Bill Brandstatter

            During this COVID-19 crisis, there are three words that should mean more to us now than they ever did before. These three words should mean a lot to us spiritually as well. Perhaps our understanding during the crisis will help us to see the importance of them in our spiritual life. The three words are: Cleansing, Commitment, and Complying.

            Cleansing is very important during this crisis. How many times have we been reminded to wash our hands for 20 seconds with soap and water? Then, of course, we have also been encouraged to use hand sanitizer as much as possible. Some people even wear gloves. Many store employees in various establishments are among the glove wearers. So, we understand that cleansing can be effective in stopping the spread of the virus. Have we thought about cleansing our souls as well? The Psalmist asks a question about cleansing. The question is given then answered. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Ps. 119:1 NKJV) David saw the need for cleansing. He prayed, “Cleanse me from my secret faults” (Psa. 19:12). If we want our souls to be cleansed from sin, we have to obey the word of God. Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, was told, while he was praying to “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) John wrote to Christians in the first century who had already been baptized. He stated, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9. The first step of any cleansing is to see the need for it. We all have sins from which we need cleansing. Just like we must wash our hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of COVID 19, we must also cleanse ourselves to rid our lives of sin.

            Commitment is very important during this crisis. I need to be committed to keeping myself safe. I may not agree with all the “experts;” but I do need to take precautions. “Social distancing” is a new phrase in our vocabulary. I need to be committed to it while in stores. Wearing a mask has become a new normal for many people. These people are committed to it. Most of us have a “stay at home” order from our governors. We are committed to doing just that, if at all possible. Commitment has come back. It appeared to be lacking in many parts of society. Marriages are not based on commitment like they once were. God’s plan has always been one man and one woman for life. Yet so many marry and divorce in a few short years. Perhaps the renewed emphasis on commitment will help if applied to more marriages. Commitment to God has waned. This has been a problem with God’s people throughout the ages. Jeremiah wrote, “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Ye my people have forgotten Me days without number” (Jer. 2:32 NKJV). We need to use our commitment to staying safe as a springboard to renew our commitment to God and be more faithful to Him. Complying is very important during this crisis. Another word for complying is obeying. The CDC and others are urging compliance with their guidelines. Many don’t want to do so. Some think it violates certain rights. Others just defy the CDC because they don’t think compliance is necessary. Whether we agree or disagree, there are certain aspects of the CDC guidelines and rules that we should take seriously and comply with where possible. We live in an age where defiance is more significant than obedience. Some may holler, “Rules were made to be broken.” The Bible teaches that obedience is a learned behavior. The Bible says Jesus learned obedience in Heb. 5:8. Children are to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1). Obedience for children doesn’t come naturally. They have to be taught to obey. If they learn obedience to parents, they can better and more effectively obey God. When compliance is taught on one level, it can be utilized on another level as well. The writer of Hebrews helps us to understand this point. He wrote; “We have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Heb. 12:9) If we learn compliance now, it will help us to better comply with God’s ways so we can live in heaven eternally. These three words should serve as springboards for our lives. We should see the need to be cleansed. We must have a commitment to do so. Then we must comply with God’s ways in order to accomplish it. -From, “The Messenger,” bulletin of the church of Christ, Marion, IL (May 17, 2020).