It’s so cold …. Trees are chopping themselves into firewood.
It’s so cold … you have to open the fridge to heat the house.
It’s so cold … Lady Liberty put her torch inside her dress.
Last week our weather turned frigidly cold in north Texas. Though it was only 6” of snow, it was out of the norm for North Texas. We were “warned” and “advised” of the coming storm and, yet, for a lot of people, it was unexpected as far as the intensity of it. Some had no power – no heat, no internet…. Some had no water.
How did we manage to keep from freezing? A lot of us managed to make the best of it. We snuggled up by our fireplaces in the dark. We wrapped ourselves in blankets and put on our sweatshirts, warm slippers, hats and mittens. We burned candles and carried our flashlights. We had our room temperature snacks close by. What we should have done before was to prepare. We should have chopped firewood (if you have a fireplace, of course), stocked our shelves with groceries, made sure we had batteries and flashlight and candles and matches.
What about being spiritually cold? How do we keep ourselves from growing SPIRITUALLY cold? We were warned and had advisories this storm was coming. Did we prepare? We are warned and informed in His Word about “storms”, “In the world, you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33). We are warned and, yet, we are surprised when a storm settles in and we become spiritually cold. We didn’t expect it to be this difficult. We didn’t expect this much impact in our lives.
When a storm hits and you’re cold, the air feels dry because of the lack of water vapor. Water vapor is transparent. It’s the most important thing in the atmosphere. It’s constantly moving through the atmosphere. Like vapor, God is invisible but we know He’s there. He is the most important thing in our atmosphere. His Holy Spirit is constantly on the move. Spiritually speaking, cold means lacking passion or zeal, not moving, unaffected or “spiritless”. When life’s storms hit, we feel cold and dry because of our lack of water vapor-or lack of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly moving. He stirs things up trying to get us hot or heated.
Hot means having a high degree of temperature. The second law of thermodynamics says that “heat flows naturally from an object at a higher temperature to an object at a lower temperature and heat doesn’t flow in the opposite direction of its own accord.” Hot is opposed to cold. Spiritually, it is the opposite of cold-it is having passion or zeal and “full of spirit.” God is hot! His Holy Spirit’s “hot” nature flows naturally into us if we open the door when we are cold. He is our kindling wood to get us going and keep us burning. He doesn’t go the opposite direction from us. It’s His choice and He chooses to flow towards us and warms us up to hot.
So, what can we do to stay spiritually hot in a cold world? How do we keep our faith and our zeal to serve Him? How do we keep “hot” and not cold? We prepare. Always be ready for a storm. It takes some work on our part to prepare. We must tend to our fire on a regular basis to keep it going.
First, have a relationship with Him. Don’t just go through the motions of “having religion.” You can have religion without a spiritual relationship without God. The “appearance” of being spiritually warm is having religion. “Religion” is going to church- always “there” when the doors are open; it’s knowing the Bible and memorizing scripture; it’s having a tattoo with scripture on it. Those things are great but where is your core-your heart?? Where is your commitment? Outer appearance is meaningless. “God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Sam. 16:7 Sitting in front of the fireplace keeps us warm but it requires more than that. You must tend to the fire, clean the ashes. Stock up on supplies. When one storm is gone, get ready for the next time.
Know God’s Word and live by it. “All scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed.” Just like the candle and flashlight keep you from getting hurt and showing you the way, you need them in your dark. The Word is your candle to shine the light to guide you and the flashlight is the scripture you can take with you to live by it.
Turn away from others who are spiritually cold – “people who are lovers of self, money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious, gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than God…avoid such people as these.” (2 Tim. 3:2-5) You can stay away from them but don’t hate them. Stay away from them to avoid their influence by continue to pray for them. It’s wise to stay away because the Bible warns us that we, too, can stumble while trying to help them. If you stay out in the cold, you will freeze and fall slowly away. Stay with the spiritually hot people and warm up to go back out and bring others in.
Prayer-cover yourself in the blanket of prayer. Prayer brings warmth and comfort. Your prayer covers you to stay warm when you are out in the spiritual world. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
Watch your step! Be careful you don’t fall into being lukewarm. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:15-16 God would rather have us spiritually cold or hot but never lukewarm.
Though we tried to keep warm from the cold, cold has it’s benefits. If you are never cold, you will never miss the heat. If you don’t have spiritual low valley’s, you will never enjoy the heat on the mountaintop. Enjoy your snowman building and angel making in the snow but choose to get back to the heat. Enjoy your cold but don’t stay there.
Being hot or cold is not an event, it’s a condition. It’s the state you are existing in now. What is the condition of your heart? Are you spiritually hot or cold? What temperature are you heading toward?