10 Ways to Grow During COVID-19
Many of us are in a very different rhythm of life than we could have ever imagined a few months ago. Some have found themselves working a significant amount more, struggling to make intentional time to invest in family, community, and if we’re honest, the Lord. Others have been working primarily from home, a task that may seem impossible when everyone is under the roof at the same time, all the time. Regardless of the exact situation you find yourself in, there has probably been a hiccup to your routine. I think that many of us have the opportunity to grow closer to God in many different ways during this season of time, so here are several ideas to further your spiritual growth. Find one or two areas that you think are most helpful and start with those. 10 ways to Grow during COVID-19:
- Commit to reading your Bible. Scripture is given to us by God, as a revelation of himself and his plan of salvation. Discipline yourself to find the same time to read your Bible every single day, join a Bible-reading plan if you haven’t already done so, and meditate every time you read. Since “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16), we ought to nourish our souls daily with the Word. A couple of great reading plans to use are the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan and the Read the Bible for Life Reading Plan by George Guthrie. As you’re reading, look to meditate on one truth every single time you read.
- Meditate on the Word. Reading the Bible is great starting place, but the step of meditation allows you to absorb the Bible. Meditating is when you pause and reflect over the Words that you read, heard, and studied. One helpful way to meditate is by memorizing the Bible. As Psalm 119:11 reminds us, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I would recommend starting with these passages: Mark 10:45, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 4:10, Colossians 1:15-20, John 1:1-14, Hebrews 1:1-4, Philippians 2:5-11. you want to go digital, the app “Dwell” has numerous audio plans and playlist that help you meditate and reflect on Scripture by hearing, instead of just reading, the Word.
- Depend on God through Prayer. Prayer can seem to be a difficult discipline for many of us for a variety of reasons. Some of us do not pray because we do not expect God will actually answer. Others of us struggle to pray because we do not know what to say. Thomas Manton wrote, “What we take in by the word we digest by meditation and let out by prayer.” Allow your meditation on the Word of God, conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and love for people around you to fill your prayer life. A couple helpful tool could be a daily prayer list of people, places, and upcoming events, and/or a prayer journal to record your prayers over time for you to look back at the Lord’s provision in your life.
- Invest in your Church Community. While we aren’t able to physically gather together, there are numerous ways for you to invest in our church via participation in our virtual worship service and Sunday School, joining a Community Group via Zoom, or intentionally writing an encouraging letter. FaceTiming or calling a member who might be lonely or who just need someone to talk to can be a great way to invest in community. COVID-19 does not stop us from being the church, so let’s leverage the plethora of opportunities that we do have (even if we’re having to adjust on the fly).
- Love your Neighbor. Christ calls us to love God and to love our neighbor (Mark 12:30-31). In fact, our love for God ought to overflow with love for our neighbor. COVID-19 presents a great opportunity to love your neighbor by sending them a letter to let them know that you’re praying for them (and add them to your prayer list!) and that you are available to serve them in a responsible (social distancing) and hospitable manner. Many people haven’t met their neighbors, and this could be a great starting point to do so.
- Persevere in Faith. If you find yourself with more time on your hands than ever before, I would exhort you to not be stagnant but to make diligent use of your time, persevering in faith. If you find yourself completely stretched like never before, persevere in faith. Don’t make any provision for the flesh but discipline yourself with activities that stir your affections towards Christ. Marvel at the glory of God in His Word and the evidences of God’s work around you in the world.
- Read a Christian Biography. Hebrews 11 provides the benefit of reading Christian biography. We “stir one another up to love and good works” (10:24) by receiving encouragement from the living (10:25) and the dead (Ch. 11), as all of us endure the race by looking to Jesus in faith (12:1-2). Some of my favorite biographies include Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown, Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden, Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes by Iain Murry, and John & Betty Stam by Vance Christie. Pick up one of these to learn from our brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before us.
- Participate in Family Worship. We have an incredible opportunity to begin the routine of family worship while many are working within the home during this time. I know that family worship can seem attractive and intimidating but I would encourage you to begin a daily pattern of worship in your home: reading a portion of the Word together, praying, singing, and memorizing the Bible. There may be numerous barriers that you think are in the way, but I would encourage you to begin simple. Ten to fifteen minutes is plenty of time. Family Worship is possible for you, it simply requires intentionality in your specific circumstance.
- Pursue forgiveness and Reconciliation. When circumstances in our lives drastically change and we begin to swell with fear and anxiety, the results can be devastating in our relationships with other people, especially in our home. James 4:1 reminds us, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Our sinful words and actions come from our sinful desires. May we examine ourselves daily, turning from our sin and ourselves, looking to Christ in faith, and showing much grace and mercy to those around us.
- Set your Hope on Heaven. God has reminded me of the frailty of life during this season of COVID-19. Our life is temporary in this world. However, Scripture reminds us that we are not citizens of this world: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil 3:20-21). Lift your eyes to see the Savior who was pierced for your sin so that you could find life in him now and forevermore.