Lusk Creek Wilderness in southern Illinois is laden with creek crossings. They are refreshing in the summertime and relieving for the horses whose riders take them through the equestrian portions. The creeks are not so refreshing to cross in January, I must confess. I remember arriving at the Bowed Tree crossing after going southeast on the main trailhead. I wasted an hour looking for an alternative route so I wouldn’t have to walk through the icy water. Seeing no alternative, I threw my shoes in my pack, rolled up my pants, and braced myself for a frigid stroll through a knee-high stream. My legs and feet were immediately struck with pain. The water was so cold it would have been frozen had it not been in motion. As I endured the instantaneous and indescribable pain of losing body heat, I recalled a certain commandment that was drilled into my head in an outdoor safety class: avoid water in the winter. My instructor was warning youngsters like me about the dangers of hypothermia when hunting or hiking in the winter months. A windy, rainy day in January may turn deadly if you aren’t properly protected. Sweating while hiking in the winter can drain your body heat fast. Crossing piercingly brisk creeks will do it, too. Because of the nature of water and the colder outside temperatures, heat will drain from the body quicker than it can be generated. That’s when hypothermia sets in and the consequences can be fatal. Thankfully, I’ve avoided hypothermia all these years, although I have come pretty close. Heat is essential to life and if you lose it faster than you produce it, you’re in big trouble.
Physical hypothermia is deadly, but spiritual hypothermia is deadlier. As a believer, sometimes you can lose heat. You can experience spiritual hypothermia when you lose the heat of your zeal for God faster than it’s being produced. Many things can cause your spiritual heat to be drained. Sometimes this cold world can cause your fire for the Lord to wane out. Taking on too much can suck the heat right out of you. Failing to spiritually rest can cause a spiritual flame to smolder. Apathy or inactivity can cause it, too. Whatever the reason or cause, be on your guard against spiritual hypothermia. You need heat in the Christian life. God wants you to be on fire. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Stay in His word, gather with His people, remain in prayer, and preach Christ crucified. Spiritual exercises like those are the only way to retain and generate heat. Standing out in this cold world and being inactive in the Christian life is like standing in a frigid creek—your heat will be gone in no time and the repercussions will be deadly.
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Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.