Over the past few months, we have lived through an unprecedented time in modern history. Across the globe we have seen nearly every government extend its reach into the personal lives of its citizens and impose mandates on normal behavior (for some countries this is standard, for others a shock). Forcing shutdowns of businesses, quarantining at home, and wearing masks are just three examples of how the entire world has been impacted. Like many others, I’ve complied to the best of my ability.
As the weeks have dragged into months, we are seeing that there isn’t just a financial cost to these mandates. The mental and emotional impacts are also far reaching and long lasting; as reports came out nationwide that suicide rates had jumped quickly and a mental health crisis had escalated.
This isn’t surprising! But what is surprising is the number of churches that have continued to remain shuttered. Where are all the Believers??? Where are the Shepherds that God has called to lead the flocks? God never promised an easy life, but He did promise hope in the midst of hardship. The Body of Christ is meant to be the ministers and suppliers of this TRUTH!
The reality is this: When we don’t gather, we don’t grow; and if we aren’t growing, we are dying. You know those sci-fi movies when someone builds an AI robot and the pieces are torn apart, but each still functions in its own capacity? The eye is still seeing and sending the signal to the motherboard which causes the hands to piece the body back together or perform an imperative function. This is NOT how the body of Christ is meant to operate. We MUST gather together so that we CAN grow!
Throughout the entire Bible, followers of God are compared to sheep. We have been told that sheep are docile and submissive, so we must not buck the system. We need to comply with the government sanctioned mandates that are placing chokeholds on individuals, businesses, schools, and churches. Once one sheep complies, the tendency is for all to comply. Do you know why? Because sheep can’t stop themselves from flocking! For Christians this is important because Jesus refers to His disciples as sheep, and so we identify in this way, but I believe we are using this analogy as a cop-out for standing up for truth, justice, and liberty!
The instinct to flock is so strong that it can cause an entire herd to perish. A story came out of Turkey 15 years ago about a flock of 400 sheep that plummeted to their deaths because 1 of the sheep tried to cross a ravine. It just took ONE, and they all followed. We need more churches to stand up and say that these regulations and mandates imposed by men are NOT improving our lives or leading us to health, but are actually leading us down a path of destruction both physically and emotionally. The church is led by shepherds, pastors given the responsibility to lead sheep, but we also need some sheep to step up and lead us in the path of life?
“But sheep are docile,” they say. Did you know that sheep can be aggressive? Yes! Rams, especially during breeding season, and Ewes with lambs can be very aggressive. In short, they are aggressive when it comes to protecting their natural instinct to create life! Why does this matter? There should never be a season when Christians are not caring for lambs or looking to bring new lambs into the fold!
I believe that we have an opportunity now, more than ever before, to share the freedom that comes from knowing Christ with the world around us. We are seeing what happens when men and women are given power over others. For those that follow Christ, however, we know that we have an eternal freedom that can never be taken. The founding fathers of our nation knew this, and now we need to walk it.
And don’t forget this, Jesus ignored the laws imposed by man in order to touch the leper. The woman with a bleeding disorder ignored those same laws to reach out and touch the Healer. We cannot sacrifice our spiritual health in the altar of cultural relevance.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). If you aren’t seeing freedom in your life, then ask yourself if the Holy Spirit has been made welcome. It’s never too late to make that change.
Leaning into Him,
(photo By © Túrelio (via Wikimedia-Commons), 2002, CC BY-SA 2.5)