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COVID-19 How to live in uncertain times
(48 - A New Operating System)

Julian Berkeley, 11th May 2020

See part 1 of this series here.

As this period of lockdown continues, we all try to look for positives amongst the obvious negatives. Many people have spoken of noticing the world around them for the first time – the blossoming of hedgerow flowers, the dawn chorus and the surprisingly wonderful changes such as those shared by our own Youth MP, Josh Gillson, regarding the cleaner air in formerly polluted mega-cities across the globe. One other positive aspect of this enforced period of incarceration is that is has given us time to really ponder the truths of the Bible, to share quality time with our Creator, to chat with Him about what we are seeing and learning, to ask for His insight into things we thought we knew a bit about.

Prior to this time of enforced separation, Fergus and Si took us through a series of talks on the Holy Spirit and in pondering these I was struck by the crossover of those ancient truths and their relevance to our world of today. When Jesus walked this Earth and talked with the people of those times, he illustrated the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven with examples from the world that those people inhabited: sheep and shepherds, vineyards and vine-dressers, and so on. This led me to ponder the gifts and fruits of the Spirit and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit himself. Our phones and PCs have two basic systems within them: hardware and software. As humans we are born into Adam's nature - this is our operating system (OS) and our software operates as a result of the OS instructions: Android has operating systems like Nougat, Oreo or Pie, while Apple has iOS 11,12,13, but we have Adam 1.0! Our operating system determines how we view and interact with the world around us and our software obeys the instructions of the firmware in the OS.

But then, through the message of the Gospel, we discover that there is an offer from God of a firmware upgrade - a new operating system! It's called Holy Spirit and it will change the entire way we operate – and that means the entire way we think, behave and interact with the world. In truth, by accepting this offer from God of a new OS, we are transformed from the inside out, as Paul attests in Romans 12:2, “ transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” There are software upgrades that go with it: peace and patience, joy and kindness - attributes that demonstrate that our firmware has been upgraded and we have transformed software. Indeed, the whole way we interact with our world changes – and this often causes unforseen operational issues!

Not only that, but we have access, through our new operating system, to The Cloud – the Kingdom of Heaven – in a wholly new way. St. Paul talks of this interaction between our indwelling Holy Spirit and our Father in Heaven in Romans 8:26-27, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Indeed, that firmware upgrade from Adam to Holy Spirit changes our entire status and confirms us as children of God: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:16)

OK, so it's a weird way of looking at things, but I was struck by this thought of operating systems, firmware and software, how close to what God actually does in us that is. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit truly transforms the whole way we operate: how we think, see each other, see the world, relate to God through the Holy Spirit - we are not the same! Maybe worth pondering some more….

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.