Whichever side of the Covid-response paradigm you are on, you are probably weary of hearing, “Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distance and get the vaccine.” I imagine the people in leadership are getting weary of saying those words too! But the fact remains, we are dealing with an infectious disease. This Covid “thing” is not a joke or a conspiracy. The people who have had it, wouldn’t want it again and many people have died. When we think about infectious things, we generally think about disease, but there are other things that are infectious that are not scary. Happiness for example. I’m always amazed at how the sound of a laughing child brightens my spirit. Happiness can be contagious. In Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase of the Bible called, “The Message,” he wrote this by way of introduction about Philippians. “This is Paul’s happiest letter. And the happiness is infectious. Before we’ve read a dozen lines, we begin to feel the joy ourselves…” It’s true. The apostle that wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice,” was practicing what he preached. It’s palpable in his letter to the Philippians. The problem is, when we pursue happiness for itself, we find it elusive. Happiness, joy, contentment and satisfaction are by-products of something else—that something, is the emphasis for this coming Sunday. I hope you catch it.
How much longer are you going to put up with this? How far are you going to run before you stop, turn around, and take a stand? How long will you cower in fear and shame and guilt? Will you just continue to “take it” and grovel in self-pity and despair? Maybe it is time to say, “I’ve had enough and I’m not taking it anymore.” Your first affirmation would come from Heaven. God is for you. Jesus is interceding for you. The Holy Spirit lives in you. The power of God is available to you. On the other hand, the devil is a dragon, a thief, and a murderer; he has come to steal, kill and destroy. He lies to you, he lies through our culture and deceives billions of people a day through his network of misinformation. We have often believed him. Like Eve, we have considered what he said and concluded it was reasonable. Every time we have taken his bait, it has led to death. Death is the only reward he offers after the thrill of our “autonomy” is over. We are in a spiritual war! “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places.” If that sounds scary, it is! We should be scared enough to put on the armor the Lord has provided and hold our ground in His power. The “normal” Christian life is not one of defeat, despair and deceit; that may be average, but it is not to be normal. Paul ended his letter to the Ephesians highlighting what is available to us through Christ our Lord. I hope you will join us in-person or on-line for a consideration of the provision of the Lord for our victory over the enemy.