And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
-Colossians 3:15 (ESV)
How do you react to fear? I personally can become angry. As in, it’s not a good idea to try to scare me because my involuntary reaction might be to fight you. I’ve always noticed this direct correlation between moments of fear and anger, frustration, and even bitterness in my own heart. I also tend to take on a prove-it-to-me attitude that demands rational thinking of myself and others (although how successful I truly am at being rational is surely debatable). Recent global events have offered plenty of opportunities for both fear, frustration, and questioning. Prove to me that I should take the Coronavirus seriously. Prove to me that it warrants such drastic measures as social distancing or government-imposed lockdowns. Prove to me that this entire situation justifies almost doomsday-type prepping that leads to self-induced toilet paper shortages.
However the Coronavirus pandemic plays out more fully and whatever the more complete and factual evidence proves about the crisis in the end, one thing I am sure of—I’ve had to do a lot of repenting of anger and bitterness these last few weeks. Anger at the spread of information created to induce panic, frustration with selfishness in the stores that leads to seemingly unnecessary shortages of food, medicine, and hygiene products, bitterness with news outlets and politicians who would choose to politicize these uncertain times, and so on. These vexations at the more large-scale events affect my reactions to the smaller, more personal events in my life—a shorter temper with my kids who run around like little savages while trying to make sense of this whole self-quarantine thing, thoughts of judgment toward whoever took the last bag of Cheetos at the store which means my son can’t have the one snack he requested in spite of everything else he’s having to give up right now, bitterness toward people writing click-bait articles that only spread panic instead of helpful information and then toward those who share those articles on social media before fact-checking them. Yes, I’ve had to do a lot of repenting daily.
Amid all of this, I was reminded of Colossians 3:15 and was challenged to live like the peace of God ruled my heart. This “peace” refers to “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatever sort that is” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). When I react to the situation around me with fear or anger, I am not allowing the peace of God to rule my heart. My soul is not tranquil and is not trusting in the sovereignty of God and in the imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance that Jesus Christ has left for me and that is being safely guarded in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-9). A quick cross-reference of Colossians 3:15 will lead you to a similar passage, Philippians 4:4-7, which says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What is the result of a life ruled by peace rather than fear? Thankfulness. Do you see it in both passages? When I truly believe in the salvation God has given me through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the natural reaction is thankfulness and rejoicing. When I doubt or forget my hope in Christ, I react the way my old self would, with fear and bitterness, and not as my new self ought to.
So how should we live during the uncertain age of Coronavirus? First, believe in the hope of eternal life we’ve been given by the Father, through Christ, and in the power of His Holy Spirit. Second, be thankful and rejoice! Whatever threat to our earthly lives, we have an inheritance in heaven that can never be taken from us. Third, act with self-sacrifice instead of self-preservation. Jesus could have called on more than twelve legions of angels to save Him from the cross, but He didn’t (Matthew 26:53). Instead, He chose to sacrifice His life so that others might live. We have an example of this type of living from the early church during the Plague of Cyprian. This pandemic plagued the Roman Empire from about 249 to 262 CE. At the height of the outbreak, it’s speculated that 5,000 people a day were dying. Despite the horrors of this plague, it’s said that it triggered the explosive growth of Christianity because, as bishop Dionysius said at the time, “Heedless of danger… [Christians] took charge of the sick, attending to their every need.” We are called to live with the same self-sacrifice today as we look to Christ as our example in every matter of life. Think before you post information online, make rational purchases and don’t hoard supplies so that others might also provide for their families, help those who are sick or who need to avoid public spaces because they’re at a greater risk of being seriously affected by the virus, and be ready at all times “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Links in this section are Amazon Affiliate links to books we find helpful
Living Sacrifice: Willing to be Whittled as an Arrow
by Helen Roseveare
place does ‘sacrifice’ have in the modern world? The Bible says it is central – and that sacrifice is not only a vital key to the future, it is the essence of a Christian’s life, today. Helen Roseveare skillfully weaves stories of sacrifice together with Christian teaching on the subject to show you how sacrifice is the key to joy.
Helen Roseveare was a missionary doctor to the Congo from 1953 to 1973. You can read more about her in this article on The Gospel Coalition’s website, or you can listen to her testimony in her message “Is It Really Worth It?” on SermonAudio.
GraceLaced by Ruth Chou Simons
is about more than pretty florals and fanciful brushwork—it’s about flourishing. With carefully crafted intention, this beautiful volume of 32 seasonal devotions from artist and author Ruth Chou Simons encourages readers in any circumstance to become deeply rooted in God’s faithful promises. GraceLaced extends a soul-stirring invitation to draw close to God while resting in who He is, rehearsing the truth He says about you, responding in faith to those truths, and remembering His provision to sustain you, time and time again.
Bible Study Tip
We love books. They’re great tools to help us understand God’s word and how it should be applied to our lives. But above every other book, we recommend studying the Bible first! We hope to encourage you in your studies by offering helpful tips.
Understand the Context
Before studying a book of the Bible, answer the five “archaeological questions” of the book in question:
- Who wrote it?
- When was it written?
- Where was it written?
- To whom was it written?
- Why was it written?
Read through the whole book in one sitting to see if you can answer these questions from the text itself. Use a good study Bible as an aid. (If you don’t already have one, click here to see how you can find a good study Bible.)
Recommended News Source
Download “The World and Everything In It” podcast on your phone for world news from a Christian perspective. You can also visit World News Group’s website for even more helpful and reliable news and resources: world.wng.org/
If you’re a mom, you might appreciate these recommended Homeschool Resources from World reporter Emily Whitten.
For the Kids
Download The New City Catechism app, put the app in “Children’s Mode” through the Settings tab, and start memorizing the answers to the 52 catechism questions (which come with fun songs to help kids remember)
What is our only hope in life and death?
That we are not our own but belong to God.
Enjoy Ellie Holcomb’s 2018 album Sing: Creation Songs, especially the song “Fear Not” based on Isaiah 43:1 where God says to His people, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
“We must resolutely train ourselves to feel that the survival of Man on this Earth, much more of our own nation or culture or class, is not worth having unless it can be had by honourable and merciful means.The sacrifice is not so great as it seems. Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs. Those who care for something else more than civilization are the only people by whom civilization is at all likely to be preserved. Those who want Heaven most have served Earth best. Those who love Man less than God do most for Man.”– C.S. Lewis, from his essay “On Living in an Atomic Age”