Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC 

Colossians 3:1-17
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Currently we are in the midst of a very tumultuous time in the history of the world, unprecedented at that. The COVID-19 crisis is engendering fear and worry all around our world as more and more are contracting the virus and dying daily. My heart breaks for those who have been affected by this, as I’m sure your heart is broken as well. With that said, what should be our response? The Apostle Paul gives us some great instruction in Colossians 3. 

Paul wrote these words from a prison cell in Rome to a people who were dealing with false doctrine. What was his answer to all this turmoil? Paul said, “look up!” He said that we are to set our minds on the things above, not on the things of earth. In the midst of the crises of life it is so easy to look around instead of looking up to the Lord. Paul reminds the church that they had been raised with Christ and were seated at the right hand of God with Him. Their lives were hidden with Christ in God. Something that is hidden is also protected, that’s the big idea. No matter what we face as Children of God, our lives are hidden with Christ in God. Because of the resurrection power of the gospel, nothing and no one can hurt or harm us eternally. We must never forget this essential truth of the gospel, that nothing can separate us from the love of God! He is with you! Child of God He is for you! He has saved you! When He appears we will be with Him! 

So, he says, let’s put off sin. Hard times are tempting times. Fear, worry and anxiety make us vulnerable to the attack of the enemy, and cause us to delve deeper into sin. It is imperative that we recognize our emotional state at times like these and set our minds on Jesus. Also, he says, let’s put on Christ. This is not a time to be critical, skeptical, or selfish. This is a time to be servants; kind-hearted compassionate people who are concerned about the needs and cares of our neighbors. Let’s put on love. Let the peace of Christ rule your heart, not the strife or anxiety of the world. Even in the midst of the crisis be thankful for who the Lord is and what He is doing in the midst of this. He finishes by saying we should let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. The only thing that can defeat the lies of our flesh and the world right now is the absolute eternal truth of the Word of God, so let’s get in the Word and stay there. 

During this fearful time there is one thing I know for certain: God is sovereign. He is at work in this. He may not have caused it, but the Lord is trying to get your attention and mine in it. Slow down. Listen to what the Lord is saying right now. This is a golden opportunity for the church to be still and know the Lord is God. Don’t miss this opportunity. Take extra time to read the word, to meditate, and to pray. Take some lunch hours to fast and pray and just listen to the still small voice of Jesus. Speak of Jesus and the peace you have in Him when discussion comes up with others about the outbreak. Child of God, look up and know that all is well! 

Father God, thank you for caring for me. Lord, I know that my emergencies do not constitute crises for You. You are bigger, You are greater, You are above all, and I trust in You. I will choose to set my eyes on You. I will choose to praise You. In Jesus name, amen. 

2 Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.