. Worship is a lifestyle. It’s a form of believers’ practicing our beliefs and celebration of Him. Worship involves more than we realise.
Here are 6 reasons why worship is important:
1. Worship involves surrendering our lives.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
2. Worship is putting our focus on Him.
True worship is based on the desire to honour God. It requires a personal revelation of God, as found in the Scriptures. Worship is not based on my likes or dislikes. It is not based on my personal preferences or priorities. It is a focus on Him.
3. Worship involves “getting out of the way.”
We have to learn to remove our worries, our opinion, our questions and ourselves—so we can worship with appropriate honour. It’s letting go. Sometimes, we get in the way of our own experience of genuine worship.
4. Worship involves a personal sacrifice.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.”Hebrews 13:15
5. We must worship in the face of pain and loss.
King David demonstrated what it means to worship in the face of loss and pain. His baby died. He prayed and prayed, but the baby died. I can’t imagine the pain that would come from the loss of a child. The loss of a loved one is often feels too great to bare.
After the baby died, the Bible tells us—”Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped” – 2 Sam 12:20
6. Worship is celebrating who God is and what He has done.
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the Earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His
people, the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
5 For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues
through all generations.“
– Psalm 100:1-5
REPENTANCE – This word has gone out of style, instead, the word change is certainly popular. Change is a part of repentance, of course. In fact, it is the forgotten part. We have this strange idea that repentance simply means saying to God, with tears in our eyes, “I’m sorry.” And then leaving it there.
Well, that is only step one.
Step two, more important than the tears, is change. Martin Luther put it this way: “To do so no more is the truest repentance.” In other words, if we are still gossiping, cheating, committing some sexual sin, being plain selfish, the response to God is “I’m sorry” followed by “but I don’t want to stop doing it.” We need to be willing to be truly repentant and change our behaviours to reflect this and to ensure we no longer sin.
The good news is, God accepts our repentance – joyfully, in fact.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
5. Slow down
While slowing down during this time, I have noticed 4 things that have started happening. We live in an extremely high paced world where we need to make hundreds of decisions a day.
- I have felt greater clarity. Greater clarity into things that really matter.
- I have been more creative the less I have focused on things that don’t matter in the greater scheme of things. And the more space I have to be creative.
- I am learning to harness the power of emotion. Emotions are often pushed to the side (or for some people, the sole focus) and we fail to see the power or benefits that they have. Emotion can help you to take stock of the situation and help you make decisions. So how can we make good decisions when we push our emotions to the side? There’s a mantra that sums this up well: If you can name it, you can tame it. By slowing down, you can feel the emotions you’re experiencing and describe them. In doing so, you can process them and let them guide you to a healthy response.
- By slowing down you will make better decisions. If success requires making good decisions, and slowing down helps you make better decisions, then consider how you can invest more time into slowing down.
6. Be the light (Matt 5:14-16)
Being the light in the world of Covid-19 means we need to potentially change form the way we were shining before. There is a time now that the children of God are able to pray more than ever, give more than ever, and shine our light brighter than ever. We need to be counter-cultural, we need to put ourselves out there and be bold, and most importantly we must always point back to our light source – Jesus.
7. Share Biblical encouragements virtually/online
With web traffic being up by as much as 22%, it means more people are online for greater lengths of time than before. This means we can reach more people than ever before with the good news of Jesus Christ. So, I want to challenge you to pray about how you are going to reflect the face of Jesus online during this lockdown. Because we have more opportunities than before, and there are more people online than before. Let’s spread this good, life-changing news and bring people into the peace and joy that comes from God during these uncertain times!
I hope these points encourage you as you start up your new routines and enable you to grow spiritually. May you encounter God at deeper, life-changing levels!
If you need any prayer or just someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us! We would love to pray with you, chat with you and hear about whatever has been on your heart.