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It is amazing how one virus can change the entire world.

When I first heard about the coronavirus I was not concerned. It seems that every few years a new illness comes out on the world stage only to fade away from our memories after the scare is gone.

I believe this one is different.

The entire world has been or will be affected by this fast-spreading virus that has almost shut down countries. In our country, schools have been closed, business hours reduced, restaurant accommodations rearranged, and grocery stores being sold out of certain items that have nothing to do with dealing with the symptoms of this virus.

As I watch this unfold I am reminded of what my son Paul would say while he was a teenager and he would be trying to explain something to me that he was involved in. He would always end the story with the words, “Wild times Dad, wild times!”

Yes, we are living in “wild” times.

Rest assured that these times will pass, but we need to be smart and careful with our actions as we go through these times together.

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” I have heard part of this verse quoted countless times by people who talk about these, “wild times.”

Generally, it is in reference to the guidelines that have been given to us on how to conduct ourselves during this crisis. They feel they have some special protection from God so they don’t have to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, nor should you stay away from large crowds.

I have been given the impression that if you follow the rules, then you are living in fear, and are not a good or a deeply spiritual Christian. However, they don’t quote the rest of the verse, “and of love and of a sound mind.”

What does, “sound mind” mean to you? Let me explain what it means to me. When I was a senior in high school I became a follower of Jesus Christ, and I felt a “calling” to be a minister. I applied and was accepted into Gardner-Webb College to prepare myself for my calling.

I was a young believer with tremendous conviction about my calling to be a pastor. I was so sure that God was with me, I really didn’t study because I thought God would give me the answers to the tests because he had called me out to proclaim his word. I wasn’t scared about failing, I knew God was going to provide for me. I can sum up the short period with two words, “Academic Probation.”

I learned that just because I was called to a task didn’t mean I didn’t have to prepare for it, I had to do my part. I developed a “sound mind.” Today, more than ever, believers need a “sound mind” when it comes to being a positive presence for God in this world. There is no need to panic, or live in fear of what we don’t know about something.

For the Christian, it is who we know that brings us peace, love, and a sound mind. Be sure to pray for our world and our leaders. It is my prayer that through this challenging time people will turn to Christ, and what it means to be a true follower of the son of God. Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it. And be sure to wash your hands.

Vince Hefner is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Cherryville.

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