If you’re like me, the summer months can be a time when the pause button is pressed on your faith journey. Things shut down; university finishes, you go away on holidays, church groups stop for the summer, and it can be easy to let things slip. The good habits built up during the year – forgotten.
While a lot of the regular things stop for summer, summer also provides opportunities for living out your faith. Many help with holiday Bible clubs, going on mission trips or helping at camps. And with all those opportunities to serve and share the grace, mercy and love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him, it’s important we stay firm in faith and make the most of the opportunities God gives us.
There is an old song I love – and not just because it was in Friday Night Lights – that was written by Robert Robinson in 1757 when he was 22, called Come thou fount. Here’s one of the verses:
“Let that grace now like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart I take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
God knows our tendency to stray from Him. He knows we are prone to forget what He’s done for us. We’re constantly distracted from the God who loves us with an unfathomable love by the vibration of an incoming mention, Snapchat or Facebook tag.
It happened to the Israelites again and again throughout the Old Testament – in Exodus, in Judges, in 1 and 2 Kings. God would do something for them, they would praise Him, and within a few verses they had turned their back to Him again. So God put systems of reminders in place, like stacks of stones, to commemorate battles won through God’s strength. One example is the Ebenezer that was raised in 1 Samuel 7, another would be the feast meals like the Passover. Tangible ways to remember God’s deliverance.
To stand firm in faith we too need to remember all that God has done for us. We need to establish our own sacred stones that will serve to remind us of God’s faithfulness in our lives. It could be a journal, photos, mementos, music playlists – or even actual stones. What is important is that they act as trigger to remind you of what God has done for you. They need to be personal and visible – sacred items buried in a drawer are no use, put them where you will see them each day and remember what God has done for you.
To stand firm in faith we need to be well-rooted. Deep-rooted trees prosper. Shallow-rooted trees fall over and die. We need to have the ancient roots that is God’s Word. Time spent in God’s word grounds us. It reminds us who He is and who we are; that we are loved. It reminds us of the majesty of the holy God we were made by. It provides the antidote to the poisonous lies the world tries to feed us.
Summer is a good time for the establishment of ‘holy habits’. Psychiatrists suggest it takes between 21 to 66 days to form new habits. So starting something for these quiet months can easily become a discipline that you can maintain once the normality of the daily grind returns in September. I’m going to try reading a Psalm over breakfast.
So set up sacred stones and let the ancient roots grow deep. Use the time God gives you this summer for His glory. Don’t let it be wasted, but go out there and give God your all.