“Spiritual Rhythm: Part 1- Summer-‘Love Will Keep Us Together'” By Mark Buchanan (2)

Here we go with Mark Buchanan’s Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season Of Your Soul ~

First Summer

Many people experience a summertime of the heart right after conversion.

Zechariah 8 is a vivid description of a city-Zion-when God comes near. Here is a few verses, from Eugene Peterson’s The Message: “God’s message: ‘I’ve come back to Zion, I’ve moved to Jerusalem…. Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the steets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes-a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing-a good city to grow up in…. People and their leaders will come from all over to see what’s going on. The leaders will confer with one another, “Shouldn’t we try to get in on this? Get in on God’s blessings? Pray to God …? What’s keeping us? Let‘s go!”‘”

Most people come to Christ exactly the way Zechariah describes it. They witness a vibrant church or household of Christian’s, or meet just one man or woman fully alive. They see life as it was meant to be, with God at the center. They confer with someone, maybe themselves, and say, “Why miss out on this? Let’s  go!” And, getting up and going, they typically go straightaway into summertime. Everything is right. Everything is bright. Everything works. The old has gone; the new has come.

A few weeks after I came to Christ at age twenty-one, I went on a fishing trip with a group of guys from the church. I had never before been among men who, when they gathered, didn’t speak in lewd, demeaning ways about women or turn the air blue with cussing, who didn’t guzzle beer until they got blue-eyed and slurry-mouthed. I didn’t think that men like that existed. And now I’d spent a whole weekend in the company of six or eight such men, who began and ended each day with Scripture reading,  who spoke lovingly of their wives, who honored one another, who told and laughed at jokes that were clean. I came back and, trying to describe it to Cheryl, broke down and wept with utter joy.

In that season, I heard God crystal clear. I could almost see Him. Every conversation I had-with fellow believers, with nonbelievers-was holy. Every Scripture was a revelation. God was, as the child’s prayer has it, in my seeing, in my hearing, in my speaking, and in my understanding. He was tangibly growing fruit in my life. The world seemed light and bright and full of color, and warm all the time.

Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about. Typically the first big disappointment in our Christian lives is when that initial summertime turns cool and grey. A dampness of complacency creeps into our bones. Icy winds of doubt chill us. Spiritual abundance becomes barrenness.

And we are dismayed.

But we learn that other springs and summers are coming, and each becomes a foretaste of that endless summer, the kingdom of God in its fullness. (pgs. 115-116)

As I struggle to remember the intimate details when I was a child due partly because of age, partly because I was in a horrifying car accident when I just turned 18, I remember the point of my initial salvation experience.  (*initial salvation  experience-I believe once saved always saved, but that individual saved from sin doesn’t go voluntarily and purposely into sin and feel no remorse over his sin so that the individual is forever spiritually lost)

When I received the gift of salvation on my physical birthday, I’ve learned throughout the years and my intial experience that despite how much I try, how much money I make in order to repay that priceless gift, no matter how much service I do, I will always come up vastly short of repaying what Jesus Christ has done for me-allow me into heaven where I can see Christ Jesus, His Father, and the Holy Spirit as we sit down at a banquet table specially prepared for us.

Although, this much I do remember, that my first few years of my salvation was just as Mark Buchanan describes in the part called First Summer, for I remember walking down the steps of my childhood church and saw a vision of that which I was spared from-visions of that big red demon surrounded by the lake of fire. My little 7 year old mind was scared of Satan only to overpowered by the One who could set me free, for I knew if I didn’t accept God over Satan my eternal punishment would be far worse. Thankfully I now joined a team that was going to win as I was overcome by excitement of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Like a child waiting for the neighborhood ice cream truck that makes its way around the neighborhood, I was ready to meet Christ Jesus. I waited, and waited, and waited. However, the ice cream truck didn’t come my way, disappointed that there was a cold winter breeze marking the end of summer. I thought that I missed it. After a few physical years of coming close like I could here the ice cream truck repetitive and wordless song getting louder and louder, I almost gave up hope. Hope that has my Savior alongside with me for eternity. But wait, I see summertime of the heart again! Like a telescope’s view, it gives me hope again. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV).

Let me encourage you! Let us True Life Christians not give up hope to soon, for it will be to our detriment if we do, not to enjoy that endless summertime of the heart with our Savior, Jesus Christ!

“How Do You Measure Your Spiritual Growth?”~Mark Buchanan

Darren Beattie, The Soul Blogger