In Nigeria, we like gist – the juicier the story, the better and we have an opinion on everything. We fuel our gist obsession through social media whether it’s tweets, blogs or other e-info sources. And now, we are spending more and more time on social media to stay informed, as we practice social distancing and remain under state-wide and nationwide lockdown to control and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). (Shout-out to all the front-liners for their efforts – God bless, protect and empower you as you continue to fight for us and support those hardest hit)
This should be a good thing, right? But unfortunately, there is a flip side.
In the midst of ‘staying informed’, we are exposed to a lot of fake stories and conspiracy theories. In particular, the fact that we are being held to ransom by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has helped those conspiracy theorists circulate a lot of baseless propaganda on the cause of the virus. The most recent theory is that electromagnetic radiation emitted from 5G antennas is the root cause of Covid-19. For the benefit of those who do not know what 5G means – it is the latest innovation in mobile network technology designed to increase data transmission speeds and enable “smart” living.
5G has now become the scapegoat for Covid-19. China was the earliest country to advocate for and launch 5G. However, the Covid-19 pandemic also started in China. So, conspiracy theorists and online trolls have seized these two facts to create fake facts and spread wrong information.
But people don’t really believe this right? Well you would think so, but in actual fact, the pandemic has caused so much anxiety, panic and fear, that Christians and intelligent people have started to buy into all the misinformation that is being propagated. They’ve become gullible to the point that they are actually helping the conspiracy theorists by circulating the fake content (WhatsApp forwards etc.). In Nigeria, some authorities have even insinuated that the lockdown was put in place to allow for the installation of the 5G infrastructure to enable the coming of the anti-Christ and that the Covid-19 pandemic is the corresponding end times sign – essentially the tribulation before rapture. Globally, the backlash on 5G has reached a crescendo resulting in attacks on telecoms engineers and vandalizing of 5G network equipment.
On the surface, it may seem like these fake stories are just a coordinated effort to protest against 5G. However, when they start to cause irrational responses from Christians, playing on their vulnerability, birthing conflicting messaging in the church, and inducing paralyzing levels of fear and anxiety, it becomes clear that there are other powers at work. Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this world…”
Sounds far-fetched? If you being a Christian, someone chosen specifically by God (John 6:37), is exacerbating fear, then what chance does everybody else have? When you feed your mind with half-truths and doomsday theories, how can you be a light to the world (Matt 5:15), especially during this trying time. People are afraid and very vulnerable right now and God needs you to be the conduit for His light to pierce through their darkness. The enemy knows this and will try to prevent you from having that impact by also keeping you distracted and paralyzed.
Fortunately, our God always has the measure of the enemy and has left a strategy for us in Ephesians 6:13-18 which we can use to navigate all these half-truths without acceding to the schemes of the enemy. This winning strategy is anchored on us wielding all the Armor of God (v13) on a daily basis. He told us to “…Stand firm and put on the Belt of Truth…” (v14). This will help you maintain right thinking. There are three truths you should fill your mind with and propagate during this season.
- First, God protects His people. He did it by marking them so that the angel of death would pass over their homes and “visit” all the Egyptian homes (Exodus 12:13), and He is protecting you today with the seal of the Holy Spirit which you received when you were saved, so that Covid-19 will pass over you too.
- Secondly, only God knows when rapture will happen (1 Thess 5:1-2). No one else knows and no one else ever will. So, stop allowing half-truths derail you from the truth.
- And finally, the World Health Organization(WHO) has stated very clearly, following extensive research, that Covid-19 cannot be spread through radio waves or mobile networks. The virus is purely a respiratory disease. So, BOOM…there you have it…the 5G link to Covid-19 debunked!!!
…and the breastplate of Righteousness (v.14b): Focus on getting right standing with GOD, spending time in His presence when you are most vulnerable (Proverbs 4:7), being conscious of Satan’s ways and guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23) and avoiding those things that we know can cause us to err (Matthew 5:30) – this could be in the form of ‘sanitizing’ our social media contacts for example. Doing this will starve all those powers and principalities of the ability to attack your hearts and minds successfully.
…for shoes, strap on the Gospel of Peace (v.15): We’ve been called to know HIM and make HIM known and he has equipped us to do this (John 14:27). So wearing the Gospel of Peace as shoes keeps us ready to be the light in people’s darkness by sharing God and the truth no matter how challenging the times and seasons are (John 14:33).
…take up the shield of Faith (v.16): Instead of fuelling your fears with the flaming arrows (fear mongering, misinformation, conspiracy theories) on Covid-19 and 5G, block them by feeding your faith with God’s promises and precepts. Arming yourself with the knowledge that God has amazing plans for you (Jer 29:11) and that no matter the challenge, it will work for your benefit (Rom 8:28; 2 Cor 1:9), choose to do good (Gal 6:9) and maintain an “undeniable knowing” that the current realities cannot stop your growth and progress (Jer 17:7-8).
…wear the helmet of salvation (v17a): Once we accepted Jesus as our Lord and savior, we received salvation and became a new creation. With that came a mandate for us to change the way we think (Rom 12:2) and maintain hope. Doing this, whilst focusing on what God has called us to do (Heb 12:1-2), will enable us to push through all the distractions, despair and discouragement caused by these fake stories and the uncertainty around the end of the pandemic.
…attack with the Sword of the Spirit (v.17b): Don’t just defend against all these harmful stories, fight back with the Word. When you find yourself getting sucked in to propagating “hearsay”, tell the enemy that you are a Psalm 1:1-3 believer and you don’t play like that. If panic starts to creep in and you find yourself thinking of doing something out of character, declare 2 Tim 1:7 over your life.
…pray in the Spirit constantly (v18). Pray intentionally that God will strengthen your inner man (Eph 3:16) so that you can resist the temptation to join the naysayers and fear mongers. When panic tries to set in, tell God about it and He will immediately calm you down (Phil 4:6). Pray consistently for the hearts of fear mongers to change, for those that are infected with Covid-19 to be healed and for the pandemic to come to an end, because your prayers will be the difference (Jam 5:16).
A final thought to leave you with, from Christine Caine – you are alive in this season (Covid-19, 5G etc.), and we know that GOD chooses the times and seasons He places you in which means you were born for this (to do something amazing during and post pandemic). So, let “5G be great” and don’t join in the confusion; because after all is said and done, we are all about making greatness common.
Written by ND Onodugo