keep your heart warmBy BY BRO. TERRY IVY,
“Do your best to come before winter.” (2Timothy 4:21) Every year when the temperatures begin to fall, I think about how the Apostle Paul had been arrested by the Roman government and was writing his final letter to his faithful disciple Timothy. Winter was approaching and the damp chill of the musty Mamertine prison was descending like a wet fog. He was needing his old cloak to keep his body warm. There was little sand left in his life’s hourglass and the day of his execution was approaching fast. Many of Paul’s friends had abandoned him, perhaps trying to save their own life as this great defender of the faith held steady in the midst of unbearable conditions. A few trustworthy friends stood firm with him.
Though Caesar intended to make Paul an example to display his contempt toward the young Christian Church, all the powers of Rome could not affect the warmness of this apostle’s heart toward his Lord and Savior. He was fighting the good fight of faith, and he had no intentions of turning back to the world.
Satan will use every means at his disposal to weaken us and try to move our heart into coldness toward God. He will sling lies challenging our faith and resolve in Christ like a snow ball fight among young boys. The enemy hates us for loving God—it is that simple. He doesn’t care if we are a little religious or ‘Christmas Christians’ or ‘go to church if I have nothing else to do’ believers. He already has those groups in his grasp. However, the enemy hates all who faithfully follow Jesus the whole year and he uses every opportunity to try and make their hearts cold.
Paul’s letter from prison gives us insight into the heart of the Apostle. For his body, he asked Timothy to bring his old cloak. (v.13) As the winter season began settling in, the dampness of the prison cell would cause great physical discomfort. That old cloak had been his partner in many trying circumstances, like an old friend who remains true through thick and thin. However, to keep his heart warm, Paul requested his books and the parchments! (v.13) They were friends to his heart.
In his prison cell of loneliness, Paul asked for his reading materials. Surely, they included portions of Scriptures. His body was cold, wet and suffering, but he knew that was only temporary. He wanted to keep his heart warm toward Christ and filled with joy. Reading God’s Word is the greatest prevention to coldness of heart. Regardless how the enemy tries to ‘cool us off’, time spent in fellowship with Christ and His Word will protect our heart from the cold lies of the enemy. Our homes and clothes may keep our bodies warm, but what about our heart? In all our activities, let us guard our heart from coldness. Read quality books and God’s Word, for they have the power to… keep your heart warm!