And now it has been shown to us in the coming of our Savior Christ Jesus. He destroyed death and showed us the way to have life. Yes, through the Good News Jesus showed us the way to have life that cannot be destroyed. 2 Timothy 1:10 ERV
It is becoming increasingly clear that we have to learn to live with the COVID-19 virus. We need to counter the deadly fears about the virus and vaccination that are distorting our thinking and fueling negative beliefs which lead to unfounded anxieties and irrational actions. The viruses of misinformation and disinformation infecting our minds with illogical and selfish thoughts are more deadly than the COVID-19 virus. To make matters worse, our sinful human nature has politicized and commercialized the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is the angel of death to wake us up to the spiritual dimension of life and the power of love. We are confronted with the harsh reality of living in slavery to evil through our fear of death. Our lives are being ruined by the sins of greed, lust and pride. We have lost our identity as the children of God. Like the prodigal son, we need to come to our senses. Like the alcohol addict we need to hit rock bottom to turn back from our foolish and futile ways. Like the Israelites who were living in slavery in Egypt, we need to cry out for deliverance.
COVID-19 is a blessing if it draws us closer to God and to one another and change us from human doings into human beings. St Ireneus wrote that “the glory of God is the human being fully alive.” We can be fully alive only when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we are driven by our sinful desires, ulterior motives and hidden agendas. Our egos drive us to be successful – to achieve and accumulate. We need to be led by the Holy Spirit to be faithful and fruitful servants of God.
What we desperately need in these unpredictable and perilous times are not better vaccines against the COVID-19 virus but an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Our fears are deadly when they lead us away from God. The challenge is to see our deadly fears as opportunities for our tiny mustard seed faith to be transformed into a Rock of Salvation.
But for our mustard seed faith to grow, we need to be filled by the Holy Spirit. After Jesus rose from the dead, he told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit:
“Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5, NLT)
The dark clouds and storms of life are difficult times but when Christ is in us, they are times when the Holy Spirit breaks open our seeds of faith. In times when God seems absent, our false and idolatrous beliefs about God are revealed and rectified by the Holy Spirit. In such times we need to learn to wait, to be broken, to die to our false selves and to turn our eyes upon Jesus. God knows it is difficult for us to walk in faith during the storms of life and has promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a reward for our obedience – it is the gift of God to empower us to face our problems and trials when we have little faith:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)
We are to grow from being infants who lives on milk to being partners with Holy Spirit so that we will be less dependent on signs and wonders to overcome our problems. Our faith is changed from a relationship of “God and me”, to “Spirit with me”, to “Christ in me”:
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.” (Hebrews 6:1-3, NLT)
When we are abiding in Christ we will bear much fruit:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John15:4-5, NKJV)
We need a spiritual revival but this have to begin in each one of us. Our hearts need to be changed before the world can be changed. For it is only when our hearts are changed that the Holy Spirit can work in us to move mountains with our mustard seed faith:
“Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John14:11-14)
In these gloomy times of the pandemic, let us share the good news that Jesus came to be the Way to turn our deadly fears into a faith that is alive in our daily lives and a life that cannot be destroyed.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die,
but live with thee, the perfect life of thine eternity.”