God’s Ordained Means to Satisfaction in Christ
Within the Christian life, God has ordained that certain disciplines, when done in faith, will further our sanctification and give us ever increasing joy and satisfaction in Christ. Here are some of those disciplines:
- Bible Intake (Reading, Meditating, Memorizing, & Listening to the Bible)
- Preaching & Teaching
- Prayer (Personal Prayer & Corporate Prayer)
- Worship (Personal Worship & Corporate Worship)
- Fasting (Personal Fasting & Corporate Fasting)
- Evangelism & Missions
- Giving (To the Ministries of the Church, the Needy, & Missions)
- Ordinances (Baptism & the Lord’s Supper)
As we discipline ourselves, in faith, to make use of these disciplines, we will progressively be conformed into the image of Jesus and find satisfaction in Jesus.
COVID-19 Presents Some Problems
With one cursory reading through the New Testament, you will realize that God’s Plan-A for spiritual growth and satisfaction in Christ is the local church. Most of the godly disciplines mentioned above take place in the local church:
- Listening to the Word
- Preaching & Teaching
- Corporate Prayer
- Corporate Fasting
- Corporate Worship
This is why, when you see a Christian that is not faithfully involved in the life of a local church, they are spiritually immature and find very little satisfaction in Jesus. They are neglecting God’s Plan-A for spiritual growth and satisfaction in Jesus!
With that said, here is the problem that COVID-19 presents: Most churches, out of love for God and love for neighbor, are canceling services. These cancelations could last a couple weeks or they could possibly last for months. Nobody is really sure in light of the volatility of the situation. This means that most Christians are not going to be able to faithfully participate in the life of the local church. Thus, Christians are not going to be able to participate in God’s Plan-A for christian maturity and satisfaction in Christ.
A Spiritual Care Package
With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to create a spiritual care package that God might use to nourish our souls. So, rather than languishing spiritually during this time, this care package is meant to sustain your joy, contentment, and satisfaction in Christ. This care package will contain advise as well as specific recommendations.
First, consistently intake the Bible. At a time like this, it is tempting to have your face glued to your phone to catch the latest news article, tweet, or Facebook post about COVID-19. Resist that temptation and seek the Lord. Read through whole books of the Bible. Meditate on comforting truths from the Bible. Memorize sections of the Bible that you can share with others. Bible intake is, without a doubt, the chief means that God uses to both mature and satisfy His people.
Second, pray regularly. Make a weekly prayer guide to strategically pray for the following things:
- those at high-risk in your local church body,
- those that may feel lonely,
- those entrusted to lead the church through this trying time,
- those in your community,
- those working in medical facilities,
- those entrusted to lead our country,
- those missionaries all over the world,
- and unbelievers.
As you do this, you will bear the burdens of others. You will be petitioning a great King that has limitless resources to act on behalf of others!
Third, listen to good preaching. I do have one caveat here. Though there are a variety of godly pastors out there that are gifted preachers and teachers, be sure to listen to the specific pastor that God has entrusted to the care of your soul. He knows, loves, and cares for you a great deal. He is thinking about how to specifically shepherd you during this time. So listen to him. With that caveat out the way, here are some good sermons that have made a profound impact on Kahlie (my wife) and I personally:
- Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death Defying Missions by David Platt
- How Much Heaven Do You Want? By Andy Davis
- Seeing and Savoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ Above All Things by John Piper
- Finding God’s Will by Jim Shaddix
- The Foolishness of God Part 1 & Part 2 by Andy Davis
- Don’t Stop Believing by Chuck Quarles
- God’s Sovereign Purpose in Trials by Philip McDuffie (I am not being arrogant…..my wife wanted me to put this one on here)!
Fourth, read good books written by good teachers. God has gifted the universal church with many godly men and women throughout the centuries that are gifted with writing. God has given them the ability to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to pump out helpful literature for the church. Here are some books, none of which are academic, that have been helpful or encouraging in Kahlie and I’s life:
- Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper (a book on missions)
- The Drama of Scripture by Bartholomew & Coheen (a book on the storyline of the Bible)
- Tactics by Greg Koukl (a book on conversational evangelism)
- Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore (a biography on C.h. Spurgeon)
- George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore (a biography on Whitefield)
- Hole in our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung (a book about personal holiness)
- The Power of Christian Contentment by Andy Davis (a book on contentment)
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (an allegory on the Christian life)
- None Like Him by Jen Wilkin
- Eight Women of Faith by Michal Haykin
- Idols of the Heart by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
Fifth, listen and sing some hymns that were penned in troubled times throughout history. Matt Merker actually published an article of 25 hymns to sing. Each hymn has a link that takes you to a website where you can read the lyrics as well as listen to the song. Click on this link and find some hymns to joyfully sing to the Lord.
Sixth, serve the local church and the surrounding community. A global pandemic does not just hinder us as individuals. It hinders those around us. It hinders fellow members in our local church as well as fellow individuals in our community. Health care workers get exhausted, small business owners get anxious, and the elderly get concerned. In light of this, we are presented with some opportunities to serve. Here are some opportunities that I have been thinking through:
- Offer to go get groceries for the elderly in your church
- Offer to go get prescription medicine for the elderly in your church
- Adopt a widow in your church and check up on her every 2-3 days
- Give generously toward the benevolence fund at your local church
- Order carry-out food or gift cards from local businesses in your area
- Send encouraging texts or emails to those in your Sunday school class
- Thank those who work in health care, the police department, grocery stores, etc.
Joy in Christ in the Midst of COVID-19
I am confident that if you, in faith, make use of this spiritual care package, then you will find joy and satisfaction in Jesus. In the midst of all the turmoil and volatility, you will be a well of living water that benefits and nourishes other people in these dark days.