• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Social Distancing, Not Spiritual Distancing

My husband, Mike, posted this on facebook recently, “Day 2 without sports. Found a lady sitting on my couch. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice.” There are a lot of jokes on social media regarding this new term that we are all now so familiar with. Social distancing is applied to certain actions that are taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. What we need to remember is that social distancing does not mean spiritual distancing. But maybe social distancing can give us the opportunity to enhance our spiritual lives and grow in grace!

This social distancing has made life a little more simple in some ways like less busyness going to meetings, gatherings, ball games, etc. Even church! Jeremiah 23: 23-24, “‘Am I only a God nearby,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” God is here with us, everywhere and He is wanting to spend more time with us. By developing new habits we can begin to walk in faith, with humility and with love.


Most of us hit the ground running every morning. We spend our days checking off our to do lists, keeping ourselves and our families in order. We stay busy with our schedules running ourselves and our families to appointments, meetings, gatherings and sporting events. Many people are preoccupied by the superficial things of the world. Our lives are slowing down and this may be our chance to do some things differently! Remember, let’s not miss an opportunity!


I can think of three things we can do to grow deeper in our relationship with God! We can begin or spend more time in God’s Word, in prayer and with God. Spending time in God’s Word is the best self help book there is. Regardless of the season of life we are in, it will speak to each of us. That is why it is called the living Word. It is a letter from God to us, helping us become who He made us to be. Jeremiah 29: 11, “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


We can also begin a prayer life or take our prayer life to a new level. Prayer is a two way conversation with God. Philippians 4: 6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” We can share our concerns, doubts and fears with God. You may as well be honest because He knows your thoughts anyway! We can thank Him for all the good gifts in our lives. We can thank Him for what He has already done, what He is doing and what He is going to do!


And we can begin spending time with God or spend more time with God. Spending time in His presence is one of the greatest things you can do! It can make your relationship with Him greater and deeper! It is the best way to spend our time. Jesus speaks about the importance of abiding in Him. Jesus compares it to a branch being attached to a vine. If the branch is removed from the vine, it withers and dies. It can only bear fruit as it is attached or abides in the vine. John 15: 6, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” This is how it is for believers. If we want to be spiritual and bear fruit in the Christian life then we must abide in Christ. Psalm 1: 2-3, “...but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” When we spend time with God, we will be like a tree planted by the rivers, bringing forth fruit and we will truly prosper in our Christian life!


During this time of social distancing we may have found that there are some idols in our lives that are displeasing to God. It could be busyness, sports, work, and many other things. It is not that the actual thing is bad but if it takes priority over God then it is displeasing to Him. Use this time to let the Holy Spirit search your life and help you find the things you need to deal with. Psalm 139: 23, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Ephesians 4: 22, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires Do these things and you will be growing in grace!!


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