I went out today, not because of what some are labelling “cabin fever”, but because I needed to have my glass’ frame adjusted. I needed to make an appointment. On the way out I decided to pop into Spar, which is right next door to the optician. I tried to walk in but the security stopped me and a lady who reads the temperature of all customers said, “You need a trolley for social distancing”. My initial intention was to buy green garbage bags. I was tempted to think, “Why have a trolley for a packet of garbage bags?” but did not. I collected a trolley. The handle was sanitized and so was my hands. On my way back, I saw another man was turned away … being told to collect a trolley for social distancing. He was decidedly NOT happy!
In the store, I observed that people travelled up and down the aisle at the same time. People also stood next to their trolleys. The trolley system is a great idea for social distancing but I would have thought making the aisles one way would assist with social distancing.
(Please remember when going out to use masks. If you are off to work or have a business, please have your permit with you. Today, SAPS and SANDF moved through the Moot Area stopping people and questioning them. Please be safe and protected).
The idea of social distancing makes me think of another “distancing”–spiritual distancing! The idea of social distancing is to protect you from contracting the COVID-19 virus. Although most people get it mildly and recover, because the disease is deadly, every protocol needs to be observed to protect yourself. Social distancing, masks and sanitization (with a solution containing 70% alcohol) are required. Someone even told me that when anyone in the person’s family goes to the shops, they wash all clothing immediately after they return home. Should spiritual distancing be any different?
What is spiritual distancing? We have a serious spiritual disease that, unlike COVID-19, is not contracted. We are born with this disease. It is known as Original Sin. When our parents engage in intimacy, immediately when the sperm and egg meet, pregnancy follows … that pregnancy is not a fetus or a mistake or a thing. Listen to King David as he pens Psalm 51 under the Spirit’s guidance:
Ps 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
See that? From the moment of conception David (and you and me) was not a fetus but a sinner. A sinner is a human being. The human being is born a sinner and is spiritually dead … unless and until the person repents, believes and puts his or her trust in Jesus Christ for eternity. Then he or she becomes spiritually alive, but the sin factor remains … throughout life and unto death!
Sin is rebellion against God. It is being at enmity with God. It is doing whatever one pleases even if that is against God and His Will. Sin dictates the heart and is directed by the prince of this world into distancing oneself from God. Let us call this God distancing.
Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
So what is spiritual distancing? Look at this:
Mt 8:28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
The two men were demon-possessed until Jesus drove the demons out. See what happened to the herd? That is what we need to do with sin! Distance ourselves as best as we can so that the effects of the life killing disease–sin–may be as minimal as possible. The truth is that the more Bible and prayer–the more holiness–the less sin. Distancing oneself from sin and loading oneself with God’s Word and prayer is intentional spiritual distancing.
Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to learn the art of spiritual distancing so that I may protect myself from the horrendous effects of sin. Amen.