What Season Is It?
Good morning from a beautiful, cool, and rainy Antigua, Guatemala! God is so good! After having experienced a rather dry "rainy" season this year, we are finally daily experiencing what would be a normal "rainy" season!! Cool mornings and afternoon / evening showers! I just love it here!
Over the last few weeks, I have been preparing for some upcoming teaching weeks where I will be teaching on Spiritual Warfare and Evangelism. These are both fairly new topics for me to teach, which has led me to using a lot of my time lately to study and get prepared. One of the teachings that God began to show me came from the book of Ephesians where it appears that Paul is demonstrating 3 different positions / seasons of ministry that we will cycle through. This impacted me so much that I decided to teach on it at the base's weekly Worship Service! The feedback from those in attendance was very positive, which has led me to share them with you in this current edition of our ministry news.
Ephesians 2:6 says "“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” Many times when we think of sitting, we think of laziness and not doing anything. However, I believe that though this can be true, that act of being seated is actually demonstrating confidence in Him, while understanding our need to rest. We cannot always be on the forefronts of the battlefield! Even soldiers in the midst of a war do not do this! Rest is important and keeps us sharp and ready for the combat that lies ahead. Rest is also a commandment from God that I believe demonstrates our trust in Him to take care of the things that we daily need to accomplish.
Because we are actually seated with Him, we can also can get a picture of intimacy and relationship with Him! These seasons of sitting / rest are seasons where we deepen our relationship with Him and fall more in love with Him! They are also seasons where we become more impacted by the things that are on His heart and develop vision for the next season that we are getting ready to enter. Without these seasons, we can easily find ourselves getting stuck in a rut, fighting unnecessary battles and not moving forward in life and ministry.
Ephesians 4:1 says “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” Walking seasons are seasons where we begin to advance His kingdom. It is a time to take the things that He placed on our heart in the sitting season and put them into action! These are seasons of evangelism, seasons of prayer walks, seasons of worship walks, seasons of serving others, and seasons of launching new things. James said that faith without works is dead. It is in this moment that we should start walking and putting our faith into action that brings life to our faith. We can only stay seated for so long before it is time to get up and make something happen! God wants us to partner with us in establishing His Kingdom on the earth! There is an interesting story in Exodus 14:13-15 where the Israelites are standing at the Red Sea with Pharaoh at their back. Moses initially tells the people to stand and watch God do something amazing. But God rebukes Moses and commands the Israelites to get up and move forward! It is at this moment when the miracle of the Red Sea begins to take place! Imagine if they had just stayed there and waited. I would imagine that the Bible would be very different today had that been the case. Thank God it did not and because of this story, we can now learn that God wants to work on this earth with us and through us. In other words, He longs for us to rise up out of our seats and walk forward with Him, advancing His Kingdom.
Ephesians 6:13-14 says "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything, to stand" Standing seasons are times when we are to stop walking forward, set up camp, and just hold our ground. This is why the armor is so important in this time! Analyzing each of the peaces (while studying what the armor might have looked like that Paul saw daily on the prison guards, where he wrote this letter), you can quickly see that they are conveniently designed to hold our ground. The shields we uniquely designed in a way that could be interlocked with other shield and create a fortified barrier for the soldiers behind them. The sandals were more like modern day baseball cleats, again designed to help with our footing as we hold our ground. The belt was actually the first piece of armor a soldier would put on and along with the breastplate would protect the most important organs of the body.
The bottom line is that there will reach a point in our advancement of His kingdom that we will need to just stop and set up a fortified camp. The enemy is never going to be happy about losing his ground and at some point will attack back. It is at this moment that we must position ourselves to resist his attack, which is why we must take these seasons of simply standing firm and holding our ground seriously.
In closing, I think it is crucial that we each recognize the season that we are suppose to be in and embrace it. There is no season that is less important than another. I believe that possibly the reason that sometimes it seems like we are stumbling backwards is because we are not honoring the season that God has placed us. Our tendency is always to walk because that is where His kingdom seems the advance, but devaluing the sitting and standing season will only weaken us and make us less effective on the battlefield. At the same time, if we remain stationary all the time we will never advance and might find ourselves getting spiritually fat (sitting too long can do that to us!).
So the big question is, do you know what season you are currently in?