There has been one definite benefit I have gained from all the enforced mask wearing – I haven’t caught even a single mild case of cold since wearing these awful and dreadful face masks since last year.
I am especially vulnerable to chest infections for some reason, and when I do get one it usually lasts for at least two months. For two months, I will get annoying little coughs that will linger and linger on for a very long time.
Prevention is the best medicine.
Since I have suffered so much from my respiratory infections and the lingering impacts it has on my life for such a long time in the past, I am all about prevention instead of Panadols and antibiotics. For me, its not the actual infection or immediate pain that annoys me, but the lingering effect of the illness that annoys me the most.
We must apply the same principle in our spiritual life. The best medicine for our spiritual health is also prevention rather than treatment.
Wear your spiritual face mask, though it may be uncomfortable.
Yes, masks can be stuffy and suffocating, but they will also protect you against harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause you harm and leave you at a state of misery. The face mask, though restricting, is a strong guard for your respiratory system.
We are taught in the Bible to put on a ‘spiritual armour’. For a contemporary relevant application, I would like to suggest that we ought to put on a spiritual face mask to “guard our heart above all else, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 23).
You must put on a spiritual face mask and censor out what goes into our soul. You should not expose yourself to YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, the internet, movies, and to music in a nonchalant and careless manner.
I am not necessarily advocating for fundamentalism, where we are to completely stay abstinent to these ‘worldly’ things. However, we still ought to have our guards up and defend ourselves appropriately so that we are never over-exposed to potential spiritual toxins and viruses that may cause us serious illness and long-term side effects.
You may be cured, but with detrimental side effects.
I know an acquaintance who has been quite loose with his face mask, and eventually caught the corona virus. He went under intensive care and recovered after three weeks of suffering miserably.
However, he noticed that even after being fully cured, he was still suffering from lingering Covid-19 symptoms such as: chest pain, memory and concentration problems, loss of smell and taste and so on.
The same thing can happen to us spiritually. We may expose ourselves unchecked to the worldly things that drift our hearts away from God and lure us to desire the things of the world instead of heavenly things above, and eventually we might sin before the Lord.
Even if we are “cured” by God as we repent before him in dust and ashes, we may still suffer from undesired long-term side effects, a prominent one being a seared and hardened conscience.
Satan may try to fool us by saying “It’s all okay, as long as you repent. God will fully heal you”. Christ does fully forgive us and this is in a way partially true, but we must remember that our conscience gets seared and hardened, so that when we are tempted again in the future, we will give into sin much more easily as we are spiritually dulled as a side effect from our previous sins.
It takes time for that seared conscience to be renewed and to be softened again, and the undesirable side effects of it will remain with you for a considerable time.
Prevention is the best medicine indeed.
It can be uncomfortable, but it’s still smarter to wear it.
Guarding your heart with a spiritual mask means that you are being watchful and are purposefully censoring what goes into your soul. This can be uncomfortable and annoying at times.
Sometimes you might feel like just watching whatever just pops up in your YouTube or Instagram feed, or freely just enjoy the movies and the music that the world enjoys without any guilt. However, that is a natural cost that comes with guarding your heart. You cannot simply enjoy everything that the world has to offer, and not expect to get any spiritual sickness as a consequence.
It is darn uncomfortable but you must wear your mask until this whole Covid-19 pandemic is all over. Likewise, though it is darn uncomfortable, you must wear your spiritual mask until you get to heaven, a place where we will no longer be required to censor anything because anything and everything around us will simply be of pure goodness and holiness.
Richard Kwon is from Auckland, a regular lay person who just loves the Lord.