It’s pretty much here, folks. And for each of us that means something different. For some it means big adventures to foreign countries. For some it means jobs. For some it means going home to a broken family that doesn’t really understand this whole Jesus thing. And for all of us it means that we are leaving this community that we find through Thursdays with FCA. It means that we can potentially lose our accountability to keep pursuing the Lord. And while it is kinda sad and I know I will for sure miss all of my incredible friends that I have made this year, we can take heart knowing that this God we all are pursuing, that has brought together this awesome community, is the exact same God here as He is wherever we might be found this summer.
This Thursday at FCA, David Sons talked to us about how we can grow deeper with God every single day of our lives, and that is through reading His Word. David said the Bible is the most valuable tool we have ever had and will ever have. Through the Bible we have unlimited access to the truth of who God is.David challenged each of us to hunger to know God through His Word and to fall into the discipline of finding time to saturate our hearts with His Word.
And I know that for me, that word “discipline” sounds pretty constraining. To humble myself under the authority of something greater than myself. This year in particular, disciplining myself to find time for God has seemed impossible.
As I’ve gone throughout my freshman year of college, there is one reality that I have been unable to avoid: Every week will be a busy week, and if it’s not, I’m probably doing something wrong. I will always have school work to be doing, friendships to continually be investing in, exercising to be doing, meals to be eating, errands to be running. And sometimes my life just seems crazy and chaotic and defined by anxious toil. I’ve started to see these good things (like having friends and getting a college education) as a burden. School work and classes and coffee dates cut into time I could be spending with God, and that creates this tension that looks like, from my human perspective, that I simply do not have enough time for God and all the things I have to do. I hate this tension. I hate feeling like I can’t possibly do it all. So I do the rational thing and look for things to cut out. And inevitably I’m faced with a decision: tasks or God? Do I stop investing in my tasks and risk the earthly- repercussions? Or do I stop investing in God knowing (well, more like hoping) that I will be forgiven because of His grace? BUT, as I’ve started deepening my relationship with God, I am faced with the reality that the latter, is the worse option. Cutting out God and relying on myself to get things done is going to fail me. I’ve seen it time and time again, and I know I will fall to it again soon enough. But that’s the cool thing. I’ve never been meant to discipline myself. It is through the Word that I come more disciplined by the Word. The more I read the Word, the more I want to read the Word.
Marking off space for God to be at work is a challenge because God likes doing things with me that I hadn’t counted on. He likes to decide the agenda rather than just going along with my carefully scripted list of activities. If I leave God too little space, the desires God has for me and for our time together simply don’t happen. This is the WHY of solitude of God. I’m simply making room for God to do what only he can do. That is the WHY of reading the Bible.
Ether de Wall says this of disciple in her book Living With Contradiction “It is risky, this business of running. By daring to lose my balance I keep it.”
And ya know, I am really not the best at this. Sometimes I scream at myself for not being more disciplined and for failing and feel guilty and then that leads to me trying to control things again, but that’s the whole problem in the first place. I was not created to be in control, so why should I ever try to act like I am? I am completely dependent on something, someone, higher and more perfect than myself. I am continually in need of direction, guidance, rest, and purpose. And THAT, friends, is what Jesus offers us. He offers us a yoke that is light and he offers us rest. And there is no better time than now to enter that rest by daring to lose our balance.
Friends, let us dare to run towards the Father. Let us dare to leave behind the schedules of the world this summer and run wholeheartedly into the timing of the Lord. This summer, our lives still a bit from the chaos of our busy college schedules. There becomes more time for God. So if you have been looking for the “perfect time” to start digging deep with God, that time is NOW. There will never be a better moment than right now to get to know the truth of who the Lord is.
By reading His Word we also discover who we are, but not because it is about us, as David said. We are not the central characters in the story of the Universe. The Bible is about God and His Glory, and by reading it, we come to understand that. We see ourselves as less important, but infinitely more powerful. This year, I had a really wise friend tell me “I don’t like reading all these self help christian books about myself. I learn more about myself by reading about Jesus.” The more we read about who God is, the more our earthly self falls away and we step into the person the Lord has always intended us to be. There is so much FREEDOM in that, my friends.
Ultimately, I want to be able to look at my bible and think “that is my most prized possession. that is the one thing that speaks out love. it is invaluable”. I want to see it as something that sets me free, not as something I look at and feel guilty about not using. So, I guess what I’m saying is that we need to first hold ourselves accountable, understanding that the Bible and spending time with the Father is the one thing in our life that will never ever change. Challenge yourself to make this summer first and foremost about God. Start small, dedicate the first week to Him. And then the second week, and third week. Watch as your life shifts from one of stress to one of freedom. And secondly, it means that we need to encourage one another. Text your friends asking how they are doing and how they are seeing the Lord work around them. Idk maybe even do a little virtual bible study with them, reading a psalm a week or something!
I challenge you to become a fool for the Lord this summer, to become so passionately in love with Him that you come back to school in the fall and your friends recognize that you have become more of your true-self, basking in the glory and radiance of the Creator of your soul.
Check out Hebrews 10:19-24 for some more encouragement! Also, if you liked the quotes in this, they all came from this super great devotioal book called the Blue Book and if you’re looking to dive deep with God this summer, this will def help you do it. Get it here
“Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain ( that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed pure with water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another toward good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”