Are you feeling a little stir crazy as we are housebound for unlimited time? Will the virus soon go away, or will it be here forever? The great news is the disciples understood what it was like to be a hostage and can give us insight into how to get through it. They experienced what it meant to be in prison, exiled to an island, and even be in house arrest.
The apostle Paul who wrote the books of Philemon and Philippians is widely believed to have written them from prison. Paul was in house arrest during the latter part of his life. The book of Revelation says John was on Patmos, a Greek island where he was exiled because of anti-Christian persecution under the roman emperor, Domitian.
Some of us have lives that are crazy busy - like all the workers of healthcare and essential needs businesses. Others of us are on a pause button to “Stay Home” so we do not spread Covid-19. Regardless of which situation we are in, we can feel hostage. When we are living at home and going through the same motions every day, we can start feeling anxious about getting out. This can lead to comforting the soul with over-eating, alcohol, drugs, over-spending on-line, gaming, TV bingeing. Or you may rebel against the stay-at-home orders and wanting human contact, go and shop for no reason or meet-in-person with a group of friends. Even introverts can get a little crazy with too much isolation. On the other hand, you may be working like crazy with little rest and wondering when this will end. You are feeling jealous of the others who seem to be doing nothing!!
Well Paul wrote some helpful advice for us. The NLT translation titles this section, “Live as Citizens of Heaven.”
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it. If there is any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too (my emphasis)” (Philippians 1:27-2:4, NLT).
As we tackle this season together, let us be reminded that some of the most important books in the world were written in exile or prison. Use this time for the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you live each day to the fullest for Him, whether you are working or stuck at home.
Lord, I ask You would bless us today as we seek You with all our hearts to hear Your voice! Help us not harden our hearts and rebel but do what You are calling us to do. I pray we would not feel guilty for not being able to do what we think we should do, but rest in what You have for us. For we do not know what tomorrow will bring, so let us live in the fullness of today to honor You as citizens of heaven. We love You Lord and we need Your help! Thank You for meeting us every step of the way.
Today’s Bible Reading: Philippians 1:27-2:11