The inability to meet together (Hebrews 10:25) has significant ramifications. Not all of us can attend Sunday morning services because of the health hazard presented by COVID-19. Bible studies and other services have been canceled or moved online.
We understand that it is difficult to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24) when we don’t see each other face to face. However we can call, send emails, use Facetime, send cards or letters through the mail – there’s any number of ways we can still communicate.
Without that “stirring up”, however, we are left to ourselves. We all need encouragement, accountability and prodding to read the Bible, meditate on God’s word and pray on a regular basis – at least once a day. You know as well as I do, it is so easy to procrastinate.
When we lose our focus on God, we find ourselves assimilating into society – thinking and reasoning like the world.
Can you and I assimilate into the worldliness of society even though we are isolated at home? Sure, and it is easy.
Let’s develop this thought a little bit.
By the way, the initial idea about this is not original with me. It comes from Stuart Dauermann, who leads an online discussion group I’m involved in. He briefly mentioned it and I’d like to develop it. (If you’ve heard or sung the song “Trees of the Field” – which he composed – then you know who Dr. Dauermann is.)
God created us as social creatures. Man (Adam) was created in isolation, then God said it was not good that he be alone, so he created woman (Eve). Many times in the New Testament we are encouraged to be social creatures within the church: To build each other up (1 Thess 5:11, Eph 4:16), older men and women teach younger men and women (Titus 2:3-8), to encourage one another (Eph 4:12, 1 Tim 5:1-4) and hold each other accountable (Jude 20-23). It takes a strong person to withstand isolation. God knows this. We need Him and we need fellowship with other believers.
When we are isolated at home by ourselves, or even with a spouse or family – where we’re separated from regular close communication with other believers, we may not be all that alone and separated from outside influences.
If you are reading this, it is because you have access to the internet. Chances are you have access to television news and social media, too. Perhaps you have access to radio, magazines or newspapers. It is easy to be drawn into ideas, statistics and speculation that is based solely on a worldview far removed from a Biblical worldview. Dare I say: a Godless worldview.
News reports and social media stories about riots, protests, racism, COVID-19, politics (and a whole host of other topics), easily drawn us into a world of ideas and speculation where there’s no mention of God, no biblically-based ideas and no hope.
Seeing and reading news reports and social media stories in anything less than a God-centered, Messiah-centered worldview is assimilation into a Godless world.
Why is there violence, sickness, hate, indifference, poverty and the taking of life? When we become frightened of violence, scared of sickness or even the next election — when life feels like it is out of control because of hate and murder, or that life is futile because of man’s indifference toward man – we’ve taken our eye off God.
You’ll likely agree with me that all the violence we’re seeing this week, the vitriol spewing from people and the uncertainty of a potentially deadly virus we can’t see is overwhelming.
However, our omniscient, all-powerful God, King of the Universe, Creator of all things, Savior and the One who has sealed everyone who trusts the Lord Jesus as the Messiah with the Holy Spirit – is still in control! He will neither leave us not forsake us!
Our comfort is found in the book He has graciously given us and our ability to communicate with Him in prayer. When today’s news is troubling, we have to open the book and read the Bible. We need to go to Him and prayer. Scripture and prayer reveal His bountiful blessings!
When we forego Bible study and prayer, we become like the world. We assimilate into the world. Go ahead and watch an hour of the news, then read the Bible and pray for an hour.
Should we be in despair about violence, the economy, politics and disease – or should we take it to the Lord in prayer? I’m sure you agree that prayer and focus on God is the correct response.
There’s not a lot we can do about a disease we cannot see (except to practice good hygiene). However, the horrible violence we see ought to lead us to want to reach more people with the cure for sin: Jesus the Christ. And people need the cure before the “day of the Lord” which will bring blessing and salvation to all those who trust in Him and judgement on the Godless (Isaiah 13, Joel 2:31, Zeph 2:13-18).
Remember our hope is in God and in His Messiah (Hebrews 6:13-20).
We are in the world, but not of the world. We must be careful to keep ourselves – and all believers – from assimilating into the world. Some of us may be isolated from church and other believers – but we still have the Holy Spirit, the ability to pray and the ability to study all of the Bible.
We also have the ability – and perhaps it is a duty – to reach out to other believers to encourage them and build them up in the Lord. And to reach the Godless with the Gospel they so desperately need today.