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Opinions of Saturday, 2 May 2020

Columnist: Rev. Thomas Bosomtwe

Developing spiritual 'muscles' in a 'churchless' era

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has changed almost everything, including the traditional way of 'doing church'. I, like many others, cannot wait to see what a post-COVID-19 Church would look like.

The assurance however, is that God will use this pandemic to make the practice of Christianity better! While we prayerfully look forward to that joyous moment, when we can all come together again for fellowship,' it is important we use this period to develop Spiritual Muscles.

We must come out of COVID-19 better Christians. The following suggestions may help you to be just that.

Develop a Consistent Personal/ Family Devotional life

Some time ago, I chanced on a material with the expression; “who have been using work schedule and other things as excuses for not having devotion will no longer have an excuse not to have it now.” I could not agree more.

You definitely must cultivate a personal/family devotional life to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A reader-friendly Bible and a devotional guide are two important resources to help you. Of course, a prepared heart and are a prerequisite for cultivating this discipline. The early mornings are recommended even though you can have it anytime during the day.

For families, this is perhaps one of the best times to bond around the word of God.

Cultivate a Consistent Prayer Life

Many churches have designed prayer schedules for their members. Others have the opportunity to join virtual prayer meetings among others. What an opportunity this pandemic presents us to cultivate the habit of a consistent prayer life. If you are consistent with your devotional life, then all you need is to add a few more minutes for prayer.

Many desire to spend more time in prayer. Now you have the time, thanks to COVID-19. The best way to achieve that goal is to do it, so my dear Christian friend, what are you waiting for? You may not be able to pray for 45 minutes a day for starters.

Don’t worry! Start with 10 minutes a day and increase it over time. You may also decide to have a prayer walk. If you choose to, don’t forget to put on your nose mask. God will still hear you even with your mouth covered.

Learn to practice solitude

A friend tells me that fasting in these times has become more difficult. His reason is that he prefers to stay indoors but his options are limited. He is either in his room or in his fridge.

Whenever he enters the kitchen he has to open either a pot or the fridge. He concludes that he seems to be eating more than he did when times were normal.

His experience is logical but to stay afloat faith in these times, one needs to be more disciplined and exercise self control like never before.

Dear Christian, use this period to spend some quiet moments with the LORD, meditating on His word, listening to the still small voice, and gazing upon the beauty of the Lord.

Stay connected with 'The Church'

One of the beautiful catch phrases I have seen during this period is 'social distancing is not spiritual distancing.'

Verily, we must all practice social distancing. There are however many other ways of staying connected with people, especially your brothers and sisters in the faith.

This is the time to call and check up on your cell group members, Bible study group members, departmental leaders, and of course your church leaders including your Pastors/Ministers.

If your church is doing service online, stay connected and when you do, comment, like and share. You may not see your ‘brethren’ to enjoy the warmth of their presence, but you will definitely enjoy their counsel, thoughts and a lot more. You can even ask a question on the sermon, which is nonexistent in a traditional church setting.

My mother says ‘nipa y3 d3 nanso y3nnwe ne nam.’ (Human beings are sweet even though we do not eat human flesh). Friend, stay connected with the brothers and sisters in the faith.

Do the Work of an Evangelist

Never has the harvest been ripe than these times of covid-19. People are asking, if doctors are unable to help us in these times, then who will? Jesus remains the only hope for a hopeless and frustrated world. He is still saving those who call on Him.

This is the best time to tell people about the hope of a life with the One who holds the keys of death and many are also asking, is this end of the world? Fear, anxiety and despair have taken a hold on many.

Use every opportunity you have to point people to Jesus Christ. He alone offers hope, both in this world and in the world to come.

Be a better steward of your resources

The temptation remains very strong to stay digitally relevant in these times. Remember that it comes at a cost. Data usage in these times will hit the rooftop. While you are enjoying the new way of doing things, do not spend all your money on data.

Take care of your family, remember the needy and extend a hand of support to them. If you are still receiving your salary, then do not forget to send your tithes to your church. Your offerings and other obligations will help your local church to help needy members in these times.

Conclusion

Paul admonished the Christians of Philippi in Philippians 1:27 as follows: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in manner worthy of the gospel.” This is the time to develop spiritual muscles. Watching and listening to preachers on Television, Radios, Youtube / Facebook are good. However they should not replace all the other disciplines necessary for spiritual growth.

The best time to have started developing spiritual muscles was when you gave your life to Christ. The next best time is now. So get your Bibles, devotional guides and start the process. You must come out of COVID-19 a better Christian. The Lord will help you if you are willing.

The writer is a student of Theology and Associate Pastor with Assemblies of God, Ghana (Holy Ghost Revival Centre - Accra)

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