Baby it cold out there!
Our Ground Hogs Day blizzard is over and now I have to leave the house; my cozy, comfortable, warm house. This will require getting dressed in something more than the leggings and sweatshirts that have become a natural part of my home-bound life. Dressing to impress is not the issue I am dealing with, I would actually love to dress this way all the time.
The weather is the real reason I need to consider what I wear.
Having lived my whole life in this cold climate I learned at a very young age the importance of dressing to stay warm. The temperature often gets well below zero with wind-chills even lower; being outside can become quite dangerous without the proper attire. Back when I was a young mom, my sports crazy children would need to get outside so they didn’t destroy the house with a kick or a throw. I had to pass on to them the skills, as my parents had for me, of how to dress appropriately to stay safe and warm.
Our closets are filled with coats, hats, mittens and scarves all in various weights and thicknesses. As I check the daily temperature I have to decide what I should put on before I head out the door. My favorite coat is actually not very thick; I chose it based more on the color and style than the warmth. Thankfully, I can get by wearing it because of one of the most important strategies I have for living in this cold state.
The key to cold weather dressing is layering.
According to “A Mans Guide to Cold Weather Dressing” layering basically means wearing multiple layers of garments, one on top of the next. It has been found that wearing several lighter layers will keep you warmer than one very thick one. Each of those layers has a key attribute necessary to keep a person safe and warm.
While these layers will keep the flesh part of me warm as I venture out in the cold, I have found a similar strategy when it comes to keeping the spiritual side of me protected during the cold harsh realities of life.
Layering is also the key to the dealing with the winter seasons of the soul.
As I looked at the “Man’s Guide” I saw that there are basically three layers necessary for ultimate heat retention. Likewise, in “God’s Guide” which is the Bible, I have learned of the parallel layers that should be “put on” in order to keep my heart from turning cold.
First, I make sure I put on a base layer.
In clothing terms this layer lies against my skin and is primarily meant to deal with moisture removal. Staying warm will mean I need to be active and that will occasionally lead to sweating, and sweating is bad because water on the skin in cold weather can turn deadly.
Spiritually speaking there is also something that primarily needs to be dealt with in my life; sin removal. Although I was saved by accepting the free gift of God found only in Jesus Christ when I was 9 (Romans 6:23), I still have a flesh that desires what is contrary to the Spirit (Galatians 5:17).
The spiritual base layer is called confession.
Just as my activity out in winter weather causes me to sweat leading to deadly moisture, my daily activity in this life will occasionally lead to sinning and sinning is bad because, if not dealt with, it will turn deadly to my relationship with Jesus. Wearing the layer of confession, with dependence on the faithfulness of God’s forgiveness, wicks away the dangerous moisture of my sin as far as the east if from the west (Psalm 103:12).
Secondly, I must put on the insulating layer.
In terms of clothing, the job of this layer is to trap in heat. My body naturally gives off heat and I want to use that to my benefit by keeping as much of it as possible to aid in staying warm out in the elements.
In my spiritual life the layer of insulation is prayer.
My soul, filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, will super-naturally produce the heat of a passionate heart for Jesus and I want to keep as much of that passion as possible to use for both my and others benefit. As I put on the layer of prayer, His very manifest presence feeds that fire during our communication and keeps my heart from turning cold. Time spent praying gives me opportunity, just as it did for the disciples that walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, to have my heart set ablaze while I walk and talk with Him.
Finally, there is the important outer protective layer.
This layer is the shell that keeps all the inner layers protected from the elements. The most important consideration for a protective layer is that it traps air and stops wind.
My layer of protection spiritually is the Armor of God.
The main element of this world that we contend with is an enemy that seeks to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He uses a strong winds of lies and an air of circumstances that feels so cold it can take our breath away. Jesus came to destroy these works and gives us armor to protect all the layers of our lives from the harsh conditions the devil blows at us.
As I put on the belt of truth, shield of faith, sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, and each of the other God-given pieces of protection I can survive even the worst of the seasons of life.
Baby, it’s cold out there!
Are you wearing the layers you need to keep you safe and warm both physically and spiritually?