When was the last time you were even mildly uncomfortable for God’s glory?
Do you ever feel like your Christian life is in a continuous cycle?
In some seasons, we’re consistently and eagerly reading the Word, participating in church events, and maintaining an active prayer life. We’re genuinely on fire for the things of the Spirit, growing faster than we can keep up. I think of this as “spring” when everything is in full bloom, beautiful, and alive.
Then there are other seasons when we are still practicing those particular disciplines, but they’re truly disciplines. We’re essentially going through the motions, and while we might be gleaning some fruit from our efforts, it’s just not the same. We’re having to make ourselves do the work. I think of this as “summer” because the burnout is real.
Then our spiritual “winter” rolls around and goodness—it can feel like all is lost. We don’t even try in this season, do we? We’re listless, lifeless, buried under a heap of burdens and responsibilities, trudging through waist-deep snow, looking forward to fresh life and spring, but wondering if it’s ever truly going to come. Will we ever care again? Put forth effort again?
And even more frightening—what does it mean about us until we do?
I think it’s very normal to go through these stages and all part of why the body of Christ is so crucial for our spiritual health and well-being. When I’m in “spring," I can encourage my friend who is stuck in “winter.” Or when I’m in summer and starting to grow weary, she can remind me that the season will pass and fresh enthusiasm will blossom once again.
One Consistent Challenge
Regardless of what season I find myself in, though, one thing often remains consistently lifeless—my desire to witness. Even in the heights of “spring,” when my faith is full and overflowing, pouring like crisp, cool water from a fountain, when my interest is peaked and the Bible feels the most alive, I’m still hesitant to tell my neighbor about Christ. Oh, sure, I might post spiritual tidbits on social media, trusting the ever-changing algorithm to get my daily verse or faith-filled thoughts to the masses, but that’s about it. I surround myself with other Christians and pay no heed to the literal neighbors on my street who might not be destined for an eternity with Christ.
I recently started praying for opportunities to be a witness and let me tell you—that’s one of the scariest prayers I’ve ever prayed. Why? Because God answers it every time.
When you go before the Lord and genuinely beseech Him to bring you opportunities to tell strangers about Him, He’ll provide them, post-haste. When you ask for open doors to be a light and minister at an upcoming event, He’ll fling them wide.
The more I swallow my fear and press into those moments, the more I start to wonder why I don’t do it all the time. It’s always an incredible experience, a blessing to not only the other person but to myself, as well. Yet every time, it feels new and scary and intimidating all over again.
I can assure you, if you’re in a winter season, the quickest way out is to share the Gospel with someone. Nothing ushers the beauty of spring into one’s heart like the name of Jesus. Nothing prevents burnout faster than the joy of sharing your faith with someone in need of hope.
I was speaking with a friend the other day about a new co-worker at their office. This man was brand new to the company, and during a lunch out with several colleagues, he immediately asked if he could pray for the waitress—then he proceeded to do so. This guy had no idea what his fellow co-workers would think of the gesture, and he clearly didn’t care. My friend looked at me and said “Now that’s bold.”
And all I could think in response was a heavily convicted why is that not our normal? Why is that bold, or weird, or unusual? We’re Christians! We’re called to be different—we’re foreigners on this earth.
Trust me, I’m preaching this to the choir and shouting it louder for myself in the back row.
Uncomfortable for God's Glory
But think about it. If we are truly walking with Christ and believe in the eternal destiny of one’s soul, if we believe heaven and hell are both real and tangible and inevitable, why are we not going door to door with our message of hope? Why are we not speaking the Gospel to every waitress, every co-worker, and every Uber driver we meet?
Why are we not living as if we actually believe what we say we believe?
Instead, we’ve gotten really good at meal train casseroles and pew-warming and even “out-reaches” where water is distributed in a park on a hot day, but the words of the Gospel never actually leave our lips.
When was the last time you were even mildly uncomfortable for God’s glory?
One of my favorite and most convicting quotes from Charles Spurgeon is: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Whether you’re currently experiencing spring, summer, or winter, I challenge you to pray a bold prayer for opportunities. The good news is when those opportunities arrive (as they surely will) we don’t have to wing it. We have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us.
Luke 12:12 (ESV) "And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 (ESV) "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual."
I know, friend, how easy it is to let our sense of “now” crowd out our sense of eternity. It’s so easy to go to church, think on these things for a few hours, and then get swept into a week of good intentions…only to find ourselves back in the pew seven days later, with un-cracked Bibles and vacant prayer closets in our wake.
We can break the cycle by praying bold, courageous prayers—ones we know the Lord is guaranteed to answer!
When we start praying for opportunities to witness to others, the Spirit opens our eyes to see those doors fling wide in so many places. Don’t panic—this doesn’t mean we have to stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign and shout warnings from Revelation (I mean hey, if the Spirit tells you to do that, go for it ::passes a Sharpie::)
More often than not, it’ll start with a simple “How are you today? How can I pray for you?” and have the Holy Spirit take it from there. You can do this with the barista at Starbucks. The woman at the self-checkout next to you in Target. The waitress at your favorite lunch spot or the harried-looking mom in the gas station. The lady on the treadmill next to you at the gym. The college student visiting your church for the first time or the hotel desk clerk checking you in for your stay.
When we start living out our faith in these tangible ways, we recognize the cold winds of winter blow a little less harshly. Our weary hearts begin to thaw. Summer apathy is given the rejuvenating waters of refreshment. Spring buds forth with new hope—a hope overflowing with the joy of the Lord.
Pray for it—I dare you. ::wink::
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Boonyachoat
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.