Summers Are For Seeking Christ

Every season is God’s season, but summer has a special power.

Jesus Christ is refreshing, but flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word, but then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.

Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute. If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fiancé, don’t fall in love with the mailman. That’s what summer is: God’s messenger with a sun-soaked, tree-green, flower-blooming, lake-glistening letter of love to show us what he is planning for us in the age to come — “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Don’t fall in love with the video preview and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.

Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), including vacations, picnics, softball, long walks, and cookouts. He invites us in the summer: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This is serious summer refreshment.

Do we want it? That is the question.

Christ gives himself to us in proportion to how much we want his refreshment. “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, RSV). One of the reasons to give the Lord special attention in the summer is to say to him, “We want all your refreshment. We really want it.”

Excerpted from John Piper’s Setting Our Minds on Things Above in Summer” (May 31, 1995)

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Misdirected Discontent

This race we’re running is tiring. In hunting our happiness and fulfillment, we’ve become the hunted. Our desire for approval and love – this disconnect in our souls – both promises and denies rest. We are trapped in a self-defeating cycle, trying to catch happiness at the expense of joy.

As believers, Jesus is our identity – our daily footing and acceptance before God. Our hope in life is His death and resurrection.

But there are moments I don’t believe this. There are moments that I say I trust in one thing but believe in another. I let my heart put hope in things other than Him – subtle things like power, respect and approval.

When I find my identity and fulfillment in things other than who He is – and who He says I am – disappointment and discontent bind me. It’s not disappointment with the object but with life at large. I blame Him for my inability to recognize my own deviation from the gospel and go right back to a pick-me-up, a novel distraction from the reality that life still isn’t what it should be.

So there I am again: frustrated that I don’t have more fruit of the Spirit in my life, annoyed at sin I still struggle with and disappointed with myself – certain that God is also. The promise of God’s love goes untried, while misdirected disappointment draws my eyes back to myself and away from Jesus. This cycle feeds a deadly misunderstanding of the gospel – that it cannot save or transform me.

The problem is that we’re moving so fast we can’t see this, and we’re lucky if we slow down enough to hear the never-ending whisper of our sinful hearts: that what we can make, who we are and what we do will satisfy us – if we just work harder. But this is not the gospel.

The gospel is hard for me and maybe for you, too. I fear, along with others, that His love is no better than mine – fickle and flimsy. Truth is, this love wants me to be full of joy to the depth of my being – and this joy is found in the depth of His.

Such elusive fulfillment is freedom to quit looking inward – and to look outward to Him. It’s like we get stuck on the first few steps onto the grass, and our feet are so tender that we can’t move forward. But His love makes our feet firm.

If you think He is too good to be true, that He might be for others but not you, then you believe a lie. God is a good and loving Father who gives good gifts to His children. He gives Himself, and that has all kinds of implications for daily life.

Dare to believe that He is good, and that His love towards you is particular, knowing and intentional. Don’t let momentary distractions steal your hope. Don’t blame disappointment on the One who came to rid you of it. Slow down and look at what and who you are trusting for your happiness, identity and worth. Your daily discontent might just be enough to expose it.

Originally posted on The Village Church blog by Mason King here: http://ow.ly/aIumi