Last week (March 20), I shared a guest blog from Professor Peter Bellini Associate Professor of Evangelization at United Theological Seminary. Dr. Bellini has written a follow-up to that piece he titled “10 Guidelines for Christian Living in These COVID-19 Times.” The two pieces of writing go together and with his permission, I am sharing the second blog.
- Bishop Mike Lowry
10 Guidelines for Christian Living in these COVID-19 Times, by Dr. Peter Bellini
|Dr. Peter Bellini, associate professor of Evangelism, United Theological Seminary|
1. TRUE REPENTANCE: I feel strongly in my spirit that this is a time to repent from works of the flesh (sin), and to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. The world has been brought to its knees by an invisible microscopic virus. We have complied with all of its demands. However, we have bowed down to the wrong master. The King of kings and the Lord of lords is calling us to turn unreservedly to him. As meticulously as we have washed our hands and separated from society around us, even more, we should wash our hearts and separate from sin. Be separate and touch not the unclean thing on all levels. Ascend the mountain of God with clean hands and a pure heart.
With many on lockdown, God is calling us to create a spiritual greenhouse in our homes and to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. We have nothing but time in front of us. In this season there is a special release of grace for deliverance from bondage and cycles of sin, especially all types of addiction, for those who seek true repentance. Time to destroy false gods, thrones, altars, and idols. This is the great shaking that I have been prophesying since last year. True fear of the Lord is being restored. All of creation is shaking and groaning in order to birth a new beginning. God is moving people beyond repent and repeat. It is time to prepare the way of the Lord. True repentance is the only road that Jesus travels on, moving in our hearts to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire and burn up our sin and dead works. This is a season of deliverance and new beginnings. I believe this is a season of release for those struggling with besetting sins, especially addictions (sexual, substance, alcohol etc.). God is setting the captives free for fruitful living in the Spirit. Matt. 3; 2 Cor. 7:8-11; Gal. 5:19-23.
2. LOVE: Have we been made perfect in love? There is a baptism of love available in this season of prayer. The Spirit wants to change the desires of our hearts. If we are willing to turn from our double-mindedness, God wants to give us the heart to will one thing, his righteousness. ‘May we desire only what you desire, Lord.’ This is a season to cultivate a perfect love for God and neighbor, beginning with our families. Healing relationships. Strengthening marriages. Growing godly families. Supernatural unconditional love is flowing from the heart of God to this world to bring global revival beginning in our hearts and homes. 1 John 3:16-18
3. JOY: Many are discouraged by the circumstances of CV-19. Discouragement drains the soul of its joy and its strength. Many feel depleted of purpose. Proverbs 13:12 states that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” God wants to restore our strength by restoring our joy. Turn from bad news to the Good News. Meditate on the promises and blessings of God’s Word. We are changed by renewing our mind with the truth found in the Word. As we wait on the Lord, he is renewing our strength. In this time, receive forgiveness of sin, be thankful, and experience a restoration of the joy of salvation. New beginnings. The joy of the Lord is our strength to overcome and persevere. Nehemiah 8:10
4. PEACE: The Prince of Peace promises to give us the peace that transcends human understanding and circumstances. In the face of a global crisis, God will envelop us in his shalom. He will guard our hearts and minds against anxiety and keep us in perfect peace and rest when our minds are focused on him. God’s peace is a weapon that wars against anxiety and anchors our soul in him. Isaiah 26:1-3; Philippians 4:6-8
5. PATIENCE: We are going to need plenty of patience in this season. The Spirit enables us to wait on the Lord. Suffering produces patience that produces godly character. In a season of uncertainty and lack, God wants us to depend on him so he becomes our all in all, and we lack nothing. This is a season where God is weaning us off of worldly comforts and securities and even destroying idols that we will find our sufficiency in him alone. Romans 5:1-5
6. KINDNESS: We will have much time to reflect on God’s goodness and be thankful for what he has done. Now, it is time to share God’s goodness and kindness to others. Pray about ways in which we can lighten someone’s load in this season through acts of kindness and compassion. Think about the people who are in need and at risk, like the elderly. Do they need groceries, a phone call, prayer, assistance? Pray for creative ways to embody the heart of God in acts of kindness. This is a time for the church to manifest God’s creativity. Jeremiah 31:3
7. GOODNESS: In tandem with kindness, we think of God’s call to share his goodness. We have time to reflect on God’s goodness and act on it as well, as goodness and kindness go together. What can we share of the goodness of God in this time of crisis? Although resources around us seem scarce, the abundance of God is never scarce. Let us believe for the release of God’s provision in a time of lack, and yet above all, live with eternity in mind. Psalm 27:13
8. FAITHFULNESS: Consistency is one of the most difficult virtues to cultivate and perfect. I believe this is a season where we will be tried and tested like never before. There has been a great shaking and it will not cease for awhile. Everything and everyone that can be shaken will. God’s light is piercing our hearts and lives examining our faithfulness under temptation and pressure. We need to be rooted and grounded in God’s Word, believing, meditating on and practicing the truth in all situations. Multiply fruitfulness. God is also inspecting the quality of our fruit and pruning our branches for further fruitfulness. Matt. 25:14-30; John 15.
9. GENTLENESS: Other translations may use “meekness”, in this sense meaning humility. All of God’s blessings come from his grace, including salvation. Without his grace we can do nothing. However, James 4:6 states he gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud. Humility positions us to receive God’s grace, and thus is an essential virtue. Humility is also a formidable weapon in the arsenal of the believer, breaking the stronghold of pride and the curse that is attached to it. We are learning in a time when everything is being shaken that we are vulnerable, finite, weak creatures in need of the Almighty God.
10. SELF CONTROL: Being locked down in your house with your family for an indefinite period of time will surely be a sign and a wonder for some. It will be a challenge to stay contained. Drives and impulses will likewise will be as hard to contain for some. We pray for and undergird the vulnerable and weak in this season, especially those with mental health issues and other disabilities.
The Spirit of God empowers us to walk in self control and rule over mind, will, emotion, and flesh with the Word of God. 2 Tim 1:7 states that God does not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of love, power, and self control (a disciplined and sound mind). Victory begins in our thought-life. We rise and fall with the level of our thinking. Philippians 4:1-6. Amen.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
– Rev. Dr. P. Bellini