COVID-19 is here. And this blog is not going to add to the noise, fear, anger, or any other voices that are out there as a simple google search for “covid-19” and you’ll get all of that on your own. I’ve read articles left and right and this virus is legit. It kills, it wounds, it harms, it compromises, it breaks down, and it divides. And there are serious things that we can do to help ourselves, and others, by not spreading it. But that’s not why I write. I don’t write about the virus COVID-19 – I write about the virus of “self.” I write about the truth that when this “self” virus continues to grow, as it is trying to grow right now, then the Devil wins.
My parents taught my sister and I, through their own hearts and service (and their faith in Jesus), that we are called to help others – and I think most people would do this. You see someone in need you help them. If a bully is picking on someone then you step in and defend the one who is being bullied. When someone is getting kicked down you pick them up. When someone is hungry you feed them. When someone is hurting you comfort them. It’s what we, as Believers do. And yes, non-believers do it too (which I am thankful for) because this is “human nature” at its finest – and yet as a Believer, we would declare that we do it because Christ did it first. We do it because the Kingdom of God works that way, heaven declares that’s how it functions, and we know that when the good Lord comes again THAT will be the way of the world for the rest of eternity. And I think most of us, on “normal” days, would live and function in this capacity. But right now, as COVID-19 is ramping up, we need a reminder. We need a reminder that we are faced with a decision. We need to recognize that we are faced with two questions: Who will win? And are the things I’m doing SUPPORTING that winner?
I firmly believe that Jesus has already won. I firmly believe that when he sacrificed himself upon that cross, overcame death 3 days later, went back up to his throne on high, and sent the Holy Spirit to come in his place that he stamped out death, removed destruction, and kicked the Devil to the curb. But I also firmly believe that while the Devil has been given his due, that while the Devil knows he will not survive this and has already lost – like a wounded animal he still lunges, snarls, harms, and attacks us. He still seeks to stir up trouble, try to make friends, and cause division and harm in this world. The battle may be over for him (and us) but this idiot, the Devil, isn’t caving in just yet. He’s still trying to win. He’s still trying to pit me against you. He still thinks he has more tricks up his sleeve. And when we fall to his lies, act upon his suggestions, and live the life he wants from us then he wins. But when we don’t? When we fight him and lean into Christ? Jesus wins. What does this look like? Well, I’m glad you asked…
When I hoard all the things at the grocery store, saving up for the covid-pocalypse so I have and you do not, then the Devil wins. But when I take only what I need, offer up my extras to others, and recognize that my taking from you harms you and puts me above you – AND I STOP MYSELF FROM DOING IT? Then the Devil’s foothold is kicked out and Jesus wins.
When we cancel church and do not find a way to still meet, still worship, still pray and interact, and still do life together then the devil wins because we are now focused on him and not Him. We need to remember that the Church is not her Sunday service at 9:30 AM – it’s her people. It’s the lives lived, the gospel shared, the worship given, the Bible read, and all of this done as the Bride of Christ. So when we “live” as the church outside of her walls – then God is praised, Jesus is declared the victor, and the Devil is reminded that he is nothing.
When we hole up in our house and fail to knock on the doors or call on the phone our elderly neighbor to check in on them – then the Devil wins. But when we make those calls, knock on those doors, yell through the window and make “touch-points” as we not only check-in to make sure they are OK but ASK for what is needed with those who are most susceptible (as safely as we can)? Then love wins – and last I checked “love” is not in the vocabulary of the Devil unless it’s “love of self” and this CLEARLY is putting others above me (Romans 12:13). So, “Ba-bye Devil!”
When I see that my neighbor loses their job because restaurants are closed and I don’t reach out with prayer, love, encouragement, food, and a few bucks to spare so they can pay rent – then the Devil wins. But when I see that restaurants are staying open for carry-out and I order food thus allowing employees to continue to work? When I see that we’ll be OK this month with our food and bills and I share my leftover cash with those in need? When I reach out to food banks, shelters, and other places that are trying to help those who are affected by job loss and shutdowns and figure out how to best support them as they support others? Then once more the Devil is reminded that his reign is not welcomed, valued, or wanted. That selfishness has no place in the kingdom of God. That we desire to BE the Good Samaritans that we are called to be (Luke 10:25-37) and that the Devil aint’ get’n no help from me!
When you and I fail to put our neighbor first and start living into a “Me! Me! Me!” mentality then the Devil has done exactly what his goal has always been: divide and devour. He now has driven us away from loving and serving others, has split us and divided us amongst each other, and instead of focusing our eyes upon the Lord, each other, and THEN ourselves – everything now is reversed. I now am serving me first. I now worship God in the confines of my home and not once am I thinking of you and your needs. When we let this scenario play out then the Devil wins. But we declare that we do NOT live in a “me” world. We declare that Jesus came and died not only to remove the grip of the Devil but to usher in a kingdom-of-God world. One where love and sacrifice wins. One where joy, grace, mercy, and love are the bringers of hope and one where each of our burdens are lifted up and carried by one another (Galatians 6:2).
So as long as I have breath the Devil and his hopes for a foot-hold ain’t happening on my watch. You want to watch the Devil win? Then do all those things that he is trying to do, encouraging the world to live into, and share into the fear he is whispering. BUT, if you want to watch him squirm, squeal, writhe in anger and climb back into the hole in which he lives? Then BE the hands and feet of Jesus. DO the things we are called to do. LOVE the way we are called to love. SERVE one another before yourself. So let’s STOP focusing on me and START focusing on you. Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.“ (John 13:34).
TAKE THAT DEVIL!