I love Michigan summers. They’re beautiful—stunning actually. So amazing are its lakes, rivers, lush forests, and coast lines. A wonderful thing during a summer Michigan morning is having a cup of coffee by the campfire after a night sleeping under the stars—or in camper with a soft bed.
Whenever I travel across the country with my job, I tell people that Michigan hosts a World-Class summer. It’s full of wonder, water, campgrounds, festivals, cookouts, concerts, Mackinaw Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Detroit Tigers and best of all—fly fishing. The response of those not from the Great Lakes State is often one of disbelief and skepticism. And why not? Frozen (excuse the pun) in most of their minds are…well…images of our winter and most populous city.
I also tell people that living in Michigan gives one amnesia. That’s right–amnesia. The summer makes you forget about winter and the winter makes you forget about summer. It’s really amazing actually. Ask any resident of Michigan in July about living there and they will tell you it’s the greatest place on earth. Ask the same question in February and they look at you with distain—likely not having seen the sun with any regularity for 90 days or more.
As the residents of Michigan enjoy their summer season, the memory of past winter no longer holds or binds them. When the transformation is complete, the past is exactly that—the past and a new season has begun. Perhaps it’s a campsite with a view, a sunset on Lake Michigan or a fly fishing evening in solitude. Whatever the case, the past is now passed and the present is to be enjoyed and savored…just like a Michigan mid-summer weekend day.
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be anyway? No matter where we live and the circumstances we face? That we forget what lies behind and run the race that’s set before us? Oh, how so often we hold on to the cold…remembering frigid days of past hurts, pains, sorrows, offenses, mistakes and missed opportunities. In doing this, a root of bitterness often takes hold. Worse yet, doubt, unbelief and unforgiveness become established in our hearts and we become cold. We develop a hardness of heart comparable to wintertime ice on the Great Lakes—hard and cold. However, that ice melts in due time.
Perhaps we can learn a lesson from nature metaphorically. Nature is always moving forward and we should too. Should you be one this speaks to, perhaps it is time to move into the spring of your life and expectantly look forward to a new season of joy and peace. It is time to forget the past and step into your present with a great expectation on the future. This all starts with your thoughts, your beliefs, and your choice to act on God’s word. Such change is possible—if you believe and do not doubt.
So Jesus answered and said to them,“Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:22-24 NKJV
A good way to start this process is to leave the past behind and acknowledge our thankfulness and dependence upon God. We also need to forgive. Forgive those who’ve wronged us and forgive ourselves for mistakes we have made. This is an absolute critical first step and one that cannot be ignored, no matter how hurtful the offense you or someone else caused. No wonder Jesus taught on the very issue of forgiveness immediately after He spoke on the power of our faith to receive in Mark 11:25.
Moreover, if you’re a Believer and have accepted Jesus and His finished work on the cross—you are a new person with a new nature: God’s Nature. You just need to get past the “past” -just like a Michigan winter and get on with spring and summer. Here’s a few versus that make this very point:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 NKJV
Here’s another good one:
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:12-14 NKJV
Here’s the deal. If you’re waiting for perfection before you begin stepping into the promises and plans of God for your life, I’ve got good news for you: you’ve already got it. Yes, that’s right. You’ve got God on the inside of you and a new spirit that’s in agreement with Him. On the inside, your spirit—the real you, is perfect. You just need to get your soul (your mind, will & emotions) in agreement with this very truth. You need to re-train your brain (See Romans 12:1-2).
In short, if you’re living life like it’s the dead of winter, it’s time to snap out of it. I encourage you to not be like so many who are referenced as the “Frozen Chosen” and get busy living life abundantly and blessing others. If this is you, as it was me at one time, allow God’s Truth to change the way you think and let the Son thaw your heart. The good news is the Greater One lives in you and wants to live through you.
hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Philemon 1:5-7 NKJV