Faith

How to Survive the Winter Season in Your Life

I have lived in the Chicagoland all my life. I’ve NEVER lived anywhere else. I’ve often desired to live in a warmer climate (especially during the winter).   I’m not a fan of the winter season because sunny days are replaced with gray skies; it’s cold, snowy and messy. Don’t get me started on the people who can’t drive in the snow. As you can see, my reasons for hating winter  go on and on.

However, the main reason why I don’t like the winter season is that everything appears to be dead. The trees don’t have leaves, the animals are not wandering around because they’re hibernating, and worse of all we have to dress like an Eskimo in order to get around. You get the picture.

As much as I hate winter, the one upside is that it provides plenty of time for reflection. Since winter is here in Chicago, I started thinking about the different seasons we go through in life. For example, Springtime is when you make the effort to plant some seeds in your life.

Summer is time to thrive. Summer is when you’re able to benefit from the hard work you did in the Spring. Although Autumn is when things start to wind down, I’m sure you can relate, it still a good season to be in. Spring, Summer, and Autumn don’t leave you completely down and out. There’s still a glimmer of life to be found within each of those seasons. If life only consisted of three seasons, we’d be good to go.

Unfortunately, we have four seasons. Winter, which is the fourth season, is typically one of those seasons that no one likes to talk about. Winter makes us feel a variety of negative feelings.

Needless to say, I’ve had my share of winter seasons both physical and spiritual. If you’re going through a spiritual Winter season right now, here are my tips on how you can survive this season in your life. Get dressed in your armor, which is the word of God.

If you want to survive Winter we must get properly dressed. Just like you would never physically walk around naked during this time of year, you should be just as committed to being fully dressed in your spiritual armor during this time in your life.

We forget that every time we walk out our homes, we’re stepping into a battlefield. Now I’m not trying to be depressing but it’s true. Some days we don’t have to fight as hard as other days, but every day is a battle. Despite this fact, so many of us, myself included, have gotten so comfortable in this world that oftentimes we fail to get properly dressed in our armor.

We must get dressed in God’s Armor in order to survive our spiritual Winter (Eph 6: 10-17). Here is a quick run down what you should wear in order to weather the winter season in your life:

  1. The belt of truth
  •         This belt is going to give you the foundation you need to connect everything in your life together. It connects our worlds (i.e. our spiritual world to our physical world). Getting God’s perspective on a matter is how we put on our belt of truth. We are to accept God’s truth over our feelingS (what we think), over what the crowd says about the matter, etc. If we have the belt of truth on, we will override everything and everybody that does not agree with the word of God.
    1. Breastplate of righteousness
      • It is imperative that we properly put on our breastplate. Our entire life depends on what information we accept into our heart. The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart from the negative elements and people that surround us. In order to have peace in a world filled with sin, we must put on our breastplate of righteousness. This simply means that we are to start with what is true and righteous (God’s word). In other words, align our thinking with these two attributes of Christ and we are ready for any attack Satan sends our way.
    1. The gospel of peace;
      • The gospel is the name of the shoes we are to wear.  Our shoes keep Satan from using our circumstance and problem to knock us down. Our shoes which is named “the gospel of peace” is just that. If we are grounded in God’s Word, this means that we are wearing our shoes and they will give us peace that surpasses all understanding. in the midst of our situation.
    1. Shield of faith
      • Our shield is our protection from Satan’s fiery darts aka circumstances and problems that Satan throws our way. Our shield of faith give us the confidence  to let us know that we can accomplish our goals and win whatever battle Satan sends our way.
  1. Helmet of Salvation
    • Our Helmet protects our mind from negative thoughts. Whether they are whispered words from Satan or information from society. Having our helmet of Salvation on is the only way we can think and protect our thought life from sinful attacks.

Just like being underdressed physically can cause you to freeze to death. Being underdressed spiritually also causes death. In order to endure our spiritual winter season, we must get and stay fully dressed.

Through God’s grace, we have the power to survive it so we can live to see another Summer.

How do you handle greed?

Now, I know that may seem like an odd question especially since we’re getting ready to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday. After all, this is the time of the year that many Americans will gather around the table with their family and friends in order to give thanks for all of the many blessings that they have in their life.

The irony is the VERY next day, referred to by Americans as Black Friday, many people will then go to the malls, fight an insane crowd of people in order to purchase presents for their family and friends that they oftentimes don’t even need, but you do it anyway because it’s a tradition.

This tradition got me thinking about greed. Companies conduct marketing in order to convince consumers to purchase their products or services regardless of whether they actually need them. If you struggle with determining the difference between something you want with something you need, then you’re leaving yourself susceptible to greed.

The definition of greed is a selfish want for something beyond one’s need. We live in a world full of greed. People are constantly striving to achieve more wealth, more power or fame. If you don’t guard your heart, you can easily get swept into this nonsense.

Do the Pieces Fit in Your Puzzle?

DO THE PIECES FIT IN YOUR PUZZLE

 

Honestly, the more I think about my life, the more I think about how it feels like a jigsaw puzzle with an insane amount of pieces. I sometimes visualize God literally dumping all of the puzzle pieces out of the box and onto a table.

If you’re like me, you automatically allow yourself to become overwhelmed by looking at the sheer number of pieces thinking, “There’s no way that I’ll ever be able to finish this puzzle.” Yet, you’re wrong. We all have the ability to solve our puzzles.

Discover the lessons that I have learned that have gotten me closer to seeing the big picture aka my destiny.

How do you adjust to life’s twists and turns?

HOW DO YOU ADJUST TO LIFE'S TWISTS AND TURNS

 

The story of Joseph has ALWAYS been one of my favorites. Mainly because his life was literally filled with twists which you read about in Gen 39.

I’m well aware that I will never endure the same trials that Joseph went through, but the pain and confusion Joseph felt as he went through those trials is something everyone will experience in varying degrees throughout their life.

Are you a risk taker?

ARE YOU A RISK TAKER

I had a situation happen to me yesterday that prompted me to record this episode. I was contacted yesterday by a potential client to see if I would be available to do some voiceover work, but they wanted to know if I would be comfortable with swearing. I thanked them for contacting me, but that I would not be comfortable with using that type of language. I was willing to let this job go because I didn’t want to compromise my beliefs and go against Col 3:8.

I was thoroughly prepared to lose this job, but something else happened instead. The person asked me if I would still be interested in looking at the script and reading the lines that did NOT have swear words in them. I’m glad I did because out of the whole script there were only three lines that I would not read. They hired me and were so pleased with the work that I did for them that they will be using me for another project.

This experience got me thinking about how God tests us in life. You have to be willing to let something go in order to gain something better. The degree to which your willingness to do so lies in how much faith you possess.

I’ll be honest. I’m a bit of a control freak, so needless to say, I’m not a big risk taker. It’s something that I’ve been working very hard to get rid of in my life. I conditioned myself to rely on what I see instead of relying on God. I was focused on the resource and not the Source which is God. Even though I never saw myself as a risk taker, living life purely based on what you see is a gamble.

Looks can be extremely deceiving. You can’t see all the obstacles that lie in your path, but God does. As a Christian, you have to be willing to take risks. Many times the things that God will ask you to do may not make sense. For example:

  • God blessed Abraham with a son. Then asked Abraham to sacrifice his son only to stop Abraham from doing so at the last minute. You can read more about this in Genesis 22.
  • Daniel got thrown into a Lion’s Den. The jealous men he worked with created a law which made it illegal to worship and pray to anyone other than King Darius. They knew Daniel would never worship anyone other than God. Therefore, Daniel was thrown into the Lion’s Den but did not die. God protected him. The next morning, King Darius discovered that Daniel was alive and that God protected him, King Darius had those that thought of this law thrown into the Lion’s Den. However, they did not make it because God was NOT with them.
  • Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego found themselves in a similar situation because they refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzer. King Nebuchadnezzer had them thrown into a furnace. He looked into the furnace and saw 4 people walking in the fire instead of three. The fourth person was the Son of God. King Darius later had the 3 men brought out of the fire and they were unharmed.

The one thing that all of these people had in common is that they were not willing to compromise their beliefs. They were willing to take the risk and obey God. They were literally leaving all the consequences in His hands.

These men could have easily allowed doubt to talk them out of their decision, but they had faith that God would never forsake His children (Heb 13: 5-6). This is something that Christians constantly have to remind themselves of because our world is accurately described in Is 5:20 as good being called bad…bitter for sweet and vice versa.

We can save ourselves the headache of experiencing unnecessary confusion by always taking the risk and betting on God to give us the desires of our heart (Ps 37: 4) provided we put Him first (Matt 6:33).

Thanks so much for listening to today’s podcast.  If you have enjoyed listening to the content as much as I have enjoyed creating the Hustle in Faith podcast, please consider becoming a supporter by donating any amount you feel compelled to give to help offset the cost of producing this show. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. Don’t forget to share this message. You never know who may inspire. See you in the next episode!

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