STUDY CORNER WILL DO A SERIES ON HOW TO USE THIS TIME OF SELF-ISOLATION, QUARANTINE, SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND/OR LOCKDOWN TO ADVANTAGE.
ISOLATION, A POSITIVE SPIN, 25.03.20
While much of society the world over is either in self-isolation, quarantine, or total lockdown, many struggle to cope with the various forms of social distance.
What seems like such a hardship, however, can become an asset, an opportunity.
Instead of viewing social isolation and distancing as an inconvenience, hardship, or difficult cross to bear, STUDY CORNER would like to show the way for individuals to capitalize on this time of reduced social contact to grow in their spiritual walk.
In order to utilize this approach, of course, the first, and most basic step is a change of attitude. Putting the situation in perspective will also assist in viewing this time differently – i.e., since it is a temporary time, view it as an opportunity, rather than a trial. Much of our experience, whether negative or positive, is dependent upon our attitude, and the perspective from which we view our situation.
Once that determination is incorporated into your mental set, the next step is to do something to reinforce that viewpoint. Without acting upon one’s newly formulated viewpoint, nothing will be altered. So the thing to do is to now identify options of how best to implement this effort to grow spiritually. The following list is far from comprehensive, but is put forward as a guideline, a general, basic framework from which to move forward:
- Get to know Your GOD.
- Get to know your Bible.
- Invest time in helping others.
- Catch up on reading whatever Godly literature/resources you’ve had laying around, that you’ve never had time to get to.
- Spend time in prayer.
- Meditate on Scriptures.
- Memorize Scriptures.
- Minister to others using creative forms, whether via telephone, text, email, skying or social media.
- Music/Worship – listening, playing, etc.
Now that you’ve reviewed this framework, be creative and insert your own individualized ideas; and let’s get a bit more specific on each of these.
Use number one as your starting point, and consider your relationship with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps.46:10).
Regardless of what your own level of familiarity is with God’s Word, and the status of your spiritual walk, you will benefit from making a plan to invest more time in God’s Word. Always a good idea is to start with a particular book of the Bible and begin an in-depth study of that Book, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim.3:16).
Whatever your starting point is, implement a plan for it.
If you are more of a doer (a “Martha”) and you need to use this time to do good deeds, take a look at the needs around you. What is the primary context of your local community? Are there considerable numbers of elderly; or are there more single mothers? What needs are there? In what ways could you meet any of these needs? Would it be getting groceries delivered to neighbours who are unable to get them for themself? Whatever the case may be, the point is to “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb.10:24).
So many people scarcely read anymore. There may be books purchased long ago that have never been read. Perhaps there are DVD’s that have never been watched, for lack of time. Youtube videos often are lined up for one to watch, study, evaluate. You can use these pieces of information, also, to put to work your own need to practice discernment as you read, study, or watch such material. “Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good”(Isa.7:15). Just having time to do this is a bonus. Enjoy it, and benefit from it.
I’m always hearing from people who say they don’t have time to pray. When I hear this from people, what I know they are really telling me is that it is not a priority, because whatever one’s priority is, it has been my experience that individuals will always find a way to work it into their schedule. Paul provides a great example: ”Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name” (Matt.6:9). Just begin with “the Lord’s Prayer,” if you don’t know how to pray. The Holy Spirit will lead you from there.
Meditating on Scriptures is a most effective way to learn to spend time with the Lord. “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways” (Ps.119:15). Meditating is an effective tool for enhancing one’s ability to listen to/for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Because meditation by its very nature intrinsically requires concentration, slowing down, and focussing, it is unmatchable in developing one’s ability to be still, quiet the soul, and listen. It is an essential ingredient to opening doors to hearing from the Lord, and thereby enhancing one’s relationship with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit.
Passages that you’ve heard in the past, have some familiarity with, but have never mastered, are excellent candidates for memorization. Selecting passages that have had meaning for you personally are also a good place to begin. Whatever Scriptures you memorize, when you put God’s Word into your heart (Ps.37:31;40:8) you are laying a foundation for expanding your familiarity. There are always positive spin-offs from this.
For the individual who is called often to pray with/for others in Church groups, Congregations, small groups, or otherwise, this would be the time to utilize telephone, text, or email for such godly communication. This is an opportunity for intercession, as well: “We always thank God for all of you, and pray for you constantly” (1 Thess.1:2).
There are those who are either severely affected by what is going on, whether through illness or job loss, or otherwise. “Do the work of proclaiming the Good News, and fulfill your service” (2 Tim.4:4,5). There are those who are paralyzed with fear of the future and what this all means. Those who are sufficiently mature in their faith are able to reach out to/minister to such individuals at this time. Kindness, encouraging words, as well as prayer, of course, may be what is needed. Teaching may be employed as long as you feel sufficiently knowledgeable to do so.
A CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA:
- Using social media, needless to say, requires a level of maturity. It requires discernment, caution, and self-discipline in order that one not get caught in the traps and snares that abound on all forms of social media. Just being on social media for the purpose of interacting can be very challenging, as it will open doors to the Enemy to tempt, sidetrack, distract, and take the weak, or inexperienced believer off course.
- Purposeful, knowledgeable referencing of known sources of ministry for the purpose of learning and spiritual growth, however, can be an excellent source. The key is knowing what you are looking for, where to find it, & not getting side-tracked into other areas.
- Sufficiently mature, and strong-in-the-Lord believers can do ministry online.
The incorporation of music into the practice of worship, is another excellent undertaking for which this could be a marvellous opportunity. “Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the lute” (Ps.81:2). Whether a musician at heart, part-time, for pleasure, or just an individual that loves to either sing or listen to Godly music, this is an opportunity to go deeper into this format while in isolation.
The above is only a framework, a beginning suggestion for how to capitalize on this opportunity, and see this time as a gift. Be creative, and insert your own unique ideas, formulating your very own plan/system.
In the next two days we will explore specific steps to develop a more concise approach in your spiritual walk.
© 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.