By Rachel Ashworth

We’ve entered the time of year in the Midwest when you can walk through a grocery store parking lot and see any range of attire from shorts and sandals to parkas and gloves. At your local Walmart, you might find someone wearing a light jacket or flannel flip-flops in the same trip you see a person donning snow boots and a stocking cap.

The temperature warms slightly just before a rain, but when the rain comes, it is icy raindrops that fall.

I heard something profound recently about this. Putting on the Holy Spirit–inviting the Holy Spirit into your body and mind–is like putting on a coat. It does nothing to change the weather but does everything to change your circumstance.

We all need a practical reminder from time to time about how to stay steadfast in this uneven world. We all need tips at times to remember how to stay warm with the love of Christ when the cold, cruel world threatens our comfort and joy.

START THE MORNING WITH GOD We can likely all agree that all devotionals are not equal. A short reading in the morning is better than nothing, but it may be that you warm next to a fire only to run into the cold with no coat on later.

Instead of a short devotional that makes you feel warm and connected with God for a short time, look for opportunities to spend time with God, inviting Him into your heart and your life, and then take Him with you throughout the whole day.

This may look like spending time with the family in prayer and fellowship together. It may look like private prayer, Bible meditation, and communing with others in prayer. Whatever you do, make sure it prepares you for the day.

If you have been doing devotionals every morning, yet don’t feel it makes a lasting difference in your daily life, look for a different type of devotional to help your relationship with God grow. 

TAKE GOD WITH YOU Just as you would ideally remember to take your coat with you when you step out of your front door into the cold, take God with you throughout your day.

You may not want to carry your Bible or your devotional book with you, but there are certainly ways to carry the message in your heart as you go.

  • Journal on your phone
  • Download a devotion, Bible, or prayer app to your phone
  • Listen to Christian music in your car or workplace
  • Talk to others about what you have read or learned
  • Keep a gratitude list or list of answered prayers

REMEMBER TO PRAY Take every opportunity to pray.

The best way to start a new habit is to stack it with something else.

  • If you have a habit of opening your phone too often, put a prayer reminder on your lock screen so you can start a habit of praying when you open your phone.
  • If you have a habit of small talk while you wait for your work lunch to heat up, take a moment to pray for your coworkers.
  • If you have a habit of muttering under your breath when you hit a red light on your commute, whisper a prayer for the people in the cars around you instead.

Think of the habits you fall into every single day and consider how you might adjust them slightly to remember to pray.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE When the weather is particularly cold, we can forget we have a coat at all! When things are particularly tough, we can forget we have a particular hope in Jesus Christ. When we feel down-in-the-dumps, we tend to forget we are children of the Almighty King.

Like the prodigal son, we spin our wheels in the mud pits with the pigs, thinking ourselves a slave when we’re actually sons and daughters.

So, when the weather is tough, remember who you are. You are redeemed. You are chosen. You are an heir with Christ. You are salt and light. You are part of the body of Christ. You are His bride. You are His beloved creation.

What can you do each day to remember this reality in the face of the lies of the devil?

Start a conversation with your church family today about the importance of wearing our coats–our armor, our spiritual gifts. Let’s talk about it on Facebook too. Let’s stay warm in this cold, cruel world.

–Rachel Ashworth comes from Missouri and usually writes about family at home, family at church.  Reprinted by permission from OUTLOOK blogs, November 22, 2022. Photo supplied.