Finding purpose and meaning is, as the Bible presents it: God’s life giving plan for each one of his children. But during this time of isolation and shielding it’s hard to know, at times, what the answer is to the question “What should I do?” – or more importantly “what would God have me do?!” Below are a few principles from scripture to guild and direct us, and as the writer of Hebrews says: to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24.)
Key 1: Keep it Simple and Build the Foundations
We have a real tendency to make things so complicated and convoluted that we can become paralysed as to what to do! Although everyone’s lives will look different, the biblical testimony of the heroes of faith in the Bible all look remarkably similar. A priority and importance is given to:
- Reading the Bible
- Listening to God
These three things are the foundation of a godly life, a life, as Enoch’s: of walking with the Lord. Make it a habit and a priority in lockdown to build your life around these disciplines, for the promise of scripture is that they will prove life to you; Matt 6:6: “…Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Key 2: Be Strong and Very Courageous
It’s my suspicion that the reason most new ventures never get off the ground is because they never get started. Not because it wasn’t a good idea, nor because the person in question lacked the resources or the skills, but simply because they never “gave it a go”. The encouragement that God gives to Joshua comes to mind: “Be strong and very courageous.”
If we want to serve the Lord, we as Christians need to be strong and not let the fear of failure or (let’s be honest) laziness and passivity get the better of us. So, here’s my challenge: be Intentional and active. Below are a few ideas of how to do this:
- Call a friend and brainstorm ideas for serving together during lockdown.
- Ask the pastor/elder of your church what you can do to serve, support and pray for your church community at this time.
Top Tip: If you have an elderly relative who struggles getting online, why not print off these articles for them?
Other ideas for you to consider:
- Give yourself a Daily Prayer Challenge. Consider setting a goal to pray for each person in your church.
- Write a book or start a blog where you can share your testimony or other encouragements.
- Write uplifting and prayerful letters to friends.
- Deepen your understanding of theology at Think Theology.
- Learn a new skill.
- Knit for charities such as listed in this SAGA magazine article.
- Sew face masks, see the Big Community Sew website for information and instructions.
Key 3: Don’t Overlook the Small Kindnesses
When we mention terms like purpose and meaning, we can at times believe this to mean grand and expansive; the old adage comes to mind, “they can’t see the wood from the trees.” Paul himself encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 4 to, “make it your ambition to live a quiet life.” Are there any small areas that God has perhaps already given you to serve in but you’ve been putting them off?
Matt 10:42: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
This, of course, isn’t to say that God doesn’t have a ‘grand plan’ for our lives, but I believe the Bible would encourage us to view even the small kindnesses as grand in the eyes of our Heavenly father.
Key 4: Be Disciplined and Work Hard
As a preacher in my local church once said, “discipline these days is seen as a dirty word”, and in our church culture, and in many quarters of Christendom, has the undertones of legalism and duty. But the Bible is very clear that it is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5) – and we must value it as such. Let us, therefore, do everything to excel in discipline, as with the other virtues, knowing that, in many ways: it is discipline that enables us to serve and love others even when, perhaps during lockdown, it is difficult to do so.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5).
Key 5: Be Encouraged
In all things, know the encouragement of the Lord. Lockdown, for many of us, is a tough and lonely experience, but we wonderfully have Jesus who says that He will never leave or forsake us. Take time to meditate on scripture and the wonderful promises of God today, so that as Paul prays we may be
“rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”, (Galatians 3).
That we might, as one preacher used to say: “march to the beat of the father’s heart”.
God bless you during this time of lockdown.