One of the central themes throughout Scripture is to choose faith over fear. Fear is the opposite of faith, and faith is a prerequisite for the believer. As the nova coronavirus continues to spread, it is wise to not only consider what God may be trying to say to the world but also how we can strengthen our faith in our lives.
These times may seem unprecedented to many, but when we open our Bible’s we read story after story about pestilence, fear, dark and stressful times. The Bible reaffirms that times like these are really…nothing new. Some might even say the Bible was written for times like these.
The truth is, there is no better time to start strengthening our faith than during these times of uncertainty and specifically now, with all the ‘self-quarantining’ and ‘social-distancing’. When we feed our faith, we starve our fears. Unfortunately, our human tendency is to feed our fears first and then, if we have time, feed our faith a little bit later.
Having faith and not fear in our lives is a choice. It begins with a sincere desire to want to change the way we think, act and behave …which can ultimately lead to a lasting peace regardless of the circumstances.
When we turn on the TV set or surf the Internet, we are bombarded with negative news and fear-inducing headlines, conversations and images. This negative onslaught can be constant and endless, and can be available anytime we want it. The good news is we don’t have to take it in and then KEEP it in. Just as we don’t have to look for it all day long either. We have the option to limit the amount of news we watch and the amount of surfing on the Internet we do. We have the choice to read Twitter feeds or Scripture verses. We have a choice to allow what we hear to heighten our fear or strengthen our faith— it is all in the choice. One choice can lead to more anxiety while the other choice can give us the tools to combat it.
In second Corinthians, the Apostle Paul exhorts believers to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This simply means that when we hear, see or read something that conjures negative or fearful emotions, we are to immediately take those thoughts captive by holding them up to the Word of God—what God says. If we were to hear a press conference that caused us to worry for example, we are to first have awareness of those thoughts and then take them captive saying in effect, “Lord, I feel stressed right now. Things seem as though they’re getting worse but you tell me in Your Word that You are in control and I choose to believe You.”
While practicing to keep our thoughts captive, we should also ask God what, if anything, He is trying to say to us. It could be that God is telling people not to trust in money, entertainment or their plans for stability and fulfillment. As we can see, all those things can be taken away in an instant. Who would have foreseen for example, another stock market crash or empty sports stadiums, churches and major highways? Maybe the Lord is telling us to stop making idols from earthly and temporal resources (Exodus 20:3-5) and to return to Him completely. Maybe this is His way of stopping the abuse of His creation of natural resources due to greed and corruption? Whatever it is that God could be trying to tell us and the rest of the world, one thing is certain—He is telling us something and He is in control. We won’t be able to decipher His voice above the noise if we don’t strengthen our faith, spend time with Him, and read the Bible—the divinely inspired road map of life.
Here are a few ways we can strengthen our faith in times like these:
1) Read the Bible. Start with the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In these books, you will meet Jesus as He truly was, is today, and forever will be. You will be reminded of His perfect instructions for living the best life possible. Psalms and Proverbs are great for increasing divine Wisdom. The most important thing is that you read it. Everything you want to know for living your best life is in the Bible.
2) Meditate and contemplate. First ask yourself, “What are the Scripture passage(s) telling me? What does it tell me about God? What does it tell me about how to live my life?” God will speak to you during times of meditation. Contemplation is when we use our imagination to put ourselves into the story. We become an active participant.
3) Pray. Praying is a spiritual act of talking with God. With God, not to God. In prayer we can praise Him, apologize to Him, thank Him or ask Him for something we need (or believe we need). During this time of strengthening your faith, try changing up your prayer life. Most people get stuck in prayers of apology or asking for something they need or want and completely ignore praising and thanking Him for our blessings.
As they say, ‘Keep your Bibles and hearts open at all times.’ When the coronavirus will be over, nobody knows for sure. But this time of uncertainty can be used for real good. It is a perfect time to turn our hearts back to God, strengthen our faith, and replace worry and fear with praise and worship.
While challenges may be great, God is always greater.