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Staying Faithful in the Season You’re In




You and I are constantly being told that the season we are in is not good enough.

If we are single, we need to be married. If we are married, we need to have kids. If we have financial stability, we need financial flexibility. If we are leading people, we need more responsibility. If we have a master’s degree, we need a PhD. If we have a gift, we need influence. You get the gist.  

The underlying message is clear: we always need more, and this constant craving for what’s next takes a toll on our present life. The more fixated we are with the future, the more bitter we become with the present, eroding gratitude and faithfulness.

Our problem? Fixation on a changing future.

Consider Luke 15. Jesus describes two brothers torn between their future dreams and their father. The younger son blatantly demands of the father, “Give me mine…” in hopes that future dreams would be delivered in a distant country. The older brother is bitterly dissatisfied with his father, “I have served you…I never disobeyed…yet you never gave me…that I might celebrate with my friends,” revealing his dreams were for a party, earned by his morality, for himself and his friends. 

Both were devoted to a future dream, to getting something. The younger’s path looked like reckless indulgence. The older’s path looked like religious manipulation. Neither were satisfied with the present love of their father. Their fixation on a better future led them away from faithfulness.

Now, think of what you want (or would even say you need), whether it’s a platform, position, spouse, etc. 

Often—like the younger son—we forsake obedience to obtain it. We’re impatient, rushing past the calls for humility, honesty, integrity, purity, and charity to pursue what we crave. 

At other times, we resemble the older brother, using our obedience to attempt to manipulate God into granting our desires. We live virtuous lives, read our Bibles, attend small groups, and do all the ‘right’ things, feeling God owes us what we want. 

In both scenarios, we throw faithfulness out the window. Just like the sons in the parable, we forsake faithfulness by fixating on a future dream. 

C.S. Lewis, in his satirical masterpiece Screwtape Letters, says, “It is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it, we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time — for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.… Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.…”¹ 

Nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Lewis says that nearly all of our insecurity, greed, and lust are due to an over-fixation of future potential realities. On the contrary, Jesus commands, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). In other words, Jesus says to us: Don’t fixate on the future. Tend to today. Today is enough to focus on!

Our solution? Faithfulness to an unchanging Christ.

Is C.S. Lewis, and more importantly, Jesus, suggesting that we simply immerse ourselves in the present, forget our dreams, and toil away? Not entirely. Notice what Lewis says about the present: “It is all lit up with eternal rays.” What is he saying? He is describing what both brothers missed in Jesus’ parable. Their ultimate satisfaction could not be found in a season to come but in the present love of their father. A love that lights up every moment.

Some religious and philosophical frameworks advocate shedding your deep longings and dreams as the path to contentment. However, the Gospel presents a different perspective. It suggests that contentment comes from shifting your ultimate desire to be in Jesus Christ and pursuing complete satisfaction in Him. 

The love, affirmation, honor, and power you are seeking in your next season can ultimately be found right now in Jesus Christ. He is the eternal ray that lights up your present. As St. Augustine put it, “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”² This is the kind of love and honor that frees you up from fixating on what lies ahead. 

The key to faithfulness in every season doesn’t involve intensifying your religious duties. The key to remaining faithful in every season is a fixation on an unchanging God. The strength of your faith is always dependent upon its object. Imagine you’re falling. You reach for a twig, you’ll keep falling. But if you grab a rock, you’re secure.

If your marbles are on what the next season holds—spouse, salary, significance—then you will never be satisfied. You will constantly be let down. Tim Keller writes in his book on marriage, “We should be neither overly elated by getting married nor overly disappointed by not being so—because Christ is the only spouse that can truly fulfill us and God’s family the only family that will truly embrace and satisfy us.”³ If your marbles are on Christ—his eternal love—then you have all you need every season. When you start to see the faithfulness of Christ, you will start to be faithful in every season. Not because you have a strong and constant faith, but rather because He is strong and constant. If He did not abandon you when you needed him most—when your hell was crashing on him at Calvary— what makes you think he will abandon you now? It’s the hope that makes Edward Mote’s timeless hymn still sweet:


“His oath, his covenant, his blood,

support me in the whelming flood;

when all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay.”


Paul writes of this learned revelation to the Philippians, 

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need

Philippians 4:11

Jeremiah Burrough, a 1600s English Puritan preacher, wrote of it in his book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. It is “that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”

This friends, is the secret to staying faithful in every season: a gentle, serene, and gracious disposition to confront whatever life throws at us, all while knowing it passes through the hands of our benevolent King.

 You and I don’t need to yearn for what lies ahead. Everything we long for in the future is already within our grasp. What the father tells his two sons in the parable holds true for us right now, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours” (Luke 15:31). 

¹ Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters. William Collins, 2009.

² St. Augustine. The Confessions. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1998.

³ Keller, Tim. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Dutton, 2014.

⁴ Burrough, Jeremiah. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. ‎The Banner of Truth Trust; 1st Edition Thus, 1648.

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Scripture References

  • Luke 15
  • Matthew 6:34
  • Philippians 4:11
  • Luke 15:31
Thomas Barr Thomas Barr works on staff at Passion City Church D.C., helping form the local church spiritually through teaching and written content. He also studies Historical Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. His favorite things are friends and books.