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Have you noticed in the summer — not only can there be a steady stream of summer activities — but a vacation mindset can begin to take over?
You start to become lulled to sleep as you take a break from the norm that dictates the other 9 months of the year. Your mind starts to follow along with this summer schedule. It can be easy to get into this laid-back mentality with your most important relationship….
Jesus. With a vacation mentality and/or distractions, this relationship can start to be one more thing to do when you just want to chill or pursue other activities. The summer break becomes a break-up with your Savior, your most important relationship.
But if the center of your life is Jesus, He should be with you in all that you do — even at barbecues, graduation parties, weddings, showers, summer doldrums — you name it. Because in the midst of summer activities, your relationship with Jesus can’t be put on hold. Troubles won’t stop and hardships don’t operate on a 9 to 5 schedule. These don’t come based on what’s convenient for you, sometimes they come when you’re not prepared at all.
So how can you make sure you continue to run hard after Jesus in all seasons? Because when troubles come, where will you run to?
Running After Other Things
Before Christ, when troubles came and things got difficult in my own life, I would run to food or drinking or relationships to make me feel better. I didn’t know any other fulfillment apart from these things. But when these things stopped being fulfilling and God took away some relationships — for the first time — I felt very alone.
Depression is ugly. It takes away all your hope. You paste a smile on your face while you’re slowly sinking more and more into despair. After a while, people get tired of it, and you sense that they just want you to snap out of it, they see you’re hurting and want the pain to stop, so do you.
But while Satan wants to use your lowest point to torment you and keep you in despair, God wants to use your pain to draw you to Himself as He draws near to you (Jas. 4:8). When trials and tribulations come, you want to already be in a solid relationship with Jesus so that you continue to run hard after Him. This is to keep you from despair and running after broken cisterns.
However, even in a relationship with Christ, you can forget your first love (Rev. 2:4). Just like a summer vacation, there are seasons you neglect to run hard after Him. And if you’re not already running after Him presently and troubles come, despair can easily set in. And when that happens, hopelessness can take over, and Satan can get a foothold. It becomes a tortuous cycle. When you’re lulled into a summer fog, it can make you susceptible to the flesh and the schemes of Satan. If your relationship with Jesus is distant and on shifting sand — your first instinct won’t be to run to Him — it will be to try to run to other things or people as you won’t know where to run to.
Running After Jesus When Troubles Come
But even during the summer break, you are to put on the full whole armor of God. At. All. Times. God knows that when you’re either distracted or drowsy or bored, you are a perfect target for a roaring lion as Satan is seeking whom he can devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He is never on a break. Be watchful and be prepared.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Eph. 6:10-13).
And if your relationship with Christ is on a solid rock and foundation, you will take refuge in Him. When you are seeking Him daily and the power of His might, when troubles come unexpectedly, by the power of the holy spirit, you can find rest in Him. When the storms of life hit, it prevents you from being tossed to and fro. And Jesus is able to guide you into all truth.
However, when you veer from Him, it becomes difficult to discern truth through the Word and Spirit. Your feelings and circumstances can scream their own truth, and Satan will take advantage of that. So, run hard after Jesus before trouble comes. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book is a helpful resource to combat universal lies in Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.
There’s only one person where you can find eternal hope. God saw where I was and He was the only one who could ultimately help me. He pulled me out of the pit of despair and into his loving arms. I drew more and more near to Him and He drew near to me. He is your only hope. People will come and go, but He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Be content in Him throughout the varying seasons and don’t run from Him, run to Him. Elisabeth Elliott’s book Keep a Quiet Heart is a great resource to find your rest in the Lord.
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Ps. 18:2).
Again, Jesus is your rock and fortress, continue to run hard after Him during this season, and the next season, and the next season. He’s the one who can prepare you for the next battle and provide you with the help, comfort and encouragement you need.
How do you run hard after Jesus in different seasons? Would love to hear your thoughts!