gracetidings:with dr doug mamvura
The whole world has been plunged into turmoil because of the coronavirus. This pandemic is affecting everyone regardless of colour of skin, age, gender or religion. Many people including some believers are in a state of panic.
It is not what happens to us that matters, but our reaction or response to what happens to us. How do we respond as Christians?
As Christians, it is very important that we stand on the Word of God and His promises to us because any other ground is sinking sand. Our success or victory is determined by our positioning and faith in God. As a child of God, you are safe and protected in Christ. Your life is hid with Christ in God. There is no need to panic. However, this doesn’t mean throwing away reason. Faith replaces fear, not common sense. The world works with common sense and fear, while Christians operate with faith and also common sense. For example, you can’t say because I am a believer, I can jump from a 100-storey building and God will save me. The law of gravity will kick in and you will find yourself with Apostle Peter and Paul in heaven.
We should still take precautionary measures of hygiene and avoid unnecessary exposure to potential infection and this doesn’t mean lack of faith. I believe that while these practical steps are very important, trust in the Lord is key. That trust should not be half-hearted. In order for us to develop this trust, it is very important to have a close and intimate relationship with God. It is through that relationship that we are able to develop our faith as we go through His Word, thereby not living like mere man (Psalm 82:7).
This relationship can only be developed if we dwell in His presence. If we don’t, our reaction to life’s challenges will be identical to that of non-believers who are mere man.
“But the natural man doesn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Natural man literally means “a human being governed by his own natural, human powers and not by the Spirit of God”. This is also descriptive of carnal Christians. Some of the believers live by their five senses, what they can see, touch, feel, hear or smell. As a result, they are not different from non-believers. Their response to life challenges will be identical to that of non-believers. This is caused by having a casual relationship with God which at times is reduced to a Sunday service and 15 minutes, if not less, devotion time during the week. This will not work, simple!
We need to make God’s presence our dwelling place. Please note that God will never leave us nor forsake us. He is always there with us. However, it is us who leave Him and seek refuge elsewhere. This is why at times you find spiritual tourists who hop from one church to another looking for miracles thinking that God is only found in miracles and yet God is in your heart (Colossians 1:27). Some of what you may call miracles, are not miracles from God, but magicians. This also used to happen in Egypt. We all know what the Egyptian magicians would do whenever Moses performed a miracle. They would come up with their own version.
People who are excited about miracles are mere man. A true believer is not excited about miracles because it is something very normal for a spiritual person.
It is only those who live by their five senses that get excited by miracles. No wonder Jesus once said “a wicked and perverse generation seek after miracles” (Matthew 16:4).
We should never be led by our five senses, but by the Spirit of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). We can only be led by the Spirit of God if we abide in Him.
Psalm 91:1 is an excellent passage that shows the advantage of dwelling in God’s presence especially in the light of the various challenges that we face on a daily basis in this world:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
This is a promise of favour and protection to those who dwell in the secret place of the most High, not those who visit. It is about abiding in Christ (John 15:4).
This is what makes the difference between a casual believer and one who is committed or the difference between a disciple and a convert. Most of our churches are full of converts, not disciples. Jesus said “if you continue in my Word, then you are my disciple indeed”. You may have been born again 40 years ago, but as long as you don’t remain in the Word, you are not a disciple, but a convert.
He tells us in John 15, that “if we abide in Him, and Him in us, we will bear much fruit” because without Him we can do nothing. The Psalmist in Psalm 91 continues to state that the Lord is “my refuge and fortress, my God in Him I will trust”. This shows how secure he is in the promises of God.
Verse 4 reads: “He shall cover you with His feather and under His wings you shall take refuge.” This is a word picture of how a mother hen spreads her wings and protects her chicks from rain, sun, hail, or whatever. Nothing can penetrate God’s “wings”. If we abide under the Almighty’s wings, we are safe. But if we walk out of this secret place, we can’t blame the Lord if we get wet. Bad exists, and our only refuge is under His wings. This is why we need to remain in the secret place.
Verse 5, 6 and 7: “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.” Even the current plague will not come near you if you believe His Word.
This is promising supernatural protection from trouble that many “Christians” don’t believe is possible. But for those of us who will believe, receive, and say what God’s Word says, we can thrive in all circumstances.
Notice what this verse doesn’t say. It doesn’t say there won’t be any terror or arrows. It doesn’t say we won’t have any battles. It is just promising us protection and victory in the midst of our battles.
Verse 7 is speaking of people all around us dying from plagues, but it will not come nigh us; i.e., those of us who dwell under the shadow of the Almighty and speak forth faith in these promises.
All these promises are only applicable if we dwell in the shelter of the Most High. No wonder David said in Psalm 27:4: “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” This is not talking about a casual visit on a Sunday. It is talking about being in the presence of the Lord all the time. This is how we become successful. ‘This Book of Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.
Take refuge in Him, and you are assured of total protection.
l Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura