We are all feeling it. Now 7 months since the restrictions were imposed to keep us “safe,” it is easy to relax and be a little careless. Some of us were slow getting convinced about the seriousness of the threat. Now it is beyond question. No one can honestly deny the effects the virus has created worldwide: stress, distress, economic havoc, death.
But who isn’t getting tired of the isolation, the limitations, the restrictions? They are calling it Covid Fatigue.
The following was in an email we received from a reliable software company last week:
“If all this distancing, isolating, quarantining, washing, sanitizing, and mask-wearing is starting to wear you down, you might be suffering from Covid fatigue. It happens when your brain is in a constant state of high alert and gradually becomes desensitized to danger. As a result, you end up taking risks you might not have otherwise.
“Covid fatigue is real, and it’s a really big problem—it applies to cybersecurity too. We’re all spending more time online and cybercriminals know it. Since the start of the pandemic there’s been a marked increase in certain types of cyberattacks. All it takes is one careless click to fall victim to a phishing attack or to infect your device with malware.
“Covid fatigue puts our physical and digital health in jeopardy.”
What is the message? Don’t give in to Covid fatigue. Keep up the vigil. Don’t relax. KEEP on with your safety precautions. KEEP hand washing, KEEP wearing your masks in public, and KEEP avoiding the crowds. It is the only SAFE way.
Isn’t that the same warning we get from Scripture, when it pertains to our relationship with the world, and our prospect of life in Christ’s Kingdom? The same danger threatens. Like Covid Fatigue. The more we relax, the more familiar it becomes, the greater the danger. Paul saw the need to warn his brethren:
Galatians 6:7–9 7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
There is the fatigue warning: Don’t get weary in well doing. Don’t get tired of doing what is right. Paul said it again to the Thessalonians:
2 Thessalonians 3:13 13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
In other words, don’t get tired of being good! He said the same to the Corinthians, from the positive point:
1 Corinthians 15:5858Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Let us read it from the New English Bible
1 Corinthians 15:58 58Therefore, my beloved brothers, stand firm and immovable, and work for the Lord always, work without limit, since you know that in the Lord your labour cannot be lost.
“Work without limit” because “your labor in the Lord cannot be lost.” There are no restrictions on our work for the Lord. He says, Do all you can. Why?Because none of your effort will be lost.
58 … since you know that in the Lord your labour cannot be lost.
Paul gave the same warning to the Galatians, whom he saw slipping back. It was a stern warning:
Galatians 3:1 1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
The New Jerusalem Bible is clearer:
Galatians 3:1 1You stupid people in Galatia! After you have had a clear picture of Jesus Christ crucified, right in front of your eyes, who has put a spell on you?
Why did Paul call them stupid? Because they were acting outside reason. They had had a clear conviction of the gospel, of Christ crucified. What did Paul mean by Christ crucified? He was speaking of Christ’s total sacrifice of Himself, the example they had seen. He was not talking about Christ’s death on Calvary but the sacrifice they must share. He said it later in the same letter:
Galatians 5:24–26 24And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Christ made the complete sacrifice of Himself, and so must we. Not literal crucifixion, but crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires. Then Paul says it another way:
25If we live in the Spirit [within the law of God], let us also walk in the Spirit [the same law of God].
Then more advice to keep us on alert:
26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
All signs of weariness, disaffection with the “right” way to live. They had been hindering themselves by listening to those who did not want to listen to Christ, who wanted to keep with the old rituals and the outward codes. A sign of spiritual Covid 19 fatigue. Paul was telling them to keep on with the heart-changing. No conceit, no provoking one another, no envy toward one another.
The tendency to relax is always with us. Something in us says, you don’t have to be so careful.
It reminds us of the experience of Eve with the serpent in the allegory of Genesis. First came the command:
Genesis 3:3 3…of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
But the serpent recommended an easier way, like Covid Fatigue:
Genesis 3:4–5 4Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Wasn’t the serpent recommending DIS-obedience? In other words, the serpent said in its sly tone, you don’t have to be so careful.
The serpent’s reasoning prevailed.
Genesis 3:6 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
It is everyone’s experience. Jeremiah the prophet was getting tired. Like Covid fatigue. He had been God’s representative a long time. He was tired of the persecution, the resistance, even from his family. Tired of keeping at an unpopular task he didn’t want in the first place. Tired of preaching to a people who didn’t want to hear him. He took his complaint to God.
Jeremiah 12:1, 41Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? 4How long will the land mourn, And the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, For the wickedness of those who dwell there, Because they said, “He will not see our final end.”
The Lord had a ready answer for Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 12:55“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?
No time to relax now, said God. Brace up! There are tougher tests ahead.
Isaiah got a similar message. Don’t relax your vigil now.
Isaiah 35:3–4 3Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. 4Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
Jesus’ letters to the seven churches include several of these “keep on” “don’t relax” warnings. To the poor persecuted church at Smyrna:
Revelation 2:10 10Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Hold on, Jesus says. Hold on.
To the church at Thyatira:
Revelation 2:25 25But hold fast what you have till I come.
The times demand vigilance. To the church at Sardis:
Revelation 3:22Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
Still more to the church Philadelphia:
Revelation 3:10–11 10Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
It is same message again and again: hold on, persevere, keep on alert, don’t relax. Don’t give in to Covid Fatigue.
Everything depends on our endurance.
Matthew 24:13 13But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
“The name, of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” That is the Word of God (Rev. 19:13).
Does that keep us from the literal COVID virus? No. But if we’re smart, we’ll follow the rules and have a better chance of not contracting it.
Will it keep us safe from spiritual death? You better believe it! If we stay shut up, totally isolated from the ways of the world, and totally immersed in the Word of God, we will be safe. Listen to the psalmist: “Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually” (PS 119:117). We can’t just sit down and think of what we should be doing, we must be up and keeping God’s commands.
Disobedience will be the hallmark of the day when Christ returns, and two thirds will perish who refuse to listen to the Lord and take action.
May COVID-19 work to our advantage, teaching us to be vigilant in our work of righteousness, until Christ returns. So, don’t be foolish, don’t get tired, stay strong, keep clean, be watchful––and keep at it, it means our ETERNAL LIFE!