The difference the Holy Spirit makes in quarantine
I know someone who simply does not do social distancing. They have consistently refused to stay two meters away from me, and have even come with me into my home and refused to leave. They will not allow me to be on my own, no matter how hard I try.
And for all of this, I am overwhelmingly grateful – the Holy Spirit does not do social distancing. And this is wonderful news for us all right now.
1. If we have the Spirit, we are not alone.
If we are trusting in Jesus (however imperfectly!) then we have been given the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, who is just as much God and just as much a person as the Father or the Son, has been given to you and is in you. This means that whatever your current living situation right now, you are not alone. He is your constant companion, your ‘ever present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1), He hears your every cry and is attentive to your every need. Take a moment to be still and know that He is with you.
‘Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.’
– Psalm 139:7-8
2. If we have the Spirit, we have not been separated from each other.
Right now, we are physically apart from our brothers and sisters in Christ and that hurts. But though apart, we remain one – not through our efforts to reach out, or by Zoom or Facebook – but by the Spirit.
‘For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.’ – 1 Corinthians 12:13
The same Spirit that is in you is in us all and so we remain, spiritually, one. And no matter how long this time of lockdown may go on for, this unity cannot be broken.
3. If we have the Spirit, we have eternal, invincible life.
‘I will put my Spirit in you and you will live’ – Ezekiel 37:14
The Old Testament is full of the promise that the Spirit will give new life to dead hearts. And when we get to the New Testament, we find that this promised new life is the very life of Jesus Himself.
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ – Galatians 2:20.
Those who trust in Jesus are, through the Spirit, united to Him in such a way that His death and resurrection life become theirs.
And what this means is that we cannot die. Our bodies can and will but our hearts, souls, our spirits cannot because if Jesus’ death is ours then we already have! And the life that is ours now is Jesus’ resurrection life – eternal and invincible, virus-proof, death-proof.
Therefore, not only does death need not hold fear for us, but we also have a hope we can offer our unbelieving friends. For many, this pandemic will have exposed the fragility of the foundation on which they have been building their lives. And as one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread, we have a wonderful opportunity to point them to where true life can be found.
4. If we have the Spirit, every day can still be spent chasing our greatest purpose and joy.
Covid-19 has put many of the goals and ambitions we were working hard to achieve out of reach – and it’s right to feel a certain sadness about that. But, as we process this, we can still know a great and driving purpose each day:
To honour Jesus by becoming more like Him, as we gaze on His glory in His word and find Him to be the answer to our longings for true satisfaction and joy.
‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ – 2 Corinthians 3:18
It is the Spirit’s delight to work this in us. Lockdown or not, wherever we are and whatever the make-up of our days, we can be opening our Bibles and praying for the Spirit to show us Jesus. We can be drinking deeply of His glory and praying for the Spirit to change us to be more like Him, and then we can live that out in sacrificial love in word and deed. This is the greatest adventure of our lives, and it continues today!
This blog was written by Toby Ling, a former CU Staff Worker in the South West who now works for a mental health charity in Exeter.