By Ann Birdsong
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of us are not socializing the way we are used to. Even introverts are realizing they have some extrovert blood in them and miss coming together with friends. Scripture tells us repeatedly that fellowship is a key component in a Christian’s life. Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us that, “two is better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that, “Iron Sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.”
Keeping our faith during this time of isolation can be difficult. I know for myself living alone and going through medical issues with my eye, that forced me to be still the past few months, there have been days where I longed and wished for fellowship to help me in that area. I miss the church, but through this inability to come together with friends and mentors right now face to face, to express that particular form of fellowship mentioned above, it shined a light on how my spiritual life and fellowship with God can never be separated. The apostle John opens his letter by asserting that one of the main aims of the Christian message is we may enter into the apostolic fellowship, which is “with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1-3). Such fellowship with God is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. Christianity is not, at its core, the observance of rituals or rules. Rather, it is a walk of personal fellowship with the living God. I had to come up with a strategic way to consistently beat the overwhelming outside noise and concerns that seemed to overshadow my faith.
Here are some simple steps that helped me, and I encourage you to do this each day – or even a couple times a day. This routine is a beautiful way to have fellowship with the Lord and a reminder for us, that we are never alone, and He is true to His promises.
- Examine your heart: ask the Holy Spirit to reveal where your feelings are coming from.
- Meditate on God’s Word: find scripture that lines up with what you are going through.
- Pray for Faith: ask for it, it does not always come naturally or easily.
- Renew your mind: read about His promises. Read the Psalms, or the book of Ephesians is always a good start.
- Build up your faith in God: read about his sovereignty. He allows all things, He knows all things, He has the final say, He is the God of our salvation, etc.
- Offer praise and thanksgiving: for all that He has done for you.
- Nurture your spirit, soul, and body: find things that bring you joy, admire God’s work in nature, stroll through His beauty. Find peace and rest in all that He is and all that you mean to Him. You are His son or daughter.
Take advantage of this unique time to create a routine that encourages this type of fellowship in your life. Find particular scripture that will help activate the promises of God in your life!
Many blessings to you!
Submitted by Ann Birdsong, Evangelism and Engagement Director, Munholland United Methodist Church, Metairie, LA; sister-in-law of the Caprock Patriot.