Desperate times call for desperate measures.
We are in a unique season of uncertainty and worldwide panic. As believers, we must consider what our response is going to be. On the one hand, we are not to minimize an issue that is a serious problem. We are called to value others first (Philippians 2:3) and submit to our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-3). On the other hand, we are called to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) and have peace when others have fear (Matthew 6:31-33).
So it's not wrong to take precaution, submit to authority, put the health concerns of others first, and even do the normal things like washing our hands, etc. But in so doing, we cannot cross the very fine line of partnering with a spirit of fear.
We must take desperate measures to keep our thinking in line with God's Word and not simply be "tossed to and fro by the waves" (Ephesians 4:14 ESV).
We have clear guidance from God about how to respond in times like these. We must allow God's Word to shape how we think during this time.
When asked by two blind men to restore their site, Jesus asked them if they believed He could do it. After they responded in the affirmative, Jesus gave this clarifying remark, "According to your faith be it done to you" (Matthew 9:29 ESV).
I know you can think of a ton of examples in the Bible where Jesus said something similar to someone - that their faith actually impacted their experience.
So it begs the question: How can we have faith in a time like this?
Romans 10:9 says that "faith comes by hearing...the Word of Christ" (Romans 10:17 ESV).
So if FAITH COMES BY HEARING, then it really matters what you are listening to.
Jesus takes it one step further to help us understand how important it is about giving our ear to the right things by saying, "Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more..." (Luke 8:18). In other words, the things you give weight to and listen to will create a snowball like effect where that's all you'll be hearing and listening to and thinking about. It will be all you can think about. Just like when you search for a product online and suddenly all of the ads you see for the next two weeks are about that product, more of the same will be brought your way to what you give ear to.
This is how strongholds are developed. Mindsets are formed. Destinies are attained. It all starts with your mind. That's why Paul said so clearly in Romans 12:2, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
In my own life a month or so ago I recognized an increase of fear. I sought the LORD and recognized that I needed more faith. The verse that came to mind was Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing. So I purchased the Dwell App (I get no money to promote this) because I wanted to be able to have God's Word in my ears regularly. When driving to an appointment I would just play the app and listen to God's Word. Slowly, over a few days, my faith truly began to increase. It's not that I prayed harder or did something spectacular to break the fear, but I did start paying attention to what I was listening to. At times, this has meant completely taking a day off of media or social media so that I can make sure I'm filling my ears and my mind with the right things.
In light of our unique season, here are some things to consider and listen to. Allow these thoughts from God's Word to transform your own thinking. And in so doing, I think you will see a change to the level of faith and level of fear in your life:
"The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance." Psalm 37:18-19 ESV
"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed..." Matthew 24:6 ESV
"In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you." Isaiah 54:14 ESV
*Notice that fear actually attracts bad things. Have you ever been around someone who always worried about things falling apart or worst-case scenarios? If you have, you will surely be able to admit that it seems like they sometimes were right and some of those bad things did happen. It could appear like they had experiences to validate their thinking. However, turn that around. According to God's Word, it was their thinking that laid the groundwork for their experiences. Faith is like a magnet. You can have faith in God and His goodness and for things to work out great. Or you can have faith in Satan's kingdom for evil and bad things to happen (that kind of faith is called fear). Either one is a magnet that pulls those very outcomes your way.
"A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you." Psalm 91:7 ESV
(Actually reading Psalm 91 out loud every day is a great idea. Beware of throwing out any part of the Bible as "too good to be true.")
Finally, this prophetic picture the LORD gave me of Paul after being shipwrecked on an island we read about in Acts 28:
"The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, 'No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.' He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm." Acts 28:2-5 ESV
The people were waiting for Paul to drop dead. They waited for a long time and when they saw that he was in perfect health they then changed their mind that Paul must have been a god! What's the point?
Is there any chance that Paul's reaction (due to his mindset of faith) actually changed the outcome? Is there any chance that because Paul did NOT respond the way the island people did that he therefore "suffered no harm" (Acts 28:5)? My point is this, be like Paul. He shook off the viper and moved on. He lived his life with an, "Oh, I'll be okay" kind of attitude. He did not allow his mind to go down the road of fear...EVEN WHEN EVERY INDICATION SEEMED TO SUGGEST HE SHOULD.
So shake off the snake. Take control of your thinking. Don't fall into fear-mode, control-mode, freak-out-mode, despair-mode, or depression-mode. God is still on the throne. Do what's right. Value others above yourself. Honor the governing authorities. Make healthy decisions. But most of all, manage your emotions by taking control of your thinking. Faith comes from hearing, so be intentional about what you give ear to.
I would like to recommend to you a five resources for further help:
1. Victorious Emotions, Wendy Backlund:
2. Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman:
3. He Sat Down (So You Can Too): How to Receive the Peace of Jesus in a World that Stands, Wes Raley:
4. WORRIED SICK about Coronavirus, Youtube Video 3-16-20 Wes Raley:
5. The Dwell App: