My all-time favorite writer is C.S. Lewis. He wrote: “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be . . . It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
I love this insight because it directly opposes the thought that God expects His followers to be “perfect” robot-like clones. Lewis points us to the fact that God is actually the inventor of individuality. He created each of us with unique personalities and gifts meant to be used to further His kingdom.
Nice thought, but why does our individuality matter? What does God get out of it? In his book “You the Leader,” Pastor Phil Pringle highlights that all through the Bible and human history, God has used individuals to impart His godly vision throughout the world in order to create positive change. He referenced Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery and John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, stating, "When we follow great leaders, their vision becomes ours. We start to see what they see, and we begin to own a vision larger than ourselves." Pringle reminds us every great leader must first go through a period of trial.
The entire world is facing an intense trial right now as we try to mitigate the potential harm from an extremely contagious and invisible virus. We now have a heightened awareness of the power of unseen dangers – and my prayer is that this revelation will help people have a better understanding of another invisible enemy – one that has been attacking us much longer than the coronavirus.
I’m referring to a spiritual enemy God has warned humans about since the beginning of time. The Apostle Paul said of this adversary: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Paul was trying to explain we should not view people as our enemies, but instead recognize it is in fact a spiritual force of evil who creates disharmony and struggle between us. How does this happen? How does the evil one get a foothold in our lives?
There are honestly countless tactics the enemy uses against us – but I believe one of the most successful methods is creating a spiritual “desert” in our hearts. This happens when we believe things like, “Living by God’s standard is outdated and impossible” or “God is too busy to worry about my problems.”
It’s a sad reality that many people don’t even attempt to have a relationship with God because it seems too daunting. Far too often, people give up before they’ve even really begun their spiritual journeys, and they pretend God doesn’t exist – because that seems easier than answering to someone who they believe is constantly judging them.
But the truth is, those feelings about God are actually lies spoken to us by our spiritual enemy who ruthlessly attempts to skew our vision of God’s loving nature.
Though this can feel discouraging, it’s important to remember God is constantly on a mission to correct people’s misconceptions about Him. Over the past month, I’ve heard many pastors say they believe God is specifically using this unique time in history to create a revival in the church by softening people’s hearts. I agree with them.
Too many people are trapped in spiritual deserts; some believers even slip into this gray area of disbelief and loss of connection with Jesus. But I am confident although God didn’t cause this virus, He is using it to pour His living water into the hearts of countless individuals, creating streams in their spiritual deserts.
And by doing this, God transforms these individuals into spiritual “springs” so to speak. Because when we accept Jesus for who He truly is, we are filled with His all-consuming and powerful love, and this love inevitably flows out from us to others from Jesus – the source.
By sprouting up new “springs,” God is creating more opportunities for others to come into contact with His living water of love and salvation. So you see, each individual person matters in God’s grand plan. And though we are all experiencing the same global crisis, I believe God is bringing unique revelations to every single human heart, leading them to a higher calling.
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).