Summer Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but as the summer fast approaches, I’ve started asking myself what I should focus on or pursue these next few months. Here’s a verse that’s been coming to mind.

Isaiah 66:2
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

Even though God does not owe us anything, in His grace He says He has regard for people who exhibit three traits. Here’s how I’ve been thinking through this as I try to apply this verse to my life.

Humility: This doesn’t mean I think less of myself, it just means to think about myself less. Humility also entails thinking about ourselves rightly in light of the gospel. Therefore, will we practice turning our thoughts toward God and others rather than spending most of our time analyzing our own thoughts and feelings (2 Cor. 3:18)?

Contrite in spirit: The literal word here is crippled. What should cripple the spirit of a Christian when we are supposed to be living in joy? The answer is that we should be broken-hearted when we think about the sin that’s still remaining in our life. We should have a realistic view of the sin nature that still lives in us and be saddened by how our actions grieve the heart of God (Romans 7:22-24).

But here’s how we can experience joy and be contrite in spirit at the same time. Whenever you begin to be proud about how “well” you think you're doing, remember how far you have yet to go. This keeps us from minimizing or cheapening the grace of God. On the other hand, whenever you feel depressed about your sin, remember that Jesus has paid for all of it and that He who began a good work in you will complete it (Philippians 1:6)! As Americans, we tend to emphasize the blessings of God and forget about being poor in spirit. But God is actually glorified the most when gospel-centered, broken-hearted Christians sing, “Amazing love, how can it be?” loud and clear.

Trembles at God’s Word: How do I value God’s Word? The answer is by making time this summer to read the Bible. And then when I hear from the Word, working to obey it. Simple, but these are constant challenges in my life as I’m sure they are for you too.

The tendency during the summer is to take a break from things and to relax. I would agree that this is a worth while plan in many areas. But we should never take a break from being Christ followers and working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Let's press on toward holiness even during the summer months!

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