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Return to Christ

Breaking news: It’s February 1, 2021 and I’m sitting in a coffee shop!

Just one short year ago sitting in a coffee shop was my daily routine, not an occurrence that warranted a breaking news bulletin. But then the virus that shall not be named came on the scene and the whole world flipped upside down. Ever since, nothing has been normal, not even sitting in a coffee shop.

I never imagined such a thing as a shutdown world. It never occurred to me that an entire planet could lock down all at once. What’s more is I never would have believed that the masses would readily submit to the tyranny of it. But here we are. Eleven months into fourteen days to slow the spread and, still, the vast majority of people are willfully going along with it. In fact, many seem to have totally adapted to their new, masked, sanitized, socially distanced world.

And me?

Well, I’m sitting in a coffee shop with a hand sanitizer bottle on the table (placed there by the establishment, not myself), looking around at a few lonely, empty chairs, wondering if and when sanity will ever return to society? When will people miss the connection, community and compassion of our pre-COVID world enough to stand up and say “no more”? When will people stop buying the lie that we must separate from one another, lock ourselves away and become dehumanized in order to survive? When will my fellow man wake up to the truth that the deadliest, most destructive virus isn’t corona – it’s fear.

Employing the word “lie” when discussing COVID19 is controversial and certainly unpopular but it’s true. The COVID shutdown/lockdown was built on a lie. Actually, it was built on two fundamental lies. Lie one is that death is to be feared and lie two is that self-preservation is an admirable obsession.

Satan wants we the people to buy into these two fundamental lies because, if we do, then it makes every other lie an easier sell. Wear a mask? Sure, because I need to preserve my health. Shut down schools, small businesses and churches? Absolutely, because I’m afraid of the virus. You see how this works? The enemy always corrupts our foundation before he deceives us in the details.

To expose these lies for the destructive falsehoods they are isn’t very hard to do – no PhD or theological degree required. With our Bible opened to the life and legacy of Christ, we can plainly see that the fear of death and obsession with self-preservation are not admirable or virtuous qualities. Rather, they are sinful and faithless.

But don’t take my word for it – take Jesus’.

While speaking to His disciples, Jesus addressed the fear of death by warning them, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Jesus knew full well that the lives of His disciples would be threatened by both pestilence and persecution and, yet, He commanded them not to fear anything or anyone but God Himself. And the same is true for you and me today. The only healthy, virtuous fear is the reverent fear of God.

The second foundational lie, that the self must be preserved at all costs, was debunked by Jesus’ own selfless, sacrificial life. Instead of sparing Himself (which He could have done – after all, He is God!) or numbing Himself from the pain of crucifixion, Jesus bore every nail with full awareness and consciousness. He didn’t prioritize self-preservation. He prioritized obeying the will of God and fulfilling His Father’s redemptive plan for humanity that saved a wretch like me and like you.

Furthermore, after Jesus rose from the grave, He gave His disciples one last command: go and make more disciples. “Therefore,” He said, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Notice that Jesus didn’t add a clause to this command stating that such commission is put on pause in the case of a worldwide pandemic. Nor did He note that the command is canceled in the case of physical threat to bodily health. No, Jesus gave no exceptions when He called the redeemed to live as broken bread and poured out wine for the glory and honor of the Lord Most High.

These directives given by Jesus Himself are as true today as they were the day He first spoke them. COVID19 has not changed them. No virus can ever void them. What has changed is society’s willful adherence to a lie. What has been voided by many in our nation and world is unwavering obedience to the word of God.

Which brings me back to the string of questions I posed at the beginning of this post and the one response that answers them all: return to Christ.

The empty chairs will be filled when society returns to Christ.

Connection, community and compassion will be restored when the world returns to Christ. 

Fellowship and relationship will thrive again when people return to Christ.

Fearless, God-honoring freedom will reign again when we return to Christ.

The only hope for this nation and world is for we the people to return to Jesus Christ, for He alone has the power to rescue, redeem and restore. Only His radiant light of Life and Truth can illuminate the darkness and expose every lie. Only His chain breaking power can set the the captives free to live in unbridled liberty.

And that is my prayer for this nation and the nations of the world: that they will throw off the chains that so entangle and stop buying the litany of lies that the enemy is selling. Then they will know the truth and the truth shall set them free.