So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy....
-1 Peter 1:13-16
The first frosts are finally coming in during these weeks. Have you noticed? In my twenties, I never really thought much about preparing for the cold season. I wasn’t particularly drawn to advance planning. Living in the moment was more valuable than the cost of time and energy of cleaning up things and considering the season ahead. I thought nothing of leaving the garden hoses outside and connected during the winter freezes and thaws. Inevitably, when spring came, the seal on the nozzle would be cracked and leaking. That wasn’t a very big deal. I could get a new hose and nozzle at Home Depot for less than twenty dollars. But there were more costly oversights as well. A grill left without a cover in the snow and ice would be rusted out when it came to summer grilling. That replacement would cost hundreds! And not closing up or sealing attic and window cracks would mean that we had to deal with freezing drafts and exorbitant heating bills.
I don’t know when it was (probably early thirties?), but I finally began to understand that the time and cost to repair and replace damaged items in my house was much more than physical and mental cost of preparing for the winter. Now my wife and I do a fairly good job of thinking about these things ahead of time. Buckets go over the fragile plants at first frost. Hoses get stored away and water lines get emptied. Patio chairs get stacked. It takes a little intentionality and planning. But we’re fairly ready when the harsh weather hits.
The winter can do a lot of damage if you’re not ready for it.
Winter isn’t just coming. It’s here. We’ve been in it for a while. And another storm is about to hit us hard. It’s only a few days away, but there’s still time to plan.
Is your spirit ready for the week ahead? Our country will once again be in a new surge of uproar. Anger will surface. Gloating will pass across your screens and through your ears. Accusations will be thrown, and people define what is true only in ways that are most convenient to them.
Regardless of your personal hopes for this election, the great divide will intensify and remain across our country in the aftermath. My question to you now is not one of candidate choice. I sincerely hope you honestly and ethically make decisions that reflect care and concern for all people as best you can. But the question I’m asking today is if you're prepared to weather this week as a Christ-follower. We don’t have much time left to get ready.
The Apostle Peter guides the early church toward wisdom for coming storms by reminding his fellow disciples of several things:
-They need to think ahead about how they want to behave as they encounter challenge.
-They need to exercise self-control, even when it’s hard.
-They need to keep their hope rooted in the kingdom of Christ that will one day come in fullness.
-They need to resist the urge to respond to situations using old habits that look nothing like Jesus.
And because they know Jesus, they know what God is like… so there is no excuse for not reflecting God’s character in attitude and action. We are God’s kids.
Sisters and brothers, let’s pray for God to give us grace and hope walking into this week. Our words and attitudes matter so much to those looking on. It’s time for us to clearly be a countercultural example, by using the coming days to act in ways that reflect God’s value of every life and God’s heart for justice, truth, humility, and enemy love.
This election will affect real lives. But we are followers of Jesus today, tomorrow, next week and beyond. This is our identity, this is our calling, and this will not change.
What’s the winterizing that you need to do to make your faith election-proof? What actions do you need to take to keep you compassionate? What do you need to turn off? Who do you need to show love to? Where do you need to keep a reign on your heart, your tongue, or your fingers?
Let me encourage you to prioritize some time this week to prepare. Do whatever is necessary to walk through next week not as others will, but clothed with love and compassion, as God’s beloved children.
Jesus, this is all exhausting and hard. Be my hope and my example today.