I admit, the word “season” is incredibly overused and whenever I use it, I think of a Stuff Christians Like blog post joking about how much Christians love to use this word. But hey, it’s a good word, so I guess that’s why. And I plan to use it excessively in this post…
That’s because it’s important to know what season you’re in. Why is that, Holly? Well I’m glad you asked. 2 main reasons: 1) Different seasons require different behavior. 2) Knowing is half the battle (in the words of GI Joe).
Different Seasons Require Different Behavior
I’m from Colorado, a place where there are actually seasons. (Californians, I can explain the concept of an actual Winter later). When snow falls and ice forms, a person would be crazy to keep wearing shorts and expect to start their car in the morning and drive off right away. Instead, you must adapt by bundling up and leaving the house 10 minutes early to warm up your car, chip ice off the windshield, and shovel snow from underneath your tires.
So it is with life. When Jesus came to earth, some asked him why his disciples were not fasting, as if they were “less than”. Jesus replied, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” He goes on to explain how you can’t put new wine into old wineskins or they will burst, and you’ll lose both the wineskin and the wine.
They were missing the point that God was in front of them, so in a time meant for celebration, they were attempting to mourn because that’s what had always been done. That’s what good religious folk did. They missed it.
The new season may look entirely different from the old one, and if we keep doing the same things and approaching life in the old way, something’s gonna burst. Personal example (that’s only taken me 7 months to get): I am in a relationship with a destination of forever. If I keep living and thinking like I did as a single person without a mindset of prepping for marriage, it will “burst” our relationship. An independent, self-centered, and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants way of thinking is old wine. It’s not going to set us up for the best possible relationship.
Or, if the way you experience the Holy Spirit is through tons of quiet time and prayer, but He’s called you to a season of pouring into people, then you’ll have to adapt and learn how to hear Him, knowing that he’ll give grace to experience him in the new season of busyness. Even if everyone else around you is still in a season of doing things the way you used to.The point is that neither is wrong or right, but a matter of knowing where God is moving right now and how he wants you to respond.
Knowing is Half the Battle
We all want to be effective in ministry, right? Sometimes effective seasons end to make room for more effectiveness. But if we don’t know that, we may stay stagnant, fighting towards progress with old weapons, but never really getting anywhere. It’s time to move on.
A few verses later, Jesus tells his disciples to go to Israel, NOT to the Gentiles or Samaritans. Why? Isn’t everyone supposed to hear the gospel and receive salvation? Of course, but God has his timing and divine order. He wasn’t leaving out the Gentiles, but he had an order in mind to follow for the ideal outcome, and the disciples needed to know it was the time to reach Israel first.
Jesus then tells his disciples that where their message and miracles are not accepted, they should shake the dust off their feet and take their peace with them. Seems unloving and impatient to me. But how quickly would the gospel have spread if, in those early day, they stayed at the home where they had to convince, prove love, be faithful, and wait for them to accept Christ? How would their new faith have handled it? Probably not well. They were to build up those who were hungry and willing, and in turn, it probably built up their own faith in working miracles and telling people about Jesus. They probably stayed excited, not discouraged.
I absolutely believe there are seasons for waiting, being patient and faithful, and pushing through difficulty. In Matthew 10, that wasn’t the season. What if they believed it was? Our usual ways of thinking or religious mindsets might constrain us from what God wants to do if we’re not sensitive to moving with his Spirit.
I just left a ministry I’ve been a part of for 7 years. For the past 3 weeks, I’ve driven by them at the exact time they’re on the street. I look as I drive by to see who’s there and miss it terribly. It is my experience of God saying that, for me, now is not the time for that specific demographic of people. Do I know why? Nope. But it’s his order and plan, and just because now is not the time doesn’t mean it won’t ever be again. If I keep trying to hang onto the old season, I might miss what God wants to do right now. Then, I can’t be effective in either place.
If you’re anything like me, you’re always searching for the right way to live, spread the Gospel, do business, etc. Like there’s one solution that’s perfect and you just have to find it. Yet life is ever-changing and we have to adapt with it. Just like marketing, the economy, social media, technology, what worked yesterday won’t work tomorrow. It’s already outdated and if we’re not in tune with the trends, we will miss out, or even worse, lose significantly.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was, at the start of my day, to ask God what he had for me. I encourage you to live your life in that way. Daily ask God what he has for you, and monthly ask what season it is and how you need to adapt.
That’s when we find that “sweet spot”…the place where God seems to be in everything we do, because we’re being guided by Him in the present, not by the past.