So should we run in fear and panic buy toilet paper and water and stock up for the coming viral apocalypse? I think not.
In the famous scripture in 1 Timothy 1:17 we are reminded that we are not given a spirit of fear but a ‘sound mind’ and a ‘spirit of power’. Now here is the kicker. We have been given a sound mind for a reason. So that we can be people with good judgement exactly when everyone else is running around in fear. We have been given a ‘spirit of power’ to act rather when everybody else is paralysed.
Now why aren’t we fearful? Because our kingdom is not of this world. Stock markets crash, the weather turns against us and viruses will come and go. These things are not irrelevant, they are just not the central issue in our lives. We receive our security and identity from an entirely different place.
This is why in times past, Christians were famous for actually moving toward plagues and sickness and disease – often at the expense of their own lives. The reason they could do this is they were moved by compassion rather than fear. This doesn’t mean we actively seek infection, far from it, but we are guided by a greater motivation – love.
So what could this mean practically for us?
- Allow the love and truth of the father to invade your soul by repeating a memory verse such as 2 Tim 1:17 above.
- I know it sounds like a joke, but what a witness it would be if you walked your street and offered spare toilet paper or if things really did get serious other extra supplies.
- Perhaps check in on elderly neighbours and offer to go to the shops for them.
- People are surprisingly open to prayer in tough times. Is there a way you can pray for your work place? For example, send a group email with a simple prayer, make it known you are praying for people or even bolder ask permission to pray before a meeting.
- Speak calm where others are speaking fear and always be ready to give a reason for the hope that you have.
In other words when others are panicking and fearful this is exactly the time when Christians are full of compassion and boldness to act.