Covid-19 has certainly taken its toll on so much of our daily lives. Yet, most of us, when thinking about the damage it has wreaked, think almost exclusively in terms of physical, mental, social or economic fallout.
In the early days of the virus, one of the first things that immediately felt like a tremendous loss was the fact that we couldn’t exercise freely as we had done for years. Gyms were closed, there was a 100-meter travel limitation, and so we were forced to find new, alternative methods of keeping our muscles toned. Endless jokes circulated about how fat we’d all become once this subsided, but few spoke about what would become of our spiritual lives without being able to meet as a body of believers, receive needed teaching and instruction, pray together and continue some semblance of a faith walk so that our spiritual minds and bodies wouldn’t fall into disarray.
Yet, it has been so easy to slide into a type of lethargy and neglect what must be our first and foremost daily effort of keeping ourselves spiritually fit. In Israel, most kehilot (congregations) have ceased to gather. Some have continued efforts via Zoom while others have scaled down to a short, abbreviated version of worship and teaching, but what almost all of them have in common is that they have ceased, at least in terms of continuing to be an effective tool, in keeping us on a steady move forward of spiritual growth and all that entails.
Yet, forward movement must be our constant goal, because, without it, we will surely gain unwanted weight – the weight of looking and sounding like a world who knows little of God and His goodness. During this very trying time, on so many levels, the one thing that many of us have been successful at accomplishing has been to try to fill our day with whatever gives us pleasure. It’s understandable. Life has been long and painful during these dark months. Television, eating, walks outside, greater Internet use have all served a purpose in keeping us entertained, distracted and comforted. They have been our “go to” pleasures for lack of other more satisfying endeavors, now unavailable to us, but where have they left our spiritual lives?
It’s a question worth exploring, because it also reveals who and what is responsible for our faith and, most importantly, how serious our spiritual growth is to us? Have we outsourced all these things to our Kehila or Kehila leader? If we have, it may be fair to say that, in the absence of our weekly meeting, we have fallen out of touch with our Lord and Master, because He’s been shelved at a time when our personal survival has never been more precarious.
It’s probably fair to say that if you hadn’t been reading scripture each day before Covid, you’re not reading it now. If you hadn’t developed a daily individual, couple or family prayer life, you’re not having one now. If you weren’t practicing kindness, patience, self-control, seeking eternal directions and goals, then haven’t been doing that now. It could be that Covid has obliterated the spiritual life of many. But it’s not too late to seek an antidote!
The life of a true believer must somehow look and feel different from the life of all others. We were meant to be living stones which inspire one another to grow and project the type of godly image which is so attractive and so magnetic that it literally draws us to want more. We’ve often heard that words either wound or give life. Do ours excite, embolden, arouse, motivate and spark the very likeness of our Father to others within our sphere? Or do they crush, discourage, dishearten and dissuade the kind of growth that we are meant to experience each day? Do our acts attest to a different sort of life – one which finds opportunities to joyfully serve and be like a breath of fresh air to others? Are we doing anything that sets us apart in a world so filled with self-seeking, self-aggrandizing and perpetration of hurt and shame upon others?
If our faith has not built us up to a level of self-confidence, assuredness and feeling filled in who we are, through the finished work of salvation, then we, sadly, are unable to provide that to a lost population who so badly needs it and is seeking it through whatever means they can. But how can we be that soothing balm to others if we, ourselves, don’t have it to give? How can our words and actions be a source of healing and life-giving if we haven’t been charged and infused by the One who can supply us with a healthy, life-long battery? We can’t, and so blaming it on Covid or the loss of our weekly Kehila fix cannot work, because this could go on much longer than any of us thought. And, after this, there could be the next unexpected and unanticipated global calamity which isolates us and causes another spiritual downward spiral. In fact, it’s more likely than not.
So what is the antidote to this serious dilemma? It is several things.
- First and foremost, it is identifying our spiritual condition – being honest, taking stock of where we’re at and really taking a cell count to see just how spiritually healthy we are.
- It is a major, deliberate and coordinated effort to charge our spiritual battery each day through reading God’s word in order to stay instructed, hear His voice and know what He expects and what He rejects.
- It is staying in touch with other believers and finding that one with whom you can pray, seek godly advice and inspiration during these trying times.
- It is developing a mindset of how to be a blessing to others both in word and action and set goals of realizing those benchmarks as often as possible.
- It is making a choice to be pleasing to God each time we speak, each time we make choices and each time we react, because we either grieve Him or please Him – something which should be of great concern and consideration to a serious believer.
Covid does not have to obliterate our spiritual lives. Yes, many of us are alone and isolated from one another at this time, but it does not have to impact or devastate our faith in ways that have made us unrecognizable as strong, mature carriers of the faith.
This can be a time when we emerge with greater force, control, character, magnetism and impact toward one another as we strive with all that is in us to reflect the immense love and nature of our Heavenly Father and the eternal attributes which point to a life that is different and a cut above all others. It is the antibody to a sick and lost world which is infected with the fallen state that we have inherited but from which we can victoriously emerge.
There is a cure for those who want it. It’s available here and now. But it demands both a change and a consistency if we are to move forward. Stagnancy is not an option, because it eventually pulls you backwards. Choose to defeat Covid Spiritual obliteration today! It’s a beatable condition!