He anxiously paces back and forth, each stride pushing the boundaries of his social-distancing parameters. He nervously peers through the windows of the local Mega-Mart as the line-up grows behind him. "Will there be enough for me?" he fretfully ponders. "One... Two... Three," he counts the bales of toilet paper being plundered off the shelves, adding to his anxiety.
"Finally!" he mutters under his breath, as the slightly fearful greeter welcomes him in with a tremulous wave. A flashback of last night's news resounds in his imagination: "Coronavirus induced toilet paper shortages..." Clenching his teeth under the stress, he quickens his pace toward the paper-products aisle. Reaching his destination, he breaks out in a feverish frenzy as if under a spell, and strips the shelves of what little toilet paper remains.
In wide-eyed unbelief at the barren condition of the store, anxiety and fear continue to tug on the strings of his heart. "You won't have enough! You need more!" Dazed onlookers begin to wonder, "Maybe I won't have enough either!" They too find themselves beetling about, finding themselves near powerless to this graceless dance of death.
Darting back and forth in this deplorable state, he breaks into a sweat, totally unaware of how his frantic conduct is infecting others, robbing them of what little peace they had managed to hang onto. Those in his path catch the fever, leaving in tow others equally as fearful as himself.
Returning home, he breathes a sigh of relief. "This should be enough to last the two-week quarantine," he attempts to reassure himself. Tucking himself into bed later that evening, he awaits the sweet embrace of sleep. His mind reels over the day's events like a ship caught in a storm. "Why was I like that today? Usually I'm a pretty good person. I pay my taxes, go to church..." the list of self-justifications seems endless, haunting him throughout the night. Tired and weary by daybreak, he realizes he's found no solace in his reasoning mind. Something then begins to dawn in his heart that hadn't been there for a very long time. He begins to wonder about the deeper matters of life. "Is this what I was created for? Surely there must be something more... If God really loves mankind, He must have a purpose for my life. There must be a way!"
A wise man once said, "If man could see what he was meant to be, he would be grieved at what he's become." Did the Creator of the heavens and the earth ever intend for mankind to find himself in such a lamentable state? Little did our protagonist realize that he was actually born deep in enemy territory. When I say enemy, I mean the spiritual kind -- anxiety, fear, greed, etc. -- the ones that wage war on the soul, seeking to bring one into a depraved state, void of the image of God, who is loving, kind, and merciful. The whole world lies under the sway of the Evil One, and all of his fallen spirits.1
These spirits, when "contracted," similar to the physical virus, exert a modifying or leavening effect on you. Sadly, once you are infected, you become a carrier yourself, passing them on to others. When you give ear to this "bad leaven" it makes an alteration in your soul, causing you to be selfish -- to sin.
The recent coronavirus outbreak poses quite a challenge as society begins to buckle under the duress. It seems as if there is no facet of society left untouched by its presence. However, there is another plague sweeping across the earth which has been ravaging mankind for thousands of years: selfishness. This scourge has held mankind in the bondage of darkness, unaware of their eternal purpose. If mankind is ever to experience true emancipation, this age-old plague of selfishness must come to an end.
A few thousand years ago, a series of plagues were cast down upon the land of Egypt, causing great distress. Within this land of Egypt were a special people, a people that God Himself desperately needed2 in order to represent his heart to the surrounding nations, and creation at large. His heart towards them was that they would enter the "Promised Land" -- an enemy-free land, free from oppression, where justice would roll down like waters,3 and they would know intimately the heart of the One who created them.
However, they first needed to go through a time of discipline in Egypt to soften their hearts so that they would once again turn to their God with all their heart and soul, and live their lives accordingly.
Times became so difficult in this land, to the point that the Israelites cried out to their God with all their might. He graciously heard their cry and offered a provision to be delivered from the final plague, paving the way for their mass exodus out of this oppressive land. Clear and explicit commands were given, and had to be obeyed if they were to experience this deliverance.4 This provision came in the form of a Passover lamb, which was to be sacrificed. Then the blood was to be put over the doorposts of the house, and they were to remain in the house until daybreak -- a kind of quarantine.
In loving obedience, their trust in Him would carry them through one of the most trying nights they were to face. Echoing in the night was the wailing of all those whom the plague had touched, those who had no Passover lamb. The break of dawn would shine with great favor upon all those who had loved Him enough to obey Him. They would be ever grateful that they had received their humbling discipline, so that they could discern God's delegated authority, and obey accordingly. This Passover lamb was to foreshadow an even greater "Passover Lamb" to come -- Yahshua, the Messiah.
We who write this paper offer you good news, should you desire to be set free from the snares of self, and the pandemonium it's brought. This good news is that God, in his great love for mankind, sent His son Yahshua in order to save His people from their sins (that is, selfishness).5 If you receive this good news as such, you will have abundant life6 as you bear the fruit of the spirit.7
If a professed believer is still held captive by these fallen spirits, not bearing the fruit of obedience, he must then ask, "Am I really 'in the house' covered by the blood? Have I really met the terms of peace?"8 Much like the specific commands given in order for one to be delivered from the "Death Angel," so too are the commands of the Gospel to be obeyed in order for deliverance to be found.9
Of course, there's no possible way to obey these commands without living according to the pattern of the first church in Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35. Acts 2:44 is the context in which to carry out the greatest commandment10 to its fullest extent, on a moment to moment basis. This type of love, and this gospel11 being proclaimed will bring about the culmination of this age,12 and the dawn of Messiah's reign on the earth.13
In the communities of Messiah is where it is possible to no longer live for yourself, but for Him who died and rose again on your behalf.14 The terms of peace for this wonderful life are quite clear for all who are willing to do His will.15 It's life for life, without compromise, giving up all one has in order to be His disciple.16 After all, if you love Him, you will obey Him.17