(BNC) Perspective by Johnny O. Trail — Unless you are a hermit living in the darkest recess of a cave, you have heard about the COVID-19 virus (aka Coronavirus). Several universities, schools, churches, and business have shut down or taken steps to mitigate the potential severity of the virus. One phrase that I have heard repeatedly is that various institutions are exercising “an overabundance of caution” to make sure that people are protected from this virus.
What has transpired in our public is nothing short of sheer panic and chaos. I do not understand why all the toilet paper is being purchased as soon as it hits the selves. I do not understand why a local Wal-Mart is completely out of salt. The run on various sundries is incredible to conceive.
I visited with some members in the hospital a few weeks ago after President Trump addressed the American public about the “pandemic” that we are facing. Before I could enter the hospital, I was asked three questions. “Have you been out of the country lately?” Have you had a temperature or cough in the last couple of weeks? Have you been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus?” Of course, my answer to these questions was “no,” but all this concern got me to thinking about the spiritual truths that might be gleaned from this unprecedented historical event.
What if we, as a nation, were as concerned about our souls as we seem to be about contracting the coronavirus? Our representatives have developed an economic aid package to help those who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Area health organizations are setting up places for people to receive coronavirus testing. The list of humanitarian efforts continues to grow as does the pandemic. If we spent as much money and time on spiritual concerns, people the world over would know about Jesus and the Bible’s plan of salvation.
One of the things people are being encouraged to do is sanitize and wash their hands regularly. Since we have been shopping for items that we can scavenge, we have placed hand sanitizer in our vehicle. We sanitize before going into a store and immediately upon leaving the business. I am just waiting for the day when my wife sprays me down with Lysol disinfectant spray.
This reminds me of what Paul says about our spiritual focus. It is “spiritual sanitization” for God’s people. Philippians 4:8-9 says,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Sometimes we must sanitize our minds to focus on pure, lovely, good, and virtuous things.
Along these same lines, are you taking steps to sanitize your world from sinful influences? When we attempted to purchase hand soap and hand sanitizer, it was depleted from the shelves. What if we removed the corrupting influences from our lives to better serve God? Christians are told to flee youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2.22), Idolatry (1 Cor. 10.14), foolish and hurtful lusts (1 Tim. 6.9-11), and fornication (1 Cor. 6.18). Other things could be listed, but God’s people need to remove harming influences from their lives.
Just as I was asked pertinent questions about my health before entering the hospital, we might be asking people three questions about the condition of their souls. Have you acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God (Mark 16.15-16)? Have you repented and been baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2.38)? Are you living a life faithfully dedicated to Him (Revelation 2.10)?
Some health organizations have suggested “social distancing” to help control the spread of the coronavirus. This seems to be the preferred method of avoiding the disease. What if people tried “distancing” themselves from temptation and sin?
By the same token, Christians are warned about the influence that others might have upon them and the decisions they make. A child of God should carefully consider the friends he keeps. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The same Paul warns against unequal relationships with those who are not Christians. Second Corinthians 6:14-15 says,
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
Another surprising effect of the coronavirus scare is the scarcity of toilet paper. I was number seventeen in a line at Sam’s club that stretched around the corner and back of the warehouse. In some settings, the police have been called in to maintain order among those seeking to purchase this rare commodity.
What if people were as interested in hearing the proclamation and teaching of God’s word? It would be nice to see people standing in line before the church opened to attend Bible study and worship. We should be like David in his desire to be in the presence of God. Psalm 122:1b says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”
Unfortunately, people do not understand the urgency or need for spiritual sustenance. The empty shelves at various grocery stores underscores the understanding that people have for physical nourishment in a time of need. The dusty Bibles and ignorance of God’s word show a lack of spiritual understanding and discernment.
All people should be hungering for Christ, God’s word, and the spiritual life it provides. It is of no coincident that Jesus describes Himself as the bread of life (John 6.35, 48). This “bread of life” is also described as “the Word” (John 1.14). If we hunger and thirst for these things, we shall be filled to overflowing. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
There are some spiritual truths that can be learned from an “overabundance of caution.” We must endeavor to take care of the most precious thing that God has ever given us—our immortal soul.
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