Intentionality

Right about now even the strongest hearts and minds are subject to the efforts of Satan, to use COVID-19 spreading fear and panic among human beings across the world.  While each of us wants to be strong and courageous, modeling our faith and trust in the LORD for those around us, we can easily be defeated from reaching this goal without some specific intentionality in our daily lives.

One aspect of this crisis is the car-crash syndrome.  You know what I mean.  You’ve been in traffic jams before.  There are those events which take an inordinate amount of time to continually creep toward what is causing the long delays.  The highway during these times resembles more of a long winding parking lot.  Arriving on the scene of some horrific entanglement of metal and road, you discover the delay was someone’s life being altered forever in the vehicle that was crushed.

On the other hand, you have probably been in those traffic tie-ups that slowed everyone down for miles and miles, only to have the traffic suddenly return to normal speeds, with no evidence at all of what caused all the fuss.  I’ve said on more than one occasion, “What was that all about?”

When we look back in the weeks ahead at this very frustrating couple of months we are still working through, for some, life will have changed forever. For others, it will be more like life returning to normal, after a brutal slow-down period of isolation and social distancing, toilet paper hoarding and disruption of lifestyles.

What can you do right now to make your experience in this crisis more tolerable?  One is to be more intentional about everyday life, and the activities that help you pass this time while preserving your sanity and peace.  There are going to be those who say this would be a great time to binge watch that old favorite TV show on whatever streaming media channel you use for entertainment.  And this will surely while away the hours, but is this the best use of your time?

Others might suggest getting outdoors for a walk or run and soaking up some sun.  Or heating up the swimming pool and floating in the sun, all the while imagining yourself on that deserted Caribbean beach with white sands and cool tropical breezes.  I’m sure both options could help with the cooped up feelings we struggle with right now.

May I suggest another activity that also has the inherent ability to bring encouragement and peace when things are not always looking so bright and cheery.  Get that Book of all books, and turn to Paul’s letter to the church of Colossae.  Specifically, and with intentionality, focus your thoughts on Jesus Christ, the LORD.  Read with the idea of learning something new, or rediscovering something that will help you personally during these trying times of isolation.

Paul wrote with this intention: Colossians 1:10-12

“… so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”

If anyone today should be “walking” with confidence and assurance, without fear of anxiety, it ought to be those true Christ-followers who serve the risen LORD Jesus!  Paul says we should be “strengthened…attaining all steadfastness and patience, and living in joyous thanksgiving.”  This words are not just lip-service to spiritual philosophies, Paul modeled firsthand for us how to do this while he struggled to serve Jesus.

But how do we get there from here?  We are so diverted by all the stories of the virus.  We are so concerned about the unknown nature of the virus and when it will all be over.  We are cutoff from our friends and family.  How do we become strong again?  How do we maintain peace and patience?  And many you might be thinking “what is there to be joyously thanking God for right now?”

I’m so glad you asked! Verse 13 is the answer to those very questions!

For He (the Father) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Jesus), in who we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We have been rescued from something far more deadly than the Coronavirus.  Jesus has rescued us from ourselves.  He rescued us from that God-defying willful shaking of our fist at our Creator and saying “I don’t need you!”  When we said “yes” to God’s love and turned away from our own thoughts of how to save ourselves, Jesus rescued us from “the domain of darkness.”

So during these dark days of social distancing and isolationism, let’s focus on the ONE who can restore our strength, help us be strong and courageous, and joyously thank Him for rescuing us from ourselves.

Here He is.  Read it slowly.  Dwell on the words, letting them sink deep into your thoughts and hearts.  His name is Jesus.

Colossians 1:15-20
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Everything we need, right this minute, is found in Jesus Christ the LORD.  Nothing else satisfies.  Nothing else matters.  Did you see it?  Do you see it now?  Right in the middle of this deep theological truth written by the Apostle Paul, is the singular truth that must be the foundation of our intentionality for living.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

My dear friends the only reason any of us are still here is because Jesus is holding this world together.  This one fact alone should cause our lips to joyously praise Him and thank Him for His steadfast love.

Today, as you face another day of Coronavirus madness, turn your eyes upon Jesus and say “Thank you, LORD, for rescuing me. Thank you, LORD, for holding everything together.”

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