With An Unveiled Face
Have you ever noticed that when you fill your gas tank up, it seems you can drive a long way before the needle gets below the full line but as soon as it gets to the quarter tank mark it seems to evaporate ten times faster? Jesus told us that as we get closer to the last days that deception, wars, earthquakes, famines and persecution would enfold like birth pangs. Like contractions when a woman is in labor the pains grow stronger and closer together. I think we can all agree that the year 2020 feels like we are at the quarter tank mark with one pain after another with little time to recover in between.
During hard times, people should unite and grow stronger. Unfortunately, the exact opposite has happened; the world has never been so divided and the love of many has grown cold. This is a very dangerous place to be since a house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). Yes, division is dangerous but even worse is disregarding Biblical principles. The Bible says, woe to the those who call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20). We are living in a time where Satan doesn’t have to disguise himself anymore because his agenda is now openly celebrated and promoted! If you disagree with what the world endorses, you are labeled as intolerant, uncaring and judgmental. No one is allowed to have an opinion that contradicts what the masses promote.
“We are living in a time where Satan doesn’t have to disguise himself anymore because his agenda is now openly celebrated and promoted!”
A couple of years ago I was told by a young woman that I was being selfish and unconcerned about the ocean and the plight of sea turtles. When I asked her what she was talking about, she pointed to the plastic straw in my drink. In 2018, both social media and the news began broadcasting reports of trash-littered oceans to include a video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nose. This fueled the watching audience to take a stand and demand a ban on plastic straws. Soon afterward, restaurants quit giving out straws and California even tried to make it illegal by introducing a bill that would impose jail sentences if a restaurant worker handed out a single unsolicited plastic straw! Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s very important to be good stewards of our planet. What concerned me was the divisive spirit behind this movement and the inconsistency of the argument. For example, if you hated the paper straw and chose to use plastic, you were deemed irresponsible and judged; but the 32-ounce plastic cup you were drinking out of was good to go.
Fast forward to 2020 where, thanks to Covid-19, the straw argument and the use of plastic, has taken a backseat to the latest divisive issue, the coronavirus mandates. Ironically, due to the need for disposable eating utensils and containers in restaurants, plastic is king and treated as a critical tool in the fight against the spread of Covid-19. On the bright side, I haven’t been glared at for using a straw for months! I’m a fan of being a responsible citizen but once again, it’s the divisive spirit behind the mandates, coupled with the inconsistency of the argument that I have a problem with. In the name of concern and compassion, you will be confronted, yelled at, and called heartless, irresponsible, and ignorant if you don’t put your mask on and keep your distance.
As Christians, we are called to live in unity and be peacemakers but what do we do when the world we live in requires us to do the exact opposite of what God’s word says? Act 5:29 tells us, We ought to obey God rather than men. Yes, we are to obey governing authorities (Romans 13) but not to the extent where it goes against God’s laws. In the Bible, we’re told that Daniel didn’t quit praying because it was mandated. Instead, he chose to be thrown into a pit of hungry lions before submitting to a nonsensical, man-made law prohibiting prayer. God blessed his obedience by shutting the mouths of the lions. His courage honored God, and in return, God supernaturally protected Daniel.
WHOM SHALL WE FEAR?
We need to be very careful to not be a reflection of the culture around us but instead shine the light of God’s truth in the darkness. Ephesians 5:11 says it this way, Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
For example, the world encourages us to live in a constant state of fear by presenting us with a daily scoreboard of how many people have contracted and died with Covid-19. It’s hard to find an outlet that highlights any good news or even mentions how many people have recovered from this virus. Why is this? I believe it’s because fear is Satan’s weapon of choice used to control those who bow down to it. Ephesians 2:2 describes our enemy as being the prince of the power of the air…” After seeing how the media has cooperated in the promotion of panic, prince of the power of the “airwaves” seems to be a more appropriate term!
When you live in fear, you’re in bondage to it and are easily manipulated. God does not want that for His children and reminds us over 100 times in the Bible not to fear. Isaiah 41:10 sounds more like a command than a suggestion when we read, Fear not, for I Am with you... This is good news! God is with us and for us, so who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). This should increase our faith and shelter us from all the lies of the enemy.
Worry is a choice and when we choose to elevate fear over faith, it will kill joy, steal peace, and destroy relationships. Whether we realize it or not, we worship what we fear. When we worship worry, it will demand that we trade our life for existence, the opposite of what Jesus wants for us. He came to give us life, and life to the full! (John 10:10). God alone is worthy to be feared.
THE WORLD OR THE WORD?
The Bible says not to neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).
The world tells us if we really cared about people we would stay home, keep our distance, quarantine, and isolate.
It’s important for us to be together and according to the words of Jesus, He agrees –– “for where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). We were created to need each other and 2020 has proven that we don’t do well when we are isolated. Suicide, depression, and substance abuse rose dramatically when the world was on lockdown. This gave us empirical data that the “cure” was as dangerous as the virus.
Now, more than ever, we need to remind each other of the good news. Words are powerful and when we encourage others (like the Bible tells us to) we are, in effect, adding courage to another person. A solitary ember in a fireplace will burn out, but when embers unite, a powerful flame is the result. The same is true when God’s children gather together. Satan doesn’t want us united because he fears being exposed by the light. He will fight to make sure we keep our distance from each other because an atmosphere of fear and loneliness better suites his evil agenda.
The Bible says that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. We are to stand firm and not let ourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1).
The world demands we give up our freedoms and rights in the almighty name of health and safety.
When I read the Bible, I see a God who proved that freedom was more important than safety. Hebrews 2:14-15, tells us that Jesus died in order to break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Both then and now, people are being held captive and are willingly sacrificing their freedoms for the illusion of safety. As Christians, we don’t have to fear something that Jesus has already conquered.
Ronald Reagan warned, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
The Bible encourages us to examine everything carefully and search matters out to see if they are true (1 Thessalonians 5:21, Acts 17:11).
The world wants us to blindly trust the government and their appointed experts and just “do what we are told.”
We constantly hear that we should “follow the science.” It doesn’t say research, question, or even investigate the science. Since that’s the case, the last two words don’t really need to be in the sentence, since following is the only word they want us to hear. If the science isn’t adding up, we should be allowed to question it. In Acts 17:11 we find that the Berean Jews were considered to be nobler in character because they took the time to examine the scriptures every day to see if what they were being told was true (see Acts 17:11). With this in mind, we should question why we’re being discouraged to ask questions. God Himself tells us, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).
HOW DO WE FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT?
I’m very thankful that God gave us the Bible so that we can know His heart. The Bible makes it clear that God loves justice. When evil seems to be prevailing, we become very impatient and want immediate justice. We need to remember that the law of gravity is as true as the law of reaping and sowing. The only difference is the timing–one is instant and the other makes us wait. From experience, I know that God is never early, He is never late… and, did I mention, He is never, ever, early! Why? Because His timing is perfect. We can rest knowing that the truth will always prevail and what is hidden in the dark will be revealed in the light. When we find ourselves in a season of “wait” training we can rest assured that God is equipping us for our good and His glory.
In order for conflicts to be resolved and peace to reign, we need to remember what Ephesians 6:12 tells us;
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”
We can’t be victorious by fighting each other because people aren’t the enemy. The Bible tells us that Satan has blinded the eyes of unbelievers causing them to walk in darkness, not even knowing what they stumble over (Proverbs 4:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4). You wouldn’t get angry at a blind man for stumbling and you wouldn’t argue with him over the color of the sky. In light of the divided world we are living in, let’s consider the following verse:
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed…
- 2 Cor 3:12-18
There is a sickness far scarier than Covid-19 and all of us have been infected with it. The disease is sin and the consequence is death. No amount of mask wearing or social distancing can prevent it or stop the spread of it. There is only one way to be cured and it’s available to all who put their trust in Jesus alone to save them. He is the only cure and the only One who can remove the veil that blinds people to the truth. Eternal safety should motivate us to get out of our comfort zones and speak the truth in love while we still have time.
I read a quote years ago that said, “the found should always seek the lost.” As believers who have unveiled faces, our job is to pray for, love, and introduce everyone in our sphere of influence to Jesus with the urgency and awareness that the gas in the tank is running low!
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Thanks for the eye opener!. FEAR is the grand enemy in all of this. Our eternal life is secure with Jesus. Covid 19 should not be the wall that stops us to reach those in need. I do believe we should wear mask and take the necessary precautions to avoid contaminate ourselves and most important, contaminate those whose immune system is not as strong (we want them to know Jesus not to die). We could be carrier’s without even know it. But this can not stop us to try and reach those in need.
Elijah went to the cave scared, depressed and alone but God was there. God ask him to get out of the cave and get back to work, anoint two kings and get Elisha as his substitute (1 Kings 19:15).
Let’s get out of the cave; there’s work to be done.