- Who we are
- What we do
For many people a couple of months ago our lives were busy, busy, busy. “How are you?” we’d say. “Oh, I’m busy!” The key to communicating the good life was saying you led a busy life. Quantity was quality. Identity through activity.
But now, with schedules compulsorily cleared, many of us are finding joy again in a simplified routine. Going for walks, gardening, riding bicycles, cooking, and doing all those long put off jobs around the house. Because that’s all we are allowed to do! The death of one way of life has opened up another life. Reduced activity allows more space to live and breathe. Perhaps when this ends many of us will stay shifted to quite different work and life patterns.
But it’s hard to personally resolve to stop one pattern of life and start another, even if we know it’s far better for us. But Jesus tells everyone to do exactly that.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
This is one of the paradoxes of the Christian faith: finding life through death. If you love your current life, you will lose it. But if you die to yourself and its worldly patterns, and instead follow Christ, you will keep your life. Following Christ becomes a new pattern. We may move towards it with trepidation, fearing what we might lose in the change. But it is good.
It won’t be forced upon us like COVID10 quarantines, we need to resolve to change ourselves. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from these lockdowns. Take the plunge of change, trusting that committing every area of life to Christ will bring about a better, everlasting life. One in step with God.
It’s a big call. It’s scary. But as we deny ourselves daily and take up our cross to follow Christ we will find new life, far better than the one we leave behind.
– SAM PURSELL
During this time of ‘lockdown’ I have felt stuck and some days I have felt as if I was in a rut, with each day’s routine looking exactly the same. Maybe you have felt this way too? Maybe you feel isolated (whether or not you have people with you in your home). Maybe you feel that you’re facing the problems and challenges of life all alone. Maybe you’re discouraged and downhearted.
If any of these things are true of you, then take heart, because you are never alone!
This quote from C. H. Spurgeon should bring hope to any Christian facing hard times:
“The Lord knows all about your troubles before they come to you; he anticipates them by his tender foresight. Before Satan can draw the bow, the Preserver of men will put his beloved beyond the reach of the arrow.”
You don’t have to face things alone. Whether you are stuck in a physical place or stuck in discouragement, Jesus meets us where we are and encourages us through His Word.
Though you feel isolated, you can know that Jesus is close at hand. He sees and He knows, and He does not leave you as an orphan to face this difficult world alone.
During the last week of His life on Earth, Jesus knew His departure was at hand. So before He left His disciples, He wanted to encourage them. First, He warned them that they would face hardship and difficulty. But then He told them:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).
Take heart was Christ’s call to courage in the lives of His frightened disciples, which also applies to us. Jesus wasn’t simply saying, “Cheer up. Come on, put a smile on your face!” He was saying more than that. He was saying, “Be brave. Be courageous.”
We will face trouble and heartaches and times of isolation in this broken world of ours. It’s part of life on this side of heaven. But we also have the assurance that He has already overcome the world.
And that makes us overcomers too.
– Valerie O’Regan