DAYS OF SUMMER
are now in the tranquil days of summer. Generally we look
forward to the warm days when the grass is green and nature
thrives, when children love to romp and play outside ,
and when we need not be confined to a house because of
cold winds and drifting snow.
According to the promise
of the Lord given after the worldwide flood, "seedtime
and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter,
and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22).
The psalmist adds that God has made "summer and
winter" (Psalm 74:17).
Some knowledgeable creationist scientists suggest that the
earth did not experience much cold (or winter weather) before
the flood, however both cold and heat have been our lot since
that time. We know that there will be a time when there will
no longer be any heat to oppress us (Rev. 7:16), and it is
a fair assumption that cold will also disappear. We know that
there will be a time in the future when night shall cease
(Rev. 21:25; 22:5). Apparently the heavenly bodies, including
the sun and moon and stars, will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10-12)
and will be no more (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). All of this suggests
that summer, as we know it, is confined to this present earth
and our present experience. Or we may assume that all of the
"new earth" (Rev. 21:1) will have summer-like weather,
minus oppressive heat!
But right now, when we do
experience summer, we may learn certain spiritual lessons.
Our apologies are
extended to those readers who live in the Southern Hemisphere,
who are presently experiencing winter. Yet you too can
something of the spiritual lessons we shall mention.
Summer is a Time of
Much of the world is involved in agriculture.
Much of the background of the Bible itself is that of farming.
Up until a century ago, most families in America lived on
farms or in the country. Even now, many families have their
own garden plots where they raise tomatoes, beans, peas, corn,
and other vegetables and fruit. We can all understand how
summer should mean fruitfulness.
Scripture refers to "summer fruit" (cf.
2 Sam. 16:1-2; Isa. 16:9; Jer. 40:10; 48:32; Amos 8:1-2).
Summer is the time when apples, peaches, pears, and other
fruit ripen. It is the time when grains grow and vegetables
ripen. It is the time of fruitfulness and productivity.
The Christian life may be likened to summertime.
We are called upon to be fruitful. Jesus said, "By
this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and
so prove to be My disciples" (John 15:8). We may
be fruitful as we allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit of
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self control in our life (Gal. 5:22-23). This
fruit comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise
of God (Phil. 1:11). If we fail to bear spiritual fruit, we
need to ask God to search our heart and reveal to us what
can be done to cultivate a crop of health fruit in our heart
and life—the fruit of changed character and good deeds.
Summer is a Time of
What began in the spring is continued during
the summer. The new life that arises in the spring is matured
during the summer. Summer provides months of continued advancement,
progress, and maturity.
We know that when a person
comes to Christ, he becomes a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17),
a new person (Col.
3:10), with a renewed mind (Eph. 4:23-24). But God is not
finished with this new person in Christ Jesus. He wants
person to grow and mature. Thus, Peter says that we are to "grow in
respect to salvation" (1 Peter 2:2).
He commands, "Grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
Paul speaks of the Philippians’ "progress and
joy in the faith" (Phil. 1:25).
Again and again, the inspired
writers encourage us to press on, continue on, persevere,
endure, and grow in
our daily life. Paul says that we are to "walk"
in Christ, "having been firmly rooted and now being built
up in Him and established in your faith" (Col. 2:6-7).
What began when we were first forgiven and saved must
continue if we are to reach the heavenly kingdom! Our
life is to be one of sustained growth.
Summer is a Time of
Weariness from Work
It may be difficult for those who live in
the city and have never experienced country living to understand
this point. We know that many in our contemporary world have
always had air conditioning, have never had a garden, and
have never worked to exhaustion. But summertime can be a time
of intense work on the farm, as the crops are nurtured to
produce a great harvest in the fall. Even in the city, summer
brings lawn mowing, hedge-trimming, house painting, and other
The Christian life was
never meant to be a comfortable experience. Although
live apathetic lives
and show spiritual indifference, this is not what pleases
God. Our life on earth is the time of labor for the Lord
we know that our time here is short. Paul writes, "Be
careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise; making
the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph.
5:15-16). Our time is brief; thus it is imperative that we
use it to the greatest extent possible. Someone wisely said,
"We have all eternity to celebrate the victory, but one
brief moment to win it!" This is why our life is often
compared to a race (cf. Phil. 3:12-14; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Heb.
12:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). We are to run the race of life, to
the point of exhaustion, so that we may win the race. I recently
listened to an interview with a leader in his eighties. According
to this renowned "Christian" leader, his aim in
life is to "finish well." He said that he wanted
to so live life with a passion, even in his eighties, that
he will come to the end of his life with satisfaction.
Yet we must admit that
the weariness of the race and the fatigue from the battle
wear us down. This
is why we are given encouragement along the way. Paul writes, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time
we will reap if we do not grow weary" (Gal. 6:9). In
another place the apostle wrote, "We do not lose heart,
but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is
being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond
all comprehension" (2 Cor. 4:16-17). In light of the
resurrection that awaits us, Paul urges us: "Be steadfast,
immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing
that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).
The farmer who works to exhaustion in the summer is looking
to the autumn harvest. Likewise, the Christian who perseveres
through the difficulties of life is looking forward toward
an eternal harvest!
Summer is a Time of
Stress and Hardship
Many people from the colder
regions of America have moved to northern Texas during
the past couple of decades
to escape the northern winters. However, Texas itself can
provide some warm summer days when these "transplants" would
like to migrate north for several months! Think too of
places like Arizona where summer days can reach 115 or
120 degrees! Summer can produce some stress and hardship.
I notice that roses are not as fruitful during the summer
months and many garden vegetables will die unless they
Our life in Christ was
not meant to be a time of constant peace and tranquility.
we will find quietness
and peace in our relationship with Jesus (cf. Matthew 11:28-30).
At the same time, again and again we are forewarned that
and hardship will generally characterize our lives. Paul
warned new believers, "Through many tribulations we must enter
the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). This is a side of the
life of discipleship that many would like to deny or avoid,
but God assures us that it is a necessary element that we
must experience. Jesus said that we can expect persecutions
in life (Mark 10:30). Paul says the same (2 Tim. 3:11-12).
The apostle says that we have been destined to experience
afflictions for Christ (1 Thess. 3:3). We can expect to suffer
for Jesus’ sake (2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:3). Only those who
persevere under trial will receive the crown of life (James
Just as summer has traditionally brought hardship
to people, so our life in Christ can be expected to give us
a measure of hardship. If we are not suffering for the Lord
Jesus, facing trials in life because of Jesus, or being persecuted
for the cause of Christ, we need to take a long, hard look
at our life. Is there something missing?
Summer is a Time of
Since summer is the time
of growth in the natural world, it is the time of preparation
for the future.
One proverb counsels us to learn a lesson from the ant. The
writer says that this insect "prepares her food in the
summer" (Prov. 6:8; cf. 30:25). We also read, "He
who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely" (10:5).
If crops are not cared for in the summer, they cannot provide
a harvest; and if there is no harvest, there is no preparation
for the winter.
A person is foolish indeed
if he does not think about the future. Each of us must
die (Heb. 9:27). The
only exception will be those who are alive when Christ returns
(1 Thess. 4:15,17). Yet many persist in thinking to themselves, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to
come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry" (Luke
12:19). God replies to such an attitude and philosophy, "You
fool!" (v. 20). Our life here and now is merely a time
of preparation—a time to prepare for that which is to come!
We are called upon to serve, to labor, to preach, to teach,
to endure during our present life so that we "may take
hold of that which is life indeed" (1 Tim. 6:19). We
are living and preparing during the "summer" as
we look with hope for the coming harvest! Summertime is preparation
Learning from Summer
The Christian can learn spiritual lessons
from nearly every natural event and circumstance around him.
Our discussion of summertime can be taken into our hearts
and we can meditate on it with spiritual benefit. Or we can
fail to learn these lessons to our own spiritual detriment.
Let us produce fruit now, let us grow in our spirit, let us
persevere in our labors for Christ, let us endure hardship
for the kingdom, and let us prepare for the eternal future!
Let us learn from these summer days!