Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:10-12
I’ve always considered August a “tweener” month. We’re still in the dog days of summer, but we know the warmest part is likely over. Students everywhere continue to enjoy break, but they also see the start of school on the horizon. The festive spirit of July 4th has come and gone, and September’s Labor Day awaits us. So what exactly happens in the month of August?
As a former teacher, I would use these next few weeks as my time to refresh. To re-connect with colleagues, re-read academic journals, or re-submit lesson plans for the first week of school. In other words, it was time for a re-commitment. As Christians, we sometimes fall into this trap, don’t we? We become so attached to a specific schedule (whether it’s prayer, Bible reading, Sunday particulars, etc.) that we forget the reason we are here. And that reason is Jesus Christ.
We must be careful not to lose Jesus in the so-called “in-between” periods of our lives. Anyone can be spiritually strong at a week-long Bible camp, during VBS, or on a mission trip. But what happens once reality sets in and our jobs or teachers place demands on us? Can we still experience salvation’s joy, as the Psalmist might ask? Can we call on the Lord to grant us a willing spirit and sustenance?
Never forget Paul’s words to the church in Corinth: If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor. 5:17). These words remind us that regardless of the time of year – or season of our lives –we are in Christ. We will always be that “new creation” of which Paul speaks!
If you’ve been going through the motions this summer, let me challenge you to re-commit your time to Christ. Not to re-commit your life (that’s an entirely different discussion), but your time. Let me challenge you to spend at least 20 minutes each day this week reading one of the Gospels. If not that, perhaps 20 minutes each day devoted to time alone with God. Or maybe choose one person from the church to call (not text or e-mail) each day this week, simply to check on him and offer some encouragement.
Do you truly want to feel refreshed? Turn your attention from yourself to your brother or sister. And let Christ create in you a pure heart.
In His Name,