How to Redeem the Quarantine Time & Grow in Godliness
These are days full of uncertainty, confusion, and extra time to dwell on the things we can’t understand. I pray we will redeem this extra time in ways that help us create habits of godliness, encourage others with the Gospel, and glorify Christ Jesus. But, how can we redeem the quarantine and not just “make it through”?
What does that look like in our daily lives of quarantine and social distancing?
COVID-19 has turned our daily schedules upside down. Major areas of life were stripped away, adjusted, or combined in ways we never expected. Moms and dads are working from home for days on end. Family schedules no longer include school, sports, church, or social events. The elderly in our communities have hunkered down for the long haul. This adjustment to our American life is almost unprecedented.
This is the first time Coronavirus has affected the world, but it’s not the first time the world has faced calamity, uncertainty, fear, and danger. And, we can be certain that our Lord is still on His throne.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15–16)
Can we really redeem this quarantine time?
No human organization or invention will be able to give us the eternal wisdom to process our internal anxiety. So, let’s look to eternal truths that are unchanging. We need ballast and direction for tackling the waves that seem to keep crashing in. The structure of lives is often dictated by external situations we can’t control. But, we must frame our response through a biblical perspective.
Here are several ways to redeem your quarantine time. Learn to grow in godliness, encourage others with the Gospel and glorify Jesus. Start some of these habits now, so that you can easily continue them after we return to our offices, schools, church buildings, and sports fields.
Here are a few big-picture reminders to guide our conversation:
- Pray for godliness.
- Read the Bible for wisdom.
- Act with love for Jesus (and others).
- Rest in God’s grace.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)
1. Pray continually.
Time spent on our knees in prayer is one of the most valuable ways you can spend any extra time you have. God responds to our prayers. And, He changes our hearts to bring them more in line with His will. Redeem the quarantine time by listening to your Creator.
2. Journal your thoughts and prayers.
Start a daily journal of your thoughts and prayers, even if you set a simple goal of writing one sentence each day. Writing will help you process and respond faithfully to the big questions and everyday struggles.
Here are few prompts to get you started today:
- What are you thankful for?
- What did you learn today?
- What is the most important thing for tomorrow?
- What did you read in the Bible this morning?
- What friends or family members need prayer today?
- What can you be praying for regarding your community?
- What are you most fearful of today?
- What aspect of God’s character are you most thankful for right now?
- What was the most eternally valuable conversation you had today?
3. Read your Bible
Read the Word of God—every day. Sit down, open it up, and get started. The Bible is authoritative, applicable for all times, and effective for fulfilling God’s purpose in our hearts and daily lives. It is our guide to redeem the time of every day—especially these times of social distancing.
If you don’t know where to start, open up Psalms and read one chapter each day (you’ll be reading ten in a sitting very soon). Or, dig into the New Testament letters like James, Ephesians, Philippians, or Galatians. The average person can read these shorter letters in 15-30 minutes. If you’re new to the Bible, then read through Mark or John in one day. Reading Scripture in large chunks will help you see connections you’ve never recognized before!
4. Memorize Scripture.
Memorize and meditate on the Bible. Pull out a notecard and jot down one of your favorite passages to memorize each week. You’ll find it only takes a few days if you’re diligent to meditate on it throughout the day.
Here are some great phone apps for Bible memorization if that’s your thing.
5. Fast and spend that time in prayer.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that we often overlook in America. It’s one of those disciplined actions that bring more clarity to your prayer and Bible reading. Pick a meal or day, and spend that time in prayer for yourself, your family, or your community. Focus on a point of specific prayer, and place it before the Lord to trust Him with it.
Don’t forget to keep your body moving! Gyms and baseball fields are closed, but push-ups and body squats are always available. Set a goal of __ lunges or jumping jacks each day. God blessed us with bodies made to work, so don’t let yourself stay stagnant. Physical discipline is valuable for those wanting to redeem their quarantine time. You might be stuck in your homes, but make sure you don’t quarantine yourself to the couch.
7. Read a book.
God wants us to stretch our minds, so pull out a book that’s on your shelf collecting dust and crack it open. I’ve got 20+ books at home that I’ve yet to read, and I’m sure you do as well. Read a commentary, biography, or fiction story. If you want some ideas, download this list of Snowbird’s favorite books.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
8. Learn something new.
Online learning has existed for decades. But more free learning opportunities are now available because of the quarantine. We recommend checking out the free ministry, Bible, and theology courses at SEBTS.
Learn a new language using DuoLingo. Or, watch tutorial videos on your new hobby of photography, art, or carpentry. Redeem the quarantine time by stretching your mind in healthy ways.
“May God give us an unquenchable desire for the knowledge that leads us to love Him more and that makes us more like Jesus.” – Donald S. Whitney
Godliness is your goal.
Whatever you do, always consider how you’re using your personal time to grow in godliness.
Don’t spend hours endlessly scrolling Facebook to catch the latest fake news on the Coronavirus. Run to Jesus and His character. Spend your hours and days remembering the goodness of God and His love for you. Don’t simply run away from fear by pursuing the next distracting thing—run to Jesus.
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:6–10)
John Ragon is Snowbird’s website manager. He lives in Western NC with his wife and six amazing kids, and began serving at Snowbird in 2009 after graduating from Union University.
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