As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, there is a growing sense of impatience to “open up” the country. People have quickly grown tired of “hunkering down” and sheltering in their own homes. Researchers describe record sales of gardening supplies as people look for ways to at least be outside and go about some normal and optimistic activities.
With some government officials pushing back against the public urge to return to work and get back to normal, protests are springing up in state capitals all around the nation. One of the pressing questions posed to national, state, and local officials has been: What is your exit strategy?
Even economies as robust as the United States’ cannot be stopped on a dime. And, once they have been mothballed for a season, they cannot be started back up instantaneously. Like great oceangoing ships that must be turned very slowly, national economies have both momentum when running and inertia when idled.
I’m reminded of what an old friend who used to be a railroad engineer told me. He said that when a mighty locomotive was unneeded for the better part of a full day, the railroad company would simply let it idle in the yard. That was because it was much more difficult to get it started again if they shut it down. It took a flatcar full of batteries and much effort, with no guarantee that the engine would start again when needed.
The pressing question is, “How we will extricate ourselves from the mess we’re in?”
As humans, we get used to a routine very quickly. Even when dramatic change occurs, we accommodate ourselves to the new normal much more quickly than you might think. That is why self-improvement coaches advocate sticking with new habits for 21 days; after that relatively short period of time the new habit begins to be ingrained.
Satan understands this aspect of human nature. That is why he is eager to fill our lives with worthless distractions that become our normal routine. Those normal routines can become a rut, leading to a degree of complacency that keeps a person from considering eternal truths. Even habits and pastimes that have some merit in themselves can become idolatrous fixations that keep us from heavenly things.
Two technological examples of this are Facebook and Instagram. These can be great tools for connecting people, but their creators purposefully designed them to be addictive. Many of us have found ourselves scrolling through inane posts and pictures, only to wonder why we’ve wasted so much time.
When disruptions do come — whether because the world is fallen or as a corrective judgment of God — Satan tries to steer people away from the truth. He’ll whisper, “No God who loves the world would allow this to occur,” or “If God exists and is all-powerful, He wouldn’t allow this to happen.” Satan has been perpetrating deceptions like that on the world since he asked, “Did God really say…” in the Garden of Eden. That is why Jesus said that Satan “is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Satan also relishes upsetting people’s routine when they begin to accept the truth of Jesus Christ. As if to undermine their budding faith, Satan loves to heap troubles on the heads of those whose faith is weak. His hope is that they’ll follow the advice of Job’s wife and curse God (Job 2:9).
Finally, throughout our lives as believers Satan loves to hurl fiery darts at us. Once again, he tries to distract us, hoping that we’ll take our eyes off Jesus. Suffice it to say that we need to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and [run] with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
An Eternally Important Question
If you are wondering why you seem to be tossed about by life’s storms, I’d encourage you to step back and consider this eternally important question: Are you free from Satan’s spiritual lockdown?
You see, most people go about their lives convinced that they are the master of their own destiny. Taking a cue from William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, they declare: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Perhaps, like Henley, they give lip service to “whatever gods may be” even as they celebrate their own “unconquerable soul.”
Invictus means “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin. The poem’s hubris reflects the Bible’s description of mankind (Psalm 2:1-3). I realize that some will protest that the poem speaks of the dignity of man. They’ll say it captures a determination to rise above circumstances (such as Henley’s bout with tuberculosis and the amputation of his lower leg). But the attitude to go it alone without any need for or recognition of God is one of man’s greatest sins. That is why New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s assertion that God should get no credit for saving lives in the coronavirus pandemic is so offensive.
The Bible records the experience of another pride-filled man who came into conflict with God Almighty. Told that the LORD God wanted him to let His people go, Pharaoh responded, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD” (Exodus 5:1-2). His heart did not yield until God had poured out a series of corrective judgments. Yul Brynner captured the realization that came too late to Pharaoh in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic movie “The Ten Commandments” when he said, “His God, is God.”
His God, is God
Even today, most people respond to the corrective hand of God by figuratively shaking their fist at heaven and cursing His Name. They certainly do not repent (turn from their wicked ways) and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Revelation describes the outpouring of God’s wrath that will occur during the Tribulation. The proper response to those waves of successive judgment will be to beg forgiveness and glorify God. Some will do just that; their names will be recorded in God’s book of life. Yet we know that most people will not repent (Revelation 9:20-21).
Unwitting Slaves to Sin
Slavery is something that the modern mind recoils at. We imagine ourselves delivered from this stain on human history. But the writer of Proverbs observed, “The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast” (Proverbs 5:22).
Jesus said that all who commit sin are slaves to sin (John 8:34). The infection of sin is more contagious and deadly than any mere virus. That is because we are all born with it, enslaved to its claim on our hearts, and condemned to eternal damnation because of its infection in our lives (Romans 3:23). We cannot even recognize the severity of our condition because our own hearts deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9). And, we certainly cannot free ourselves from this terminal disease (Romans 7:14-24).
But, there is a cure! Proclaiming both the Source and the means of salvation, Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God through Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).
Silver Lining to this Cloud
If the recent coronavirus pandemic upset your normal routine and made you question the direction you are heading, thanks be to God! If other circumstances of life are weighing you down and leading you to despair that your life has any meaning, realize that God wants to get your attention. He will move heaven and earth to break through your routine and call you to Himself.Tim Moore: #God wants to get your attention. He will move heaven and earth to break through your routine and call you to Himself. Click To Tweet
Almighty God loved you so much that He interrupted the normal flow of human history. He sent His own Son into the world to show the way to enter into a relationship with God. Jesus said, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Don’t wait until the world reels under a horrific series of judgments in the Tribulation (Revelation 5-6, 8-9, 16). Put your faith in Jesus — the One who will rescue us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Several secular sages are credited with saying, “nobody gets out of this world alive.” Others lament that only two things are guaranteed in this life: death and taxes.
Neither saying is entirely true. The Bible says that Christians who are alive when Jesus comes for His Church will be translated into their glorified bodies in the twinkling of an eye and will meet Him in the air. So, they actually will avoid death and get out of this world alive!
For everyone else, death represents the final frontier — the ultimate disruption of our mortal routine. Hoping for the best or assuming that your good deeds will outweigh your sin will lead to destruction. So, what is your exit strategy?
Jesus recognized that in this world we will have trouble. But He has overcome the world (John 16:33). He also overcame death and has promised life everlasting to those who put their faith in Him. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Don’t wait another day. If you’re still trapped in Satan’s lockdown of sin, turn to Jesus Christ and know real freedom. Experience the glorious truth of His promise: “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:31-36).
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this reminds me of Noah when he was in the ark and it rained forty days and forty nights,i know he was ready to come out and his family yet God kept him in that ark for almost a year until the waters subsided and it was safe to come out.I know Noah had to turn to the Lord everyday to help him endure this.just a thought on this.
When I was a baby christian, God gave me this lesson first, “I do not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a disciplined mind”. I remember thinking, if God doesn’t give a SPIRIT of fear, than it can only be coming from another spirit, satan. So, I started saying, when it raised it’s ugly head, I know this is you satan because God says this spirit of fear doesn’t come from Him. I no longer belong to you because of the blood of Jesus Christ. I am God’s child now and I refuse to listen to your lies anymore. A funny thing happened, it was like a concrete block lifted off my back, I hadn’t even realized it was there until I started declaring this. I felt so much lighter, free. Fear no longer had me captive. PRAISE GOD! That was a huge lesson the Holy Spirit taught me early on, and I became more bold and confident after it. I will never forget it, even though I have now been walking with the LORD for 11 years. He was showing me how to put on the “Armor of God” and fight satan’s lies. I guess I am sharing this because satan is stoking “fear” in a lot of people right now. I am hoping this helps someone to TRUST God and “Submit to God, resist the devil, and then he will flee”. He does come back at a more opportune time, however, this works every time against that serpent of old. FAITH. The righteous shall live by FAITH. It is impossible to please God without FAITH. BELIEVE what God says in His Word, ALL of it! God’s word is the truth. The opposite of truth, is a lie. The devil is a liar and there is not truth in him. So, how do you protect yourself against the wiles of the devil? Believe what God has to say on any matter because it is the “truth” in that situation. Stop doubting God and walking in unbelief. Believe God, and walk by FAITH. Here is the catch…. you must be reading His word, all of it, Old and New Testament. It is your protection against the devils deceptions. Pick up the bible YOURSELF and read it. Stop relying on others to tell you what it says, they may be “wolves in sheep’s clothing” leading you astray. Don’t shipwreck your faith. Be on guard. Be vigilant and guard your heart. TEST everything against the word of God, hold fast to what is true, and discard the lies quickly. Here is the next important thing…. Don’t just be a hearer of the word, but be a doer, lest you will walk in SELF-deception. Here is an analogy….. “I will show you my faith by my works”. If you really believe (have faith) a chair will hold you, you will sit in it (works). However, If you keep professing that you believe the chair will hold you, but then make many excuses for not sitting in it, you have “faith without works is dead”. You are really in “unbelief”. So in reality, you can say you believe what the bible says, but if you do not act upon that faith, then your faith is dead. You are in unbelief. Remember in Exodus, that generation did not enter Gods rest because of their “unbelief” and the Apostle Paul talks about that. The New Testament says the Old Testament was written for our instruction. Lots of examples in there of “belief” and “unbelief”, one is King Saul (unbelief) versus King David (belief). It is filled with those contrasts. It is to help us understand what each looks like in reality. Written for OUR (New Testament believers) instruction. Don’t neglect it. I hope this helps someone to walk by faith and not let “fear” keep you captive. God Bless