How many times in prayer meetings, or discussions with brothers and sisters in Christ, have we said “I just wish I had more time!”? We’re surrounded by constant distractions and things that pull on our time. Prayer time is shortened, Bible reading is all but gone except for a wee quick verse in the morning and off to work we go. We can run through life at 100 mph and we forget to stop and thank the Lord for all He has done and given us.
Well, now many of those distractions are gone. One of the things that this time has brought about is that a lot of idols have been taken away, a lot of the distractions have gone. But it won’t be plain sailing, we’re not going to be able to switch our hearts from idol-factories to devoted disciples in an instant. But now we have an opportunity to change, an opportunity to do something about it all and so we must take it. Friends, don’t waste your isolation.
I’d like to give you 6 quick pointers to keep in mind that might help you as you consider what to do during this lockdown.
1. Be aware of temptation!
Do not be fooled, Satan and his schemes are not locked away in isolation. Sin is still creeping at the door and it won’t need an invitation to find its way into your home. Have someone hold you accountable, maybe you need it now more than ever. For some their temptations and struggles are outside, for others they’re at home. Be aware in this time of uncertainty, maybe even anxiety for some, that you don’t succumb to temptation. Remain firm in the Lord, trust in Him and His Word and depend on Him for your every need and strength.
2. Read God’s Word
I know that for some of us work hasn’t stopped, it’s simply gone online. For some of us maybe it feel like we’re busier now than we’ve ever been. But we aren’t commuting anywhere, we aren’t going out at night, we aren’t rushing to meet folks during the day. Use your time wisely and prioritise spending time in God’s Word. There is no time better spent than listening to the voice of the Lord speak to you through the pages of Scripture.
This will also help with the 1st pointer; reading, meditating on and memorising Scripture will help you fight temptation.
There’s no sign of this ending by the end of the month, so why don’t you take a book of the Bible and live in it for April 2020. Read it and reread it, print it out and mark it up like mad, write applications, questions, insights and prayers. Dive deep into the depths of God’s Word and get lost in splendour as you spend time getting to know God more.
Think through your prayer life during this time. Now is an opportunity to put godly patterns in place and to pray more for people. Why not call the leaders of your church and ask them how you can pray for them, and how you can support other members? Why not call 5 different people from church a week and just pray with them on the phone? Trust me, it isn’t awkward and people are thrilled to pray with someone.
Consider how much of your normal prayer life is spent asking for things or reacting to situations, neither are bad, but is that all prayer is? Consider how much you spend in confession, how much you pray for the upbuilding of the saints and how much you pray for the Lord to transform you. Pray with the glory of God as the focus (Eph. 3:14-21).
4. Listen to Christian music and sermons
If you’re not working or maybe you’ve been put on furlough, why not listen to a sermon series on the book you decide to study? Listen to sermons, podcasts, lectures and devotionals that will encourage you, comfort you and challenge you. This is a wonderful opportunity to fill your mind with the things of God and be challenged to grow in Him.
If you’re still working, where possible and appropriate, put on some good, Bible based and theologically sound music on in the background. Fill your mind with words of praise as you are worshipping the Lord in your work. Fill your mind with the words of praise as your cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, teaching kids, and living life all for the glory of God.
5. Read good books
You knew this was coming at some point, read good books! There are some phenomenal books out there that are just waiting for you to read. Why not start a wee Christian book club in your church and get into a good reading discipline? Reading is much more than just getting information, it’s also about being challenged to grow, challenged to broaden our horizons and to learn more about our Saviour. Jump on over to the book review page and you’ll find hundreds of recommendations or just get in touch through the contact page or my social media and I’ll happily recommend a few books.
6. Be a disciple!
Remember that you’re called to be a disciple-making disciple. Lockdown does not stop the work of evangelism, it does not stop the process of sanctification and it should not stop us from spurring each other on in the Lord. Remember that you are a follower of Christ and view this lockdown in light of that. Instead of moaning we can ask “what can this situation teach me about God?” or “how can I serve God best during this time?”
Remember that in all we do and say we are ambassadors for Christ, we are the Lord’s people and we are called to be holy. Don’t fill your time with more distractions, but why not see this as an opportunity to take stock, to slow down and to not waste time. Don’t waste your isolation, but instead use it for the glory of God!