The Reality of Spiritual Seasons
Submitted by Clay Sikes
“This is what the Lord says; Stand at the crossroads and LOOK; ask for ancient paths, and WHERE THE GOOD WAY IS, and WALK IN IT, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).
I recently experienced a retrospective revelation of sorts in that in one brief moment I saw various events in my life to include the time leading up to and including the time after certain events occurred in my life. As I began to search out the meaning of this vision, the Lord began to reveal to me an important phenomenon about spiritual reality. This phenomenon, and for me a revelation, was the fact that we are forever experiencing spiritual seasons while on earth and just as with those who farm, we have certain specific duties and responsibilities during each of these seasons. Just as any farmer who could not discern the times (seasons) in the natural, we too are far less able to know “The Good Way” without a spiritual discernment of the seasons (times) we are in.
There is direct linkage between PROPERLY discerning the times and accurately hearing God’s directional voice. A proper discerning of the seasons (times) fosters an accurate interpretation of exactly what “the good way” is.
Just as in the natural, spiritually we experience winter, spring, summer, and fall in virtually every element of our lives; ministry, marriage, spiritual growth, business, finance, relationships, etc. These individual aspects of life will experience seasons similar to what we face each year we live. Winter is a time of uncomfortable ness, a time to get warm and intimate with God, a time to rest physically and to exist on what has been stored from the previous harvest. It is a time of gaining direction for planting, to glean from past mistakes, to repair and prepare for the coming spring. Spring is a time of planting and activity, a time of work and effort to carry out instructions gained in winter, a time of great spiritual and physical energy and a time that great energy is required. It is a time of plowing new and sometimes hard ground and a time to fertilize the soil with prayer. Summer is a time of watering (praying) and weeding (doing warfare over) the freshly planted crop. It is a time in which the crop is in potential danger from the heat of summer, thus the need for much watering. It is also the time we begin to see the first evidence of our planting (First the stalk, then the ear, then the full colonel in the ear.) Fall is the time of harvest; a time where the physical evidence of our hard work during previous seasons has arrived. It is a time of Thanksgiving, a time of refreshing and a time for storing for the winter that is sure to come. Fall is a time of utilizing the harvest, of good stewardship and proper dispersing of what has been harvested.
Without the ability to discern the times (seasons), I have followed false leadings, heard incorrectly, sought harvest in winter, and in many cases, simply “missed God.” As I dove deeper into this revelation, the Lord began to open up the scriptures to me in a wonderful and fascinating way that not only explained the reality of spiritual seasons, but of even greater importance, allowed me to see that with this discernment I was now much more able to hear God correctly and more accurately know His direction for various times (seasons) in my life.
All of us in various ways are standing at some sort of crossroads (see Jeremiah 6:16). It is important to note that crossroads in this scripture refers to or means “place of decision.” We all make decisions everyday that produces the “rest” of God, or as often has been the case in my life, the unrest of God. The “rest” of God produces peace, joy, protection, provision and oneness with God. Unrest produces the opposite; said differently, bad decisions usually produce fleshly or soulish reactions. In recognizing that “the good way” will produce the “rest” which will produce peace, joy, protection, provision and oneness, one day while in prayer I asked God for any advantage that would allow me to better understand “the good way.”
Amazingly, he showed me Matthew 16:1-3, “The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, when evening comes you say, it will be fair weather, for the sky is red, and in the morning, today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, BUT YOU CANNOT INTERPRET THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.”
Jesus is saying that you can discern the signs of the weather in natural things, but you are blind in discerning the season in spiritual things. The Lord then said another amazing thing to me in stating “It is the job, duty, and responsibility of the religious Pharisaical spirit that is prevalent in the Church today, and to some extent in us individually, to blind us to the discernment of spiritual seasons, hence relegating us to the natural realm. The Lord is calling us to discern the times, to judge not from what we see or hear (Isaiah 11:3).
To Understand The Following Question Is A Key To Major Spiritual Advancement
WHY DOES THIS RELIGIOUS SPIRIT FIGHT WITH ALL ITS POWER TO KEEP US IN THE REALM OF NATURAL THINKING? Because there is powerful and accurate direction from God that will produce His “rest” and all of its benefits if we accurately discern the times or seasons we are in. Discerning the times produces the right decisions or “the good way.” When we walk by His Spirit and “lean not unto our own understanding,” we have stepped over and into God’s sphere and the place God desires us to all live in. In this place is His power and destiny flow in our lives. Everything we set our hand to prospers, we bare fruit for our labor, no weapon formed against us can prosper, and the plan of God is fulfilled in our lives.
Just as we would not visit a baseball stadium in midwinter to see a game, neither would we would we pray for a major harvest during a time of planting. If you know the seasons, you know what to do, how to pray, and develop an even keener sense of hearing spiritually. Many preachers and Christian TV personalities have ‘jumped on’ the prosperity message bandwagon, often promising saints great rewards if only they will sow into their “good ground” ministry. This false expectation is often sown into saints who are in various seasons of their lives and often the bottom line is failed expectations, and no fruit except the fruit of disappointment and despair. We all remember being told that our debts would soon be paid as we approached the year of Jubilee. I heard this preached for two years daily from many TV evangelists, but did it happen? Harvest cannot come into our lives corporately or individually until our appointed harvest comes. Many teachings today center around what we can see, unconsciously promoting a gospel of “the seen” or “natural thinking.” To the wise I say, beware!
Listen to the words of Jesus in Luke 12:56-59, “Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? WHY DON’T YOU JUDGE FOR YOURSELVES WHAT IS RIGHT? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
A life-long friend of mine recently learned this very scripture the hard way; she “judged for herself what was right,” and accepted a gospel of “I am to be blessed at all times in my life.” She did not and would not accept that she was simply in winter when certain events happened in her life. Unfortunately, the end result was literally prison, where she is today. Had she and her spiritual mentors discerned the times, she would have avoided the chaos that has ensued. We have truly entered a time of danger if we continue to “judge for ourselves what is right” and do not discern the times or seasons we are in. Good works, good ideas, and good actions that are not originated directly from the Holy Spirit, will cause grave danger in the times we now find ourselves living in. A major key to understanding this is found in understanding that THE SIN OF PRESUMPTION OFTEN HIDES ITSELF IN NOBLE PURPOSES.
David cried out, “We do not see the signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is no one among us who know how long” (Psalm 74:9). It would seem to be just as true today as when it was written – There are so few among us who understand the time we live in, or the days ahead. Jesus lamented that the people of His time built tombs of the prophets and approved of the forefathers killing them off. He stated, “Thus you have taken away the key of knowledge (Luke 11:49-52). Though I do not consider myself a prophet, I do feel that what is written here is prophetic and is a “key of knowledge.”
In the post 9-11 era we now live in, if we do not accurately discern the times it could cost us our lives. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 were a shot fired across our bow. In the past, not knowing “the good way” could simply mean a financial failure, missed blessing, squabble with a spouse, but we now live in a different era, an era with greater consequences. Interestingly, in Strong’s Concordance in the Greek, the word for “a live coal, or coal of fire is ANTHRAX (Strong’s Greek 440/Romans 12:20).
The key to flowing with God despite circumstances in life, is to understand that with God there is an appointed time or due season for everything…We are encouraged in Galatians 6:9 which says, “Let us not be weary in doing good, FOR AT THE PROPER TIME, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” By knowing the seasons we are far more able to “not give up.”
“The Lord answered, who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, My master is taking a long time in coming, and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with blows.”
Jesus is talking here about the POWER that is released when right actions are followed and the blessing of the steward who provides for the household in the proper season, and also the foolish steward who is unaware of the day of his master’s return. Everything hinges on the understanding of, and the correct discernment of the season – because the unjust steward did not discern this time correctly, he did not judge what is right.
The Sons of Issachar understood the times. They knew what Israel ought to do and became part of David’s Army to elevate him to the throne of Israel (I Chronicles 12:32). By reading the entire 12th Chapter of Chronicles you will see that many of Saul’s fighting men discerned the times and knew it was David’s time to be King and consequently left Saul. By not looking to the natural realm, they were able to forsake the palace with Saul for a cave with David. Take note of the fact that many of those who did not discern the times remained with Saul and died. Take note of the fact that even though Jonathan knew it to be David’s time, soul ties to his father cost him his life. Many in the Church today suffer from an inability to differentiate between the emotions of the soul and true Godly spiritual leadings. It is important to know the difference between the cold of a God appointed winter and the trap of emotional bondage.
By now it should be clear that a powerful kingdom force on earth exist in discerning the times. There is a strong and evident relationship between the understanding of the times and the operational force of right works within the season.
How much energy and resources have been wasted by not recognizing the spiritual seasons in our lives. If we are in a time of testing and being refined, it will do little good to demand God to bless us in the natural. If, on the other hand, we recognize the times we are in, it will do great good to pray, “God give me the grace to not only get through this winter in my life, but also let me learn the great spiritual truths that you desire me to have.”
“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times and the strength of your salvation” (Isaiah 33:6). Hear this Saints of God; it is not enough to simply be saved. Wisdom and knowledge are the stabilizing factor in the times we live and in and are “the strength of our salvation.” The knowledge of God and the wisdom of how to apply that knowledge will usher in one success after another. Solomon said, “People without vision perish” (Proverbs 29:18). People without vision are dying on their feet; they don’t really have a spiritual life. Hosea wrote, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” The original language of this scripture says, “people perish” meaning, are cut down, cut off, undone, ended, cease. He gives the reason – “lack of knowledge” which means awareness, insight, and ability to discern.
Without an awareness of the season we are in, our ability to accurately discern is seriously hindered. With this ability, we will step into new spiritual truths and a greater ability to flow in the power of God.
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