Especially since the restrictions imposed by the Corona Pandemic has impacted our lives, many believers have compromised their "unspoken testimony" by all their moaning and complaining (Phil. 2: 14 -15).
In good times and bad, there is, "a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12: 1) surrounding us (Heb. 12: 1 NASB) us," taking note of how we, as professing Christians conduct ourselves. Among these witnesses are unseen (2Kings 6: 16, 17) and seen (Heb. 13: 2) angelic beings. We know this because the primary reason that the human race was created was to glorify God in the midst of an Angelic Conflict.
According to 1Cor. 11: 3, 10, a Christian wife's overt respect for marital authority (Eph. 5: 22) is one of the areas under angelic observation. Angels also observe the way Christian husbands treat their wives, as well (Eph.5: 25). For many believers, it is within marriage and the family environment that one will face his/her greatest challenges to walk the walk.
In addition to these fallen and angelic observers, there are human beings who take note on how well those who profess to be Christians walk the walk. Our spiritual adversaries (Eph. 6: 12) and some of our human observers "live for the day" when can see us fall flat on our faces. The advancing disciple will experience "life in the gold fish bowl," with the Heb. 12: 1 observers looking on from every direction. Even when the angelic and human observers aren't looking, the omnipresent, omniscient God to Whom we are to give an account is!
We, as Christians, are not immune from the influence of our fallen nature (Romans 7). Each one of us has our own individual areas of spiritual strengths and weaknesses. What can be a great challenge to some is a walk in the park to others, and vice versa.
Satan, having mastered the art of spiritual combat, knows just what buttons to press and when to press them for maximum effect in his ongoing efforts (1Peter 5: 8) to take us down. He knows the more emotional we become in any given situation, the less we are able to think clearly, make the right choices, and remain in fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) with God.
The devil has lost the battle for the possession of our soul the moment we are born again, but our battle with evil is far from over. The devil will do all he can to have born again believers question the integrity of the salvation that they have already received. He knows that we won't have the best view of the road ahead if we spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror. The devil will do all that he can to diminish the quantity of the production (saved/edified souls) of our post salvation spiritual life.
If there is no substantial difference between our unspoken testimony (being a Christian) and the unspoken testimony of our worldly-oriented counterparts, a 2Cor.13: 5 self-examination is in order.
As if the moaning and complaining weren't bad enough, many such "Christians" say that they have "nothing to do," as if the plan that God had in mind for any one of us has been suspended because of the pandemic (or anything else).
When challenges can be seen as opportunities, the advancing disciple will find that he/she may have even more to do (of spiritual significance) than he/she had to do when everything was going relatively well for him/herself and those around him/her.
From divine viewpoint, there is no such thing as a "bad" day, only ones that provides more challenging opportunities than others.
Job's greatest achievement was not the wealth, health, family, social status, that he accumulated and/or experienced before losing it all. It was not the increased prosperity, family, or health he was able to recover. Job's greatest achievement was the glory that he brought to God during his period of undeserved suffering and tragedy.
Granted, with or without a pandemic, OUR plans can be turned on its head in a heartbeat (Luke 12: 16 - 21). But NOTHING will slow down, speed up, or otherwise alter the plan that God has in mind. What seems like delays or changes to us is actually God exercising His sovereignty and the imposing of His direct, permissive, or overruling will. His plan unfolds according to His timing, never skipping a beat.
Like a single brick in a large wall, each day in our walk with God has a part to play in the big picture. This includes each and every day of the Pandemic, and/or anything else that GOD sends or allows to take place.
The Pandemic did NOT take God by surprise. The restrictions and requirements that the Pandemic brought (or will bring) to us did NOT and will NOT change what GOD had in mind for the human race at large, or for any one of us as individuals.
Pandemic or not, God gives each one of us the same amount of time (168 hrs.) each week. Pandemic or not, each and every advancing disciple has the daily execution of his/her post salvation spiritual life "to do."
What IS true is that since the onset of the pandemic, many of the things that WE enjoyed doing and many of the things that WE may have wanted to do have been put on hold. The lesson learned is what WE have planned and what HE has planned are not always one in the same.
In truth, we often pray for His will (plan) to be done, but what we really mean is for God to make OUR plans and requests materialize.
For some of us, the Pandemic was or will be the means of our earthy departure. Few saw this coming, even though our godless society was long overdue to be the recipient of divine national discipline (Leviticus 26). In times of divine national discipline, the (relatively) innocent suffer along with the guilty.
One of the reasons for this is that evil advances when relatively "good" people do nothing, taking on a share in the blame.
As far as the legitimate and wholesome things we want to have or want to experience is concerned, they may not materialize or continue if they are not a part of the plan that God has in mind. God gives and takes away (Job 1: 21) in order to accomplish His will in OUR lives.
The inspired (2Tim. 3: 16) psalmist wrote that when the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not WANT anything (Psalms 23: 1) outside of God's will (Psalms 40: 8). The advancing disciple and will accept (Job 2: 10) ALL that God chooses to give or take away without grumbling and disputing (Phil. 2: 14).
The timing, location, and means of our departure was known by God BEFORE we took our first breath of natural life on the day we were born. The timing of our earthly entry and departure are in His hands (Psalms 31: 15). Not even plans of homicide or suicide can take a life without God allowing such things to take place. No one lives any longer or dies any sooner than what God directs or allows to take place.
What we DO have control over is what we choose to do with the hand we are dealt. Keep in mind that God is the Dealer!
Pandemic or not, there will always be the means and opportunity to do the things that God has planned for us to do on ANY given day. Rather we are physically active out and about, or unconscious and motionless in a hospital or nursing home, our circumstances serve a divine purpose.
For example, such a hospital or nursing home scenario sends a clear message to those who observe us of the need to make choices while there is still time and still have the opportunity to do so.
Life, for any one of us, can change or end in a heartbeat.
Whenever we find there is a "big hole" that needs to be filled with "something" to do, it's likely a good time for a 2Cor. 13: 5 examination.
Solomon spent much time doing and experiencing everything there was to do here on Earth, only to find it all meaningless if God is not in the picture (See Book of Ecclesiastes).
When living in the plan of God, each and every day there will always be something of significance for us to do.
Discipleship is a matter of choosing to live (or die) according to His plan, and not our own.
Does this mean that all of us are to spend all day "in" Church, prayer meetings, or Bible class?
Of course not.
While such things ARE a part of an advancing disciple's routine, God has work for His ambassadors (2Cor. 5: 20) to do wherever they are, and no matter what they are otherwise doing on a moment to moment, day by day.
The individual plan that God has in mind for each Church Age believer is different, but equally important in the Master Plan of God. We have different spiritual gifts and accompanying ministries that we have been given to serve OTHERS. The individual plan that God has in mind will place some of us primarily at home; others investing their time primarily outside of the home. According to God's plan, He places His ambassadors in every walk or circumstance here on Earth.
God is just as interested in the salvation and/or the edification of the known and unknown souls we interact with on a daily basis as He is anywhere else. Just as a smile or king gesture can inspire others to do the same, a single act of rudeness or selfishness can trigger a negative reaction in others that is passed along to others for the rest of the day.
Every day, no matter where Church Age believers are, or what they are otherwise doing, they are there to offer others the unspoken testimony of their daily lives. Our priorities, personal choices, choice of entertainment, past times,attitudes, outlook on life (and death), the subject matter of our conversations, how we handle adversity, and the way we are seen interacting with others while sharing the SAME activity, are all a part of our on going, daily, unspoken testimony.
Our daily unspoken testimony will be used by God to draw others towards the things of God, or by the devil to draw people away.
As much as we may be severly tempted to keep one foot in the camp of God and the other out in the devil's world, there is no such thing as neutrality in the spiritual realm. Everything we think, do, or say glorifies ONE and DENIES the other!
The difference that others (should) see in Christ's ambassadors is what sets the stage for them to evangelize (share the Gospel Message) some and to edify (share principles of accurate Bible Doctrine) others.
The evangelism and/or edification of OTHERS is the primary mission (Matt. 28: 19, 20) that God gave His Church (and each member of it) to do.
If a Christian is not active in the evangelization and edification of the souls he/she interacts with, he/she is not in the plan of God (Matthew 28: 19, 20) for the Church Age.
Only a very small percentage of Church Age believers are called to be evangelists (proclaiming the Gospel Message) for salvation or called to be pastor-teachers (making disciples) out of born again believers, usually in relatively large audience settings. But this does not relieve each individual "follower of Christ" from the responsibility of doing the same within his/her personal periphery.
If you sent your child to the local store for a jug of milk, you would not be pleased if he/she came home with a loaf of bread instead. While there is nothing wrong with the "loaf of bread," bringing it home was not what you sent him/her there to do. Alternative plans produce alternative results.
If we want to hear the Lord to say, "Well done, my good and faithful slave (servant)....(Matt. 25: 21 NASB parentheses mine)," we have to identify and get on with the specific work that He gave us, as individuals, to do!
End of Part One