Summer days often stimulate the thoughts that the “living should be easy!” The days are long, the weather is warm, and thoughts of vacation days permeate our minds. While all of these attributes of summer are true, the one thing that should be strengthened in the summer is our spiritual life. Summer is the time for us to build a “spiritual bank account” so that when the challenging days of the fall descend we have spiritual stamina. It is easy, however, to allow our summer spiritual life to slow down and even become inactive.
Having lived in Southern California most of my life, I very familiar with the tough-skinned mollusk commonly known as a slug. Slugs move slowly, appearing to lack energy or alertness. When they move into a garden they can seriously damage plants. Spiritually speaking, if we allow sluggishness to infiltrate our spiritual lives it can have the same damaging effect that slugs create in our gardens.
One of the most popular “Everyday Homemaker” posts is entitled, “The Quest for Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God.” It presents 12 principles that motive a woman to maintain spiritual vitality. I encourage you to read it and then ask yourself the question, “This summer am I willing to be like the word portrait presented in Proverbs 31:10-31?” You also might consider a study in the book of Proverbs that talks about the lazy individual who manifests the qualities of a slug. Proverbs 6:6, 10:26, 13:4, 20:4, and 26:16 are some foundational verses to assist you in cutting off the straggly streak of laziness that contributes to spiritual sluggishness.
Kelsey’s Korner provides you with stimulating thoughts and questions to access your spiritual stamina. As you consider her wise counsel, remember that to have a summer of spiritual vitality may I encourage you to meditate on these thoughts:
- As a Christian woman I am furnished with a strong foundation for growth. (Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:12, 6:23, 5:8, 10:13, 10:9-11, 2. Corinthians 5:17. These verses will help you make that transition if you are not already adopted into God’s forever family!).
- I must grow consistently into conformity to Christ’s image if I wish to squelch spiritual apathy or sluggishness (John 1:12).
- It is my choice to integrate His principles into my life (Psalm 19:7; James 1:22-25).
- I need to be intentional in modeling His characteristics (Psalm 86 & 145).
- Refusing to compare myself with others will stimulate my growth (Philippians 3:13, 14).
Do you ever have those days when you’re just feeling spiritually sluggish—that nagging apathy towards reading, praying, and fellowshipping with the Lord? You’re not alone…most genuine believers experience this periodically. There are days (and sometimes even weeks) that creep along when I feel I’ve had little to no deep and meaningful time spent with the Lord, even if I’ve read and prayed daily. During these seasons I know I need fellowship with the Lord—in fact I yearn for it! But making it happen is another story. I pick up my Bible to read and am distracted at each verse. I close my eyes to pray and wake up 10 minutes later! Often during these times, if you are anything like me, we feel utterly powerless and incapable. Second Corinthians 5:17, however, reminds us that we are new creations—the old things have passed away and the new have come! But what’s the “new”? A mind totally distraction free and unencumbered with sin? No. Not yet. The “new” is the capability to choose good because of the redeeming work of Christ and the helping power of the Holy Spirit. We are progressively, by one degree of glory to another, being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
So with all of this power running through us, why is it not easier to just will our minds to focus on our reading and prayer? Although it is God who ultimately does the work in us, we too are told to work out our own salvation (Phil. 2:13). And, by the way, ever since the Fall, when has work ever been easy? Our ailments lie deep in the heart, hidden and seemingly unproblematic…but these heart sins are often the pesky problems that cause our readings to be sluggish and apathetic. Let’s imagine someone has a headache because they haven’t had enough water to drink. They may think, “My head hurts. I haven’t hit it on anything…what could be the problem?” They have failed to consider that the symptoms may be caused by a problem outside of their head. Similarly, sometimes our apathy may be a symptom of a problem that is rooted in our heart, not in what we are reading or how we are reading it. So if you are showing symptoms of apathy, come with me before the throne of our Great Physician and let us consider these questions to spur our thoughts:
- What else is capturing your attention? Are you daydreaming of entertainment? Game nights with friends or the latest movie that you are dying to see? Are you worried about your to-do list? Are imminent responsibilities battling for attention in the back of your mind? All of our distractions, although often completely innocent, mean one thing—they are, in the moment, more important to us than time with the Lord. There is no quick and easy fix for these heart idols except to recognize they are stealing our attention away from the true God. With much prayer, we must strive to put them in their proper place in the chain of importance.
- Do you begin your time in the Word with prayer? I find it helpful before I even open my Bible to start with prayer, asking God to remove distractions, illuminate the text, and apply His truths to my heart. This isn’t a magic spell that you can cast on your reading time but is rather a way we can show God that we believe we have no power in and of ourselves. We need Him and His strength each and every hour (Phil. 3:9).
- Do you meditate on His Word? Scripture calls us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). When I was little I used to think this literally meant praying every second of the day! What this passage is depicting, however, is a constant fellowship with God—a continuous closeness. This is partly achieved though meditation on His word. Pick a few concepts or verses from your daily reading and pray through them, think on them, and act on them throughout the day, keeping them close to your heart and mind.
So today, are you weary from your efforts? Come to Him and He will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). Do you thirst for His righteousness? Drink from the Living Water (John 4:14)! Are you hungry for his word? Come and take from the Bread of Life (John 6:35), and taste and see that He is good (Ps. 34:8)!
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. This was to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Romans 3:23-25).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Because of Jesus, guilt and the fear of punishment no longer weigh me down.”
The “Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity Conference in the Home, Church, and Community” October 5-7 on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will allow you to deepen your understanding of Biblical Femininity. If you would like to know more about the Conference contact me through the “Send Pat a Message” feature at the bottom of the Home Page. I am excited to introduce you to the Key Speakers. We pray that you will choose to join us in our March for Biblical Femininity in October!
MARY LEE BAYLY
Mary Lee Bayly is the director of Women’s Ministries at Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana. She and her husband Tim, who pastors the church, have been married for 41 years. They have 5 children and 21 grandchildren. Having fallen prey to the lies of feminism herself in younger years, she works earnestly to help women embrace their God-given calling as set forth in Scripture. When she is not taking care of grandchildren she is counseling women, reading, sewing, or attending births as a doula.
Barbara Hughes is first and foremost a lover of Christ, wife, mother and grandmother. She has served the Lord alongside her husband in ministry for over fifty years. Her energies in this regard were devoted to the work of women's ministries, Bible study and hospitality.
Barbara is co-author and author of several books most notably, Disciplines of a Godly Woman. She has a passion for personal evangelism, gardening and oil painting.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife to Luke, mother to seven busy children, and an occasional writer. She is the author of two books, Loving the Little Years, and Fit to Burst. She can usually be found up to her elbows in the work of feeding all the people she loves.
Rebekah Merkle has dabbled in a number of occupations ranging from running her own clothing label to designing fabrics to becoming a full-time high school humanities teacher. Author of Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity, her proudest accomplishment is her crew of five high-speed teenagers. Her favorite role is that of wife to her similarly high-speed husband Ben. Click on this link to read a recent article: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/throw-like-a-girl
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home