Spiritual Vigilance: What I’m Learning in This Time of COVID-19

Nicole D. Hayes Head shot

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Do it now and do it always.

COVID-19: a novel coronavirus that surfaced in Wuhan, China at least in December 2019 as we can tell. A disruption. A disruption to life that we are all experiencing together in similar and different ways. Schools and universities closed. Many work places closed. Parents who can, are working from home and homeschooling their children. Our healthcare professionals are being deployed to the front lines to care for the sick in unprecedented ways.

At the time of this writing, there have been 3,610,006 global cases of COVID-19 with more than 1.2 million of those cases reported in the United States. There have been 252,346 deaths with 69,079 of those deaths having occurred in the U.S. (source: Johns Hopkins University). More than 159,000 in the U.S. have recovered from the virus and more than 1.3 million globally have recovered, praise God.

I’ve been angry about it. Sad about it. Feeling helpless about it. In prayer about it. Like you, I am praying for our healthcare professionals, our first responders and frontline workers fighting against the pandemic. I am also praying for God’s mercy.

If you’ve read the bible, you likely understand that we are on a trajectory of sorrows, of greater distresses toward Jesus’ return. This pandemic is a fire drill in a sense to prepare us for more shaking to come. What we do from here is critical to enduring the race ahead.

Pray. Commune with the Lord. Pray. Fast. Study the Word. Pray. Live out the Word. Pray. Fellowship. Pray. Worship. Pray. Repeat. Obeying the Holy Spirit: always.

What we love, what we place as a high priority, what we do repeatedly tends to become a routine, a habit, a way of life; a training and disciplining. Because of such diligence and vigilance, we can better recognize what belongs in that routine and what doesn’t. We’re more apt to avoid something that would be considered a distraction or take us away from what we’re seeking to attain and maintain.

In my blog post entitled “What Does It Mean to Be ‘Fit’ (F.I.T.)?”, I write that “Our faith should be continuously maintained and developed/kept “fit” to help us persevere in courage, in the confidence of God’s promises and faithfulness. Someone told me of warriors past who would regularly maintain their shields which were made in part from leather. If the leather was not regularly maintained, the shield would crack and leave the user defenseless against oncoming arrows. Consider how important this is in our being able to thwart the enemy’s fiery darts by arming ourselves with and deploying the spiritual shield of faith as depicted in Ephesians 6:16. Our faith must be fit for the fight.”

Though the examples below outline the vigilance needed to preserve our physical health and protection, they can also serve as guidelines to encourage the spiritual vigilance we need to exercise daily.

Obedience

During this time, we’ve been given specific, basic instructions to follow to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask
  • Social distance at least six-feet apart
  • Wash your hands
  • Disinfect/wipe down surfaces

No Slacking

To let up on any one of the aforementioned instructions can be harmful or deadly. One’s laziness, carelessness, neglect or being cavalier can be weaponized against themselves, their family member(s), neighbor(s) and community.

Self-Control

In staying healthy and keeping our immunity up against illness/disease, it means adopting healthy lifestyle choices. Eating healthy, whole foods. Eliminating as much processed food and sugar (except those naturally occurring in fruit) from your diet as possible. Exercising. Getting sufficient rest. This is not the the time to gorge and abuse your body leaving your immune system vulnerable. We need to be fit for what is coming.

Stay Alert Concept

God has shown us the way to live. He has told us what is coming. He has left nothing hidden in this regard. Short of shouting from the rooftops with a cry in my spirit, I wish I could convey in words how critical our spiritual vigilance is and will be in the days to come. The stakes are high. Others are watching so they might follow. This race requires our constant vigilance–not out of fear or striving for perfection but done with a disposition of obedience and a quiet rest and trust in Christ. Do it now and do it always.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. -Philippians 3:12, New International Version

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. -Philippians 2:13, New International Version

1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will  not escape. 4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert (wide-awake, alert, having a watchfulness, vigilant) and self-controlled. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation for a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. -1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, New International Version

Love You, Watchful and Running With You in Christ Jesus,

Nicole