8 Ways to Redeem the Time in This Season of Isolation
The apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians, exhorts God’s people to “walk as children of light…and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8b,10). This is not always easy, especially when our three great enemies—the world, the flesh, and the devil—never cease in their attempts to lure us away from Christ and destroy our walk with God. Therefore, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul commands us to “look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15–16). Making the best use of our time is something that is on a lot of our minds these days, as the COVID-19 virus has forced us into temporary isolation.
The following are eight simple ways, therefore, to redeem the time as believers during the long days of isolation due to the COVID-19 virus.
1. Spend Daily Personal Time with God
Set apart at least 15 minutes every morning to read God’s Word and pray. Be still and know that God is God (Psa. 46:10). Abide in Christ, and in the ever-astonishing promises of the gospel.
2. Conduct Daily Family Worship
Schedule 20–25 minutes every evening to gather your family together and worship God. Read Scripture, provide brief instruction, sing Psalms and hymns, catechize the children, and pray together. Each member of the family can participate in the readings, catechesis, and prayers. Family worship fosters meaningful conversation and prayer about COVID-19 and all of its unsettling effects in the world. Family worship is one of the unclaimed blessings of Christian parenting and piety. Indeed, we need to recover the lost treasure of family worship. Now is as good a time as any!
3. Stay Connected to Your Church
Take advantage of all the resources and spiritual encouragement that your church is providing at this time. Read your pastor’s letters, watch the videos, and joyfully participate in Lord’s Day online services. With myriad online resources available on the Internet, it’s most important that you are connected to your own congregation and pastors during this unprecedented season.
4. Go Outdoors for a Daily Walk and/or Run
Enjoy God’s beautiful creation! Don’t stay cooped-up inside. Get some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, if you are able. We all need sunshine for physical and emotional health. Sunshine is also a natural immune system booster against viruses. Step into God’s theater of glory, get some rays, and take in the scents of spring.
5. Reach Out to a Fellow Church Member
Take time each day to call, write, or FaceTime someone in your congregation. Many people are lonely, fearful, and hurting right now. Pray for them on the phone, and encourage them in the Lord. Ask if you can do anything for them. God’s people need one another—now more than ever.
6. Read Good Books
Set aside time every day to read soul-stirring, intellectually stimulating literature. Get lost in a great Christian biography, a classic theological work, or a sound collection of expository sermons. There are many excellent Reformed websites with loads of good books, such as Banner of Truth, Reformation Heritage Books, and Ligonier Ministries. Take a break from Netflix, cable news, and social media and read a good book. Tolle Lege!
7. Love Your Family
Be intentional about serving and encouraging your spouse, children, or roommates during this time of quarantine. Seek to outdo one another in acts of kindness and love. Keep short accounts. Take time to get to know one another better. Pray for one another. Show interest in each other. Go for walks together. Be patient and courteous. Now is the time to put others first.
8. Reach out to the Lost
Perhaps you have a friend, coworker, or family member that you’ve been meaning to share the gospel with for ages. Don’t let this season pass by without reaching out to them. Many are afraid and searching for answers. They are contemplating their mortality. It is often the case that people are more open to spiritual matters during times of crisis. Share the good news of the gospel. It’s meant to be shared.
Redeem the time, dear believer. See this troubling pandemic and season of isolation as more than just a burden. View it as a God-ordained opportunity to grow in Christ and to serve your neighbor. View it as a time to “walk as children of light.”
Rev. Dr. Jon D. Payne is senior minister of Christ Church Presbyterian (PCA) in Charleston, South Carolina. He serves on the board of The Banner of Truth Trust and as Executive Coordinator of the Gospel Reformation Network.