More Than A Summer Survivor
This week, Parker talked about the poisons that exist in our friendships that destroy them from the inside out. These include: selfishness, judgement, and neglect. He also described the anecdotes to each of these poisons which are sacrifice, forgiveness, and love. These three characteristics are essential in successful friendships. You can have friendships without them, but the moment your friendship faces adversity, these three anecdotes will act as pillars that can weather the storm. This new approach to the way you interact with your friends is a tool and guideline you can use this summer.
Imagine going on a diet. All school year long, you count your calories, go to the gym, and live as healthily as you can. You even hire a nutritionist and a personal trainer. You spend hours every week planning meals with your nutritionism and going to the gym with your trainer. You’re growing stronger all the time and learning eating habits in the process. Then, summer hits, and your nutritionist and personal trainer quit their jobs. Now, it’s up to you to maintain the habits you’ve built throughout the year and put them into practice on your own.
In the same way you have the ability to maintain healthy living habits, you have the ability to remember what you’ve learned at Element this year and pursue your own spiritual growth this summer. You might not see your pastors or leaders as often, but everything you learned from them was to prepare you for a life of spiritual strength and growth. When you lose your diet, you lose all of your hard work. When you lose your spiritual drive, you lose strength in your relationship with God. With the summer “diet,” however, you can test you faith and increase your opportunity to take some key steps on your own. There are three steps to the summer spiritual diet.
#1: Daily Time with God and His Word.
The top priority in your summer should be fellowship with God. We can’t know God intimately without knowing His Word. Our faith and the work of the Holy Spirit depend upon a constant diet of spending time in the Bible. Set aside, as a daily priority, maybe 30 minutes or more, and spend time alone with God in praise, prayer and reading or listening to the Bible.
#2: The Right Community.
Our actions and words are many times a reflection of the people we’re most often around. We also influence those around us in the same way. The influence of our friends can be destructive if it’s the wrong influence. Think back to the levels of friendships we have. Don’t pull a level 3 to be a level 1. Spending too much time with the wrong people this summer can have a disastrous impact on your faith. One of your major priorities this summer needs to be a way to surround yourself with other Christians. Also, get together with others that may live around you for times of prayer, Bible study or just having fun fellowship together. Once these friendship needs are met, go include new people in your plans, be friends to those who don’t have friends, and love people like Jesus loves people.
Occasional spiritual growth that depends on your circumstances isn’t necessarily the best way to grow. You might have plans to go to camps like CIY or Summer Fusion this summer, but those can’t be the only places where you challenge your faith and spend time with the right community. Consistency is the key to spiritual self-discipline. What would you like to see God do in your life this summer? The first step to becoming disciplined is to understand where you’re likely to fail, and figure out how you could avoid or push through that. Make a list of priorities of things you want to accomplish on a daily and weekly basis. Develop a schedule and stick to it. Make sure you are putting in your priorities first. Many people don’t plan to fail, but fail to plan.
This summer, I challenge you to be more than just a summer survivor. Be intentional with where you go and what you do. Practice daily time with God, surrounding yourself with the right community, and self-discipline. Create you summer “diet” to stay in consistently growing spiritual shape, and have a great summer!
Author: Myah Brown