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COVID-19 How to live in uncertain times (12 - Spiritual Disciples)

Ben Naylor, 27th March 2020

I am the bread of life; John 6:35, on a background of a load of bread being held by two hands.

See part 1 of this series here.

One thing I often see posted online as a benefit of the current lockdown is that it means we all have so much more time to spend on things we would never normally do. Learn a new skill, pick up a hobby again, mow the lawn, clean the car, read that book you’ve always been meaning to pick up, do some DIY… No doubt these are all good things to be doing and are a good way to pass the time. Doing my government approved daily exercise I’ve noticed that the nation’s gardens have never looked so well kept, so clearly people are using this time to do some of these things. But it does make me wonder, for Christians, if gardening was all we used this time for, is that not a bit superficial?

So I wondered what the equivalent Christian list of things to so during the lockdown might be? Read your Bible more, pray for an extra 20 minutes each day, invest in family time… I have certainly heard it said about this time, ‘what a great opportunity this is for spending more time than normal reading the Bible and praying’. And what a time this could be for our spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer. But the assumption is that it will just fall into place, that it will just happen by itself. From my experience, the reality is far from that.

What I wanted to do with this blog post was an encouragement to invest in the spiritual disciplines, not as a list of requirements to tick off each day, but as a blessing for us to enjoy. And the core of that is enjoying Jesus more each day.

‘Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”’ - John 6:35

Each day we need to come to Jesus, the bread of life who is our staple, the one who sustains and satisfies us. We need to keep coming to him again and again, and we do that through prayer and reading the Bible.

But it is a discipline; our nature is often far more inclined towards exercise or gardening or DIY. So it takes a conscious effort to spend time praying and reading the word. But perhaps now more than ever we can learn to invest in these spiritual disciplines. Perhaps now more than ever we will be driven to prayer because things are so far beyond our control, and so we come in prayer to cast our troubles on the Lord. Perhaps we will be spending more and more time in the word because we realise that it is a light to our path (Psalm 119:105) when things look so unclear. And perhaps the disciplines we develop now will be disciplines we can continue in when things return to normal.

See part 13 of this series here.

During these strange and testing times, we hope to post encouragement for you here each day. As ever, if you would like to speak with a Minister, please get in touch through our contact us page.