The president, together with his Covid Command Council, has ordered that the Covid-19 restrictions be relaxed to level 2 from Tuesday coming. This ought to open up the economy significantly where most businesses will be able to function as before … though, the strict protocol of social distancing, sanitizing, masks, and no hugging, kissing or shaking hands will remain, as well as the 10pm to 5am curfew.
However, there is the concern that people will not keep to the strict requirements expected. I chatted to friends in the Western Cape today. They said they were amazed that so many people there do not wear masks at all. I find the same to be true here in Gauteng. When I was a young teenager at school, should I be late or disobedient, my dad would ‘gate’ me … meaning that after school I had to go straight home and weekends were lived out at home base. After a suitable ‘gated’ period, dad would sit me down and inform me of the new requirements expected of my behaviour and performance from now onwards. So, to ease the restrictions, I needed to follow a new code of conduct … ‘don’t mix with those friends; these are the expected hours you need to be home; this is when homework is done; etc.’ Everything went well for a time … and then I became lax and started to take chances and liberties … until dad noticed and put his foot down again. It was difficult not to do as he required because he was lots bigger than me … and re-instituting ‘gating’ was very likely!
It’s this that concerns people, including the president and his command council–that as lock down is eased, so more and more people will take more and more liberties, leading to the possibility that the Covid-19 infection rate will increase and the likelihood of a second pandemic will start and another total lock down will be enforced!
Why is it that as a people we tend to thrive on disobedience? Look at the people who disregard the Covid-19 protocol. Mostly, it’s those who ought to know better … the ones who can afford the masks and sanitizer and who are able to understand social distancing. But then it is the same people who hop the “STOP” sign, breeze through the red traffic light, cross the solid white line, travel faster than the speed limit, smoke in a nonsmoking area, throw the soda can, chocolate paper and chip bag out of their vehicle’s window as they drive along a public road. It’s the same person who dumps their garden and building rubble on the open erf and who tries to jump the queue. It’s the person who has no fear for the law and bullies the weaker people. Often, this is the model set for children to follow … and they do!
But this is also the character of the person who rejects Jesus and His morals. Often, they know what the Bible and Gospel require, but they blatantly refuse to bend the knee to Jesus and they spurn His moral code to live as they please. Yes, were are all sinners and at times over the span of our Christian walk we have done things (sin) that has disgusted us. Without excusing this, the person I’m referring to is the one who is churched yet when away from the church behaves in the opposite way.
Rev 3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
Here, we have a Christian church. Some of the members are seen by others to be “good Christians” (“you have a reputation of being alive”) … yet the truth is they are spiritually nowhere (“you are dead”). This happens far too often in the church. Who I am, what vehicle I drive, where I live and who I associate with could easily be misconstrued by some to mean I’m spiritual! After all, God blessing me with all these things means I must be in favour with God! But possessions and image and appearance do not qualify me for God’s favour. Verse 3 hits the nail on the head. You took liberties–you relaxed spiritually and edged towards the world–and now you find yourself indistinguishable from the world! The word “remember” is an indictment … you heard the Gospel and received the Gospel … remember that? Return to obedience … repent … otherwise the little ‘spirituality’ that you have will die completely! Then you will be proving you are not a believer! The Christians at Sardis had all the Gospel and all the teaching and all the graces of a healthy church … and slowly they stepped out of the perimeters of God’s Gospel boundaries (like the liberties I took when gated was slackened … like the liberties people will likely take when lock down is eased). They were like a comatose patient (verse 3 – wake up) … in their spiritual comatose state, the “thief” was about to come and steal their soul for hell!
When spiritual people take sinful liberties and refuse to repent, they might fall into such a spiritual comatose state that repentance is impossible. If you are like this, please follow the Lord Jesus’ instruction above–repent (verse 3)! Raise yourself out of the spiritual coma through urgent, serious, genuine heartfelt prayer.
Dear Lord Jesus, prevent me from wandering into a spiritual wilderness. Help me to live in repentance. Amen.