What are you Spreading?
We all know what there is to be aware of right now--and maybe a little afraid of.
We all have perspectives shaped by what we've read, heard, and experienced. Even those commissioned to broadcast "facts" are sowing their own pre-determined opinions into what's reported. And all of that, mixed together with images, stats, and figures has become a potent cocktail of fear that has spread just as fast as the actual virus.
I'm not here to say that it doesn't matter. Because it does. I'm not here to say we should panic. Because people are already saying and doing that.
I'm here to encourage and exhort believers--those who bear the Name of Christ--to think about what else you are bearing. What fragrance are you giving off? What message are you carrying on your lips, your person, your attitude? And does it match the Heart of the Father?
We often find ourselves in situations that tempt us to panic or even despair. Heaven knows, our brothers and sisters around the world are facing unthinkable pressure and even death itself in these dark days. Nothing is solved by ignoring or escaping reality. A Pollyanna approach to life is hardly helpful. Yet, if we get caught up simply repeating the negative and sharing our reactions to things with people who are sharing their reactions to things, we are merely proliferating the culture of fear and despair, instead of doing something about it.
One of my favorite preachers, a God-centered evangelist with fiery faith, loves to say that his opinion is not what people need. In this media-based world where everyone's perspectives are reaching everyone else at the speed of light, it's easy to forget the divine commission that we have received as believers. People do not need more opinions. People need Truth. Only the Truth, rooted in the Word and the Nature of God, will help the world.
Our lives are no longer our own. We have put off the world with its practices and have put on Christ. We are led by the Spirit. It is God's perspective that we are commissioned to bring to the table (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Ephesians 4:22; Romans 8:14).
Life throws a lot at us--external and internal stressors, tough situations, puzzling crossroads, and a whole bunch of good things as well. The way we respond to all of it shows how rooted and grounded we really are. As believers, we aren't grounded by an innate, internal confidence in ourselves or an outward bravado that believes toughness will always be rewarded. We are grounded and fueled by our confidence in God--Who He is and what He does. And this perspective changes everything.
When God's vision is brought to bear on an earthly situation, it isn't always appreciated. Just like David, showing up on the battlefield full of faith, only to be met by a paralyzed army that was offended that he didn't share their fear (1 Samuel 17:28-30). But David could see that the army of Israel didn't need someone else to show up and tell them more about how big and dangerous Goliath was. They didn't need someone else to sit around with them and talk about how impossible it would be to defeat him. They needed God--God's vision, God's power, God's perspective. And David could bring all of that into the battle because he had been spending time with God, growing in faith by experience, building relationship, refining his focus. David didn't just jump into battle because it was a brave solution. It was God's solution.
We need to consider, in these crazy times of scattered emotions and manifold uncertainties, what we are bringing to the conversation. Are we passing around empty platitudes in hopes of comforting people? Are we helping to proliferate anxiety? Or are we showing up with real wisdom and peace from on high?
The only way we can share the Father's Heart is by living in it.
Living in the Father's Heart and being led daily by the Spirit enables us to face negative realities with practical courage and understanding. It's not about us looking spiritual or spreading our opinions. It's about connecting with God to see what He has to say, what He is doing. He will provide words for prayer, solutions, healing...whatever you need. When we are anchored in God's perspective, the pressure is removed, because He will watch over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). We don't have to be afraid; we don't have to prove ourselves to anyone. This is how Jesus operated in such authority, because He lived in the Father's Heart and did what He saw there (John 5:19).
In today's world, we have far too many voices vying for our attention. Far too many of us are relying on and easily swayed by others' opinions and reactions and that is what trips us up, when we would otherwise know what to do if we just focused on God's Word. This is not to say that we don't need advice and accountability from others, but our anchor should be the Spirit of God. Being led by Him solidifies our identity as God's Children. Throughout 1 Samuel, we can see some of this played out in the different ways Saul and Samuel responded to God's directions. King Saul would hear the Word of God and say yes initially but then start consulting outside influences and decide, "does God's Word make sense in light of my feelings?". This is why he fell into disaster over and over again. Conversely, Samuel the prophet heard God's Word and simply did it, knowing that God would keep His Promises and reward obedience.
Authority and success, peace and fulfillment come from being centered in the character of God. The cry of the prophet Elijah echoes into our times, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, serve Him" (1 Kings 18:21)!
That's our battle plan, folks. That's how we will conquer anything. Take heart and choose to speak, breathe, and live victory!