The highlight of the day must be the worship of God followed by the president announcing the move to level 3 lockdown on 1 June. He stated that our city (Tshwane) is one of the “hotspots” in our country. The “hotspots” might face a few restrictions. However, I am certain many people are delighted that most people may return to work and that most industries will resume with these stimulating the economy. Exercise will be permitted at any time. This ought to be a great blessing for walkers, runners, cyclists, pram pushers and dog walkers because of the declining temperature in the earlier part of the mornings.
I am aware that the USA president has insisted that all places of worship ought to be opened immediately by the 50 governors of the states because he classes them as essential services. He even said he would override those who refuse! My feeling is that irrespective how essential church is … as a pastor, there ought to be a cautious re-opening of places of worship if singing, hugging, shaking hands and refreshment are to be. Although [email protected] is not the same as gatherings, it certainly fulfills a need even though its intention is temporary.
So, after almost 59 days of lock down, how are you keeping “sane”? I heard a pastor say that before exercise was permitted, to keep sane he ran around his yard/house 50 times a day, which equaled 5 kms. I have found writing these notes, walking, working the garden, helping Jen in the house and doing odd tasks in the shed keeps me sane. Well, at least that is what we say! Actually these things are great because they keep one busy. Jenny adds house work, washing, ironing and knitting … but how does one really remain sane? By sane, I mean normal, focused and practical. You may remain busy, exercise, study, have someone to chat to … but surely there must be something more!
There is something more … and it’s all about working God’s Word in your heart and life. David says two things:
The first is:
Ps 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Many people read the Bible with a deadness of heart or in an academic manner. When Jesus spoke of Himself as Light and Life, He was speaking into spiritual matters. Spiritual light produces spiritual life. The only way to get real substance out of God’s Word is when He opens your spiritual eyes. Spiritual sight is fundamental to behold spiritual truth. To dig deeper and harvest God’s will and mind, you need spiritual vision because then you will see “wonderful things in God’s Law (His Word). These wonderful things will revolve around seeing the character and personality of our Triune God. Once such things are experienced in the Word, your understanding of God will deeply shape your character and personally because as Truth hits your heart, you will desire to image your Lord and Master.
The second is:
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Unless spiritual Truth becomes embedded into your soul, your traveling through life’s challenges will be burdensome and even disastrous. Yet, once those wonderful things in the Bible settle into your soul, God’s Word will lighten up your choices and desires so that you will follow the way of holiness, righteousness and truth. It’s when we hesitate or go thin on the Word that its impact upon the soul and heart will be superficial and even meaningless, resulting in being spiritually directionless.
The challenge at present, as pointed out above, is the COVID-19 virus. The need to remain stable or sane in these times requires being busy on different levels such as exercise, work, hobbies, etc. But for the follower of Jesus, there is far more than that for stability and sanity. The ‘far more’ is the Word of God coupled to a desire to want to dig deeper into the things of God so that life’s pathway, which includes mental stability, is shaped by the Spirit of God as He impresses God’s Truth upon the heart!
Someone sent me a message today saying that she has spent more time in the things of God during this lock down period than ever before. With all the confusion and fake news and discussions about whether the president and his command team are missing the point regarding the need of the citizens and country, it’s easy to be side tracked. Let us decide to have God open our spiritual eyes and appetite so that His Word might guide our mind, thoughts, actions and desires.
Lord God, thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit. They are my companions in life. Help me to willingly submit to the Spirit’s lead so that I might glean much truth and guidance as I feast on Your Word daily. Amen.