As of today, we have been to three Cape League Baseball games and have been fishing a half dozen times. This happened in one week’s time. This must only mean that summer has officially arrived. Most people look forward to summer. Yet, summer concerns me some because it is a variable in an otherwise routine life. This means shenanigans. It looks different and therefore has the potential to throw off certain routines that you might have developed in your pursuit of God and your relationship with Him.
At the begining of the year I wrote a post about a fresh start. When we get to January, so many people decide they want to read their Bibles more or somehow increase their time with God. So, how is that going? Some people give up before February even begins. Summer can be another opportunity to get on track. Summer is not an excuse to slack off on everything. It is a chance to enjoy the summer while growing closer to God on purpose! So, as we get into the real busy time of the summer, let me offer a few pieces of wisdom from the book of wisdom, Proverbs. These are ways that we all can grow closer to God this summer.
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” – Proverbs 27:2
Self-exaltation doe not make anyone desire to be your friend. Pride is an enemy to friendship. It pushes people away.
This is dangerous in our own relationships with each other, but it is even more so of an issue with our relationship with God. If we don’t approach God with humility, realizing that we have sinned and need His forgiveness , then we are going to push Him away. The end result is that we become our very own god, which is not a happy ending at all.
So, get closer to God by parting with the pride that says you are awesome, perfect and sin free. Be honest and accept the forgiveness offered to you in Jesus Christ.
“Better an open rebuke than hidden love.” – Proverbs 27:5
We need each other to help us stay on track. This verse has two different parts to it. You have the person who openly rebukes someone. They are willing to say to tell their friend that what they are doing does not honor God. At the same time, they are willing to take the same rebuke from their friend. But, unfortunately there are far more people who take the other approach.
This is the other part of this verse, which is called hidden love. This love would rather not offend or make someone mad by saying something about what they are doing.There is no doubt that these people love their friends. They just don’t say anything about their destructive behaviors. This is hidden love.
It might not be as easy to do when there is peer pressure. We have a responsibility to each other and to God to help one another follow God. That means asking people the hard questions at times, not to tell everyone their problems, but to help them make the right choices for their own good!
Healthy things grow. It is the same for us as we follow God. We need to grow.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
This goes along with accountability, but it takes it one step farther because this is the result of that accountability. Iron is not an easy thing to move and grind, it takes something hard to do it. Not an easy process, but a needed process for growth.
We need to be sharpened and refined. We need the sin and imperfections to be cut off and God would be made known in a powerful way in your life.
BE LEADING PEOPLE TO JESUS
This is the ultimate proclamation of what God is doing in you. When we look at you, will we be pointed to Jesus Christ?
“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” – Proverbs 27:19
Just like when you go out on the water when it is completely calm and you see your reflection, so it is with your heart. Jesus said that out of the outflow of the heart the mouth speaks.Your life on the outside is a reflection of what is going on inside. And, when lived in godliness, it leads people to Jesus. This is because there are so many people who are just out to promote themselves that when someone loves other people in order to exalt Jesus, people stop and notice.
Summer is not an excuse to stop talking about who you serve, it is an even greater opportunity to share Jesus. I don’t know what opportunities God will give you, I just know that He will.
Summer is a wonderful opportunity. Don’t waste it on just sunshine and ice cream. As you go about your fun activities, look for ways to bless people. When I go fishing with my kids, they talk with everyone. This makes me look outside myself. It doesn’t have to be much, but every little bit helps. This could be the summer where you grow the most in your faith!