Consider Paul’s request for Timothy to bring him his cloak. He says, “Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks.” Now, when we couple that with what he says in verse 21: “Please come before winter,” if we look through an eye of spiritual revelation, some things become clear.
From a spiritual perspective, Paul’s reference to winter is not just a reference to the season of the year, but it’s a reference to a spiritual condition. He’s not just facing a physical winter, but he’s facing a winter in his spiritual life. And he wanted to be prepared to deal with the winter that was coming in his life.
Winter is primarily characterized by one thing—cold. Cold is simply the absence of heat; a lacking of warmth. In Rome, winters were extremely cold. There was no insulation to effectively deal with the cold. Most people kept their fireplaces burning to escape the cold. But Paul did not have that luxury. He was kept in a dungeon beneath the streets of the city; he was confined to a space about 6 feet long and 6 feet wide. The walls were cold and damp, and Paul had nothing to keep his body warm.
But more than the effects of physical cold, Paul also had to deal with the condition of a spiritual coldness toward him; Paul has to deal with the being deserted by those that he had once trusted.
“From where did this coldness come?” Paul says that Demas deserted him because he loved this world more than he loved the Lord. In other words, we become cold when we place self ahead of Jesus. Living for self is a dangerous thing. It’s a sign of arrogance. It leads to sin; it causes disobedience and lethargy.
Paul was facing a spiritual winter in his life. The hearts of his friends had grown cold toward him and toward the things of God, and this had caused a coldness to approach his spirit. But he knew how to deal with the winter that was coming. He tells Timothy, “Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also, the books and parchment notebooks. Bring them with you when you come, and I know that I’ll be ready for winter.”
If we have our spiritual coat, then we can handle the harshness of a spiritual winter. And our spiritual coat is the Word of God. Paul understood that just as he needed something to help him deal with the physical winter, he also needed something to help him endure his spiritual winter.
The Word will cover us in the midst of our spiritual winter. The Psalmist wrote, “God is our refuge and our strength; He is a present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).” When the problems of this life grow too big for us, the Word of God is a place of safety for us.