Seasons are times, and places and circumstances where our faith is tested, where we are pruned, where the fruit of the Spirit is developed and we mature as Christians. That is, seasons are a tool our Lord employs to establish, strengthen, refine and sharpen our faith in Him. He is teaching us about obedience and faithfulness, commitment and endurance. After all, we are running a race of endurance and not speed where we are trained to build our spiritual muscles: faith, hope and love (which the Bible communicates will remain), and we are prepared for things to come. (Jas. 1:2-4, 1 Corin.13:13).
When I explored the meaning of the word “remain” in the Oxford dictionary, it was interpreted as “to endure, abide, persist, stand, prevail, and tarry (to wait, linger in expectation).” I was floored by the definition of the word “remain”. In the various English biblical translations we are frequently exhorted to endure, abide, persist, stand, prevail, and tarry (to wait, linger in expectation) on God’s Word (faith, hope and love). And the seeds of faith, hope and love can only be activated by the Holy Spirit.
Discerning and maneuvering seasons (in faith, hope and love), requires focus and commitment, sacrifice, discipline and practice, adjustment of our timetables and schedules to His will, and our submission to the tools, means and methods (that is, people, things, instruments, conditions, environments, and places), He uses and our obedience to Him. And all of these are our voluntary offerings to Him, which is an expression of our love for Him. (1 Corin.9:24-27).
Understanding His seasons and the seasons we are in helps us manage and alleviate discouragement and disappointments, frustration and delays. It will prevent confusion and running around aimlessly. We will endure trials and temptations and overcome. (Eph. 5:15-17). When we understand the season we are in, we are enabled to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and engage with Him, involving Him in our lives. (Phil. 2:13). And His involvement in our lives does not infringe on our free will.
Seasons can last for years, months, weeks or days, and these seasons are repeated throughout our lifetime. For example, for a period of 7 years, I have been in a season of winter. Winter is a period of waiting, preparation, training, discipline, desperation, weakness, separation, removal and death to our carnal way of thinking, speech, attitude, conduct and lifestyles.
During the month of November 2016, I went through a period of sifting. In December 2016, for 2 weeks I had been guided to repentance and thereafter, separation and warfare. The Bible provides numerous examples of the various seasons we will experience throughout our lifetime. For example, our Lord had permitted Peter to be sifted, and after Peter had expressed his repentance, He reinstated Peter and gave him His commission. (Luke 22:31-32, John 21:15-19). Similarly, our Lord’s purpose was to expose my sin (pride), deliver me from it, transform my mind and actions by His Word and Spirit, and strengthen my faith in Him. And His mercy and grace was glorified.
The Bible also speaks about times of refreshing and restoration, restitution and fulfillment, tearing down and repairing, destroying and rebuilding, planting and harvesting, and on the list goes. (Acts 3:19, 21; Eph. 1:10, Eccl. 3:1-8). So, if we are to connect with and understand God’s times and season in our lives, which are also related to the seasons of the believers around us, we need the power of revelation and discernment from the Holy Spirit. Discernment can only develop and grow via persistently training ourselves in and practicing His Word (which is our practical submission and obedience to Him). As a result of our submission and obedience to Him, He will equip us to distinguish what is from Him and not from Him, what He wills us to do and not to do during His seasons; and possess His promises to us in His appointed time. (Heb. 5:14).
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1