Sound Doctrine

Taking the summer off

With the warm weather and the feelings of new life, my spiritual health deteriorates. The forced inactivity during gives way to action when summer comes. Baseball games and vacations. Trips to the beach and barbecues. The appearance of life is palpable. We go to the gym in preparation to show off our healthier body. To impress and court and present ourselves at our best. We are reborn in the joy of warm weather and forgotten responsibility. I wonder at what cost.

“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The display of outward perfection belays an inner darkness creeping in as our walk towards appearance distances us from our walk with God. For me, the summer months are a temptation to walk away from spiritual disciples cultivated throughout the year. Time in God’s Word becomes less important than trimming the hedges and mowing the lawn. The neighbors may see an imperfect landscape and think that I am also the same. Winter hides our brokenness. We hide ourselves. Stuck in the cold Northeast, snow is measured in feet. Broken shovels reflect our failure at conquering nature. Winter is the routine of dullness.

Spiritual disciplines formed when we have no distraction; when solitude is the only option, grow our closeness to God. So I wonder why we are so quick to throw them off in the summer. Church attendance drops, small groups disband (some don’t reform) and time spent with God evaporates. Summer becomes our excuse; our chance to show the world how well we’re put together. And a demonstration of our complete brokenness.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:6-7

We should take the time to refresh ourselves and to enjoy God’s creations. But we need to be careful that we’re not using good weather to justify moving away from God. He is present in His creation. We should be also. But the beauty of His creation is nothing compared to the joy of following Him. Continue to cultivate spiritual disciplines so that you continue to grow.

 

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