One of the most challenging things in a believer’s life is recognising when a season of your life is ending, and you are entering into a new season. If you have never considered that we live in different spiritual seasons, just as we live in natural seasons, then read “Make the Season Count.”
In nature, seasons have one purpose: to bring about maturity and fruitfulness. Each season is needed to obtain the full harvest. In our spiritual lives’ seasons are designed with the purpose of greater maturity and fruitfulness in our spiritual lives.
When we realise that one season has ended and the time is ready for you to move into another season, it can be a scary period. It is often a time associated with a mix of emotions, a sense of mourning and apprehension.
But when God takes us through a season change, it is always with the purpose of greater productivity.
With this in mind, I have been fascinated by the following story in Acts 19:8-11
“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannous. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul…”
Paul had come to Ephesus, and as was his practice, he visited the local synagogue where the Holy Spirit baptised 12 believers. Paul spent three months teaching these Jewish believers, and his ministry was successful in Ephesus.
Then this season in Paul’s life came to an end. How did he recognise the end? Scripture tells us that his ministry became less effective as those same believers spoke evil about him – publicly! As a mature believer, Paul recognised that his ministry was less effective and no longer profitable to teach these believers. In fact, if he had stayed on and fought longer and harder, it would not have produced anything of lasting or eternal quality. It may even have got worse.
So Paul left them.
Simple as that! Paul left. Paul perceived with the Holy Spirit’s help that this season of teaching had ended; he withdrew from this battle, broke camp, and relocated to a new territory.
In the same city, he found a new venue in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. My study bible tells me that such halls were used in the morning for teaching philosophy, but then were empty during the hot part of the day (11 am-4 pm). Many people did not work during these hours, so they would come and listen to Paul’s teaching. Paul did this for two years, and as a result, the message of Jesus, which was first made available to twelve, was made available to all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia (modern-day Turkey and surrounds).
- Paul was even more effective in his work during the new season, as God re-positioned him to reach more people, from eight to an area of the globe.
- He only became effective once he left. There are times in our lives when landmark moments happen – where we have to choose to make a break with where we are to move into the new place where God is calling us.
- It must have been a difficult end of the season for Paul. He had spent three months building into the lives of these people, and now they were publicly destroying his reputation and the work he was doing. How sad and burdened he must have felt, how discouraged. As he left, he probably didn’t know where he was going to teach next. Only after Paul left did God open a new door and do extraordinary miracles through Paul’s ministry. Only after he left did the Holy Spirit’s resurrection power start to operate in His life and lead and guide Paul in a new direction.
- God often uses circumstances to show us when a season is ending. Once we recognise that change is happening, we start praying about it and listening to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will show us when to speak and when to be quiet. As we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He gives us the wisdom to know what steps to take. He also gives us discernment in the situation and understanding of what needs to be done and said. He is the One that guides us spiritually through change, so an increased time in God’s presence will be necessary. A time for prayer, where our spiritual eyes and ears have to be open to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He will tell us when to withdraw, break camp and relocate to a new spiritual territory OR when to stay.
- Notice that God had already prepared a new venue for Paul’s work to continue preaching the gospel, but here he would be much more effective. This lecture hall in Tyrannous was located in a prestigious Ephesus area, right in the central section of the city. Anyone willing to listen could hear the message. Paul’s teachings were passed on to others, and so his teaching spread across Asia minor along trade routes. This effectively spread the gospel over a large area in a short period, humanly impossible on his own.
Even though God had closed one door, He had prepared another door for Paul and so ushered in a new season in Paul’s life where his ministry was blessed by the Lord, even more than before. So too, in our lives, the end of one season, though difficult, may usher in a new season of increased fruitfulness that we may never have dreamed. All that is required is that we are 100% in the will of God.
As I have meditated on this story, the Lord has impressed upon me the importance of listening and responding to the Holy Spirit during a period of change.
He is the One who will show me what to say, what action to take and how to transition from where I am to where I am headed. From the Spirit will come discernment, understanding and wisdom. God will speak to me and lead me into the next God-ordained season of my life, and even though it is difficult right now, God will open a new door for me, and the next season of my life will be even more productive than the previous one.
Father, I needed this word today. I feel that I am beginning a new season in my life, and even though it is difficult in the Covid season, I know that You are at work preparing the new season for me. Help me listen to Your voice Holy Spirit, to keep my spiritual eyes and ears open and not stubbornly hold onto the current season. I extend my hand out to You, Lord and ask You to lead me into the future so that I will securely reach the next God-ordained appointment for my life. In Jesus name, Amen.