DON’T LET SUMMER SHRIVEL YOUR SOUL
In the middle of winter when darkness falls at 4:30 in the afternoon we look forward with great anticipation to those long days of summer. As spring comes, the hope of summer becomes a closer reality and suddenly summer is here! That long awaited season for eating on patios, beach barbecues, weekends away, hikes in the mountain, camping at the beach and a million other refreshing summer adventures. After a season of work or school or even both simultaneously, not to mention the many other responsibilities that keep our schedules 110% booked, we need a time to finally slow down and rest.
But will warmer weather and summer fun really bring the rest we need? John Piper writes, “Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute. If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fiancé, don’t fall in love with the mailman. That’s what summer is: God’s messenger with a sun-soaked, tree-green, flower-blooming, lake-glistening letter of love to show us what he is planning for us in the age to come.” Summer rest is a foretaste of the rest to come in Christ.
True rest is found only in Jesus. He calls us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). The gospel of Christ is a call to stop our striving and rest. God, through Isaiah, said “in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isa 30:15). The gospel calls us to quit our striving, our effort to vindicate and prove ourselves, and to rest in the finished work of Christ. The gospel sets us free from anxiety, stress and striving and allows us to trust in God’s providence and enjoy his grace. The gospel promises you that you are loved with the same tenacity and depth on the days when you conquer the world as on the days you sleep in the sun.
Here is true rest for your soul. Resting with a new identity in Christ. Resting in the truth that Christ has already earned perfect righteousness and gifted it to you. Resting in the sovereign grace of God.
A Christ-less summer will never provide the rest that your soul craves. When the substance is traded in for the preview, we miss out on true rest. A summer of pursuing rest without pursuing Christ will only shrivel our soul and leave us ultimately dissatisfied.
Pastor David Jones (excerpts from S.K.)