While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name:….
Every year as the school year draws to a close, I am reminded of this passage. Students leave the safety and security of a daily routine, a Christian environment and Godly influences only to be bombarded with a barrage from the world and the Devil. From being helped and encouraged to read the Bible and pray, walk with God and obey His Word, to a freedom that the majority cannot withstand.
Statistics among Youth Departments show that 60-70 % of the young people in churches backslide, make bad decisions, and banish their Bible during the summer. This is an alarming stat. It is usually not until Camp or Youth Conference (most of which are toward the end of the summer) that teenagers make things right with God and allow him to work in their lives.
Is this how things have to be? Jesus didn’t think so. He taught the Disciples how to live while He was away. He showed through His prayer in John 17:12-26, how to have a Spiritual Summer. Over the next few weeks, I am going to show you from Jesus’ prayer, how you can avoid that summer slump. You can have a spiritual summer….
….a summer where you grow closer to Christ instead of colder on Christ
….a summer where you go to Camp fired up and not to get fired up and God can really work on you
….a summer where afterward, you start school and you bring Revival to your school!
That is a Spiritual Summer… Here is how Jesus said we could do it…
I. Summer Fun
John 17:13b …. that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I know, I know… not what you were expecting right? Jesus tells the Disciples that He wants them to have joy.
If you want to have a Spiritual Summer have some fun. Sleep in, go camping, go fishing, play outside, kill some Xbox, hang out with friends, attend all of the Teen Activities, help someone, get a summer job, and BY ALL MEANS… go to Teen Camp (www.circlecbaptist.org).
Enjoy your summer. If you find yourself saying those dreaded words…. I’m Bored… WATCH OUT! The Devil is on your trail. Do some fun things this summer. Don’t get bored. Stay connected with your Youth Pastor and Church, stay busy, stay active and enjoy the Summer. Having fun is not a sin. This is the last summer you will ever have this year! LOL… Enjoy your Summer!
As we keep reading in John 17 we see more advice from Jesus for the summer…
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Jesus is preparing the disciples for success during the time when He would leave for Heaven. Here Jesus gives us another great tip for having a Spiritual Summer…
II. Stay Separated
OH NO! I just said the dreaded S-word! But especially during the summer, staying separated from the world is a key component to having a Spiritual summer. There are 3 areas of life that I must guard and maintain spiritual separation in during the summer to ensure success:
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
In the summer we often spend much more time with friends and family who we may not see during the school year.We must be careful to be an influence and not just be influenced. The people we hang around during the summer, will often determine the spiritual decisions we make during this time.
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Stay close to those who are close to God. Keep your distance from those who are distant from God. You can reach them for Christ, but if you are not careful, even good friends and close family can pull you away from Christ during the summer.
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
It is during the summer that we have free time to visit places that we don’t usually get to visit during the year. We also have more opportunities and temptations to go places and do things we shouldn’t. Just because it is summer does not mean it is acceptable for Christians to go places they are not supposed to go. The Holy Spirit of God goes everywhere you do, so wherever you go and whatever you see there, God goes and sees with you.
I Cor 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
I am sure there will be many activities and things to do during your summer. The Devil will make sure to attempt to include sin and wrong to your calendar every day. In order to have a spiritual summer, you must separate from projects and activities that are sinful and wrong. Do not deviate from Christ, deviate from the culture.
No one wants to come to the end of summer and be backslidden, but many have and will.
III. Search The Scriptures
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Jesus reminds the Disciples here that they have the Word of God with them. Jesus was going to be crucified and would be leaving, but they would still have the Word of God. He also prays that God would reveal some things to them about His Word.
- Spiritual Growth Through The Word
- Simple Faith In The Word
“Sanctify them through thy truth: …” – Jesus lets them know that it is through the Word of God that we are sanctified. Spiritual growth is achieved through the Bible.
“thy word is truth” – The key to growing spiritually through the Word of God is to simply believe it is the ultimate, absolute truth.
Jesus did not leave the Disciples without a connection to Him or His Father. He knew they had the Word of God. During the summer, we step away from our schedules, and we have a lot more free, relaxed time. The days are less rigorous and demanding and more relaxing and mellow.
If we are not careful we will lay down our Bibles from Sunday to Sunday and only pick them up to go to church. In doing so, we do ourselves a great disservice.
Remember, spiritual growth comes through the word as well as simple faith.
NO BIBLE = NO GROWTH
Tell me how much you have been reading your Bible this summer and I will tell you whether or not you are headed for a spiritual summer or for a backslidden one.
Without spending time in the Word of God, we become cold to the things of God. Church is not important nor interesting, friends of God become enemies and sin is easier and more acceptable.
All of this because of not reading the Bible? YES! It is that Important!
- Decide to Read the Bible Everyday
If you are new to reading it, start in John, Psalms, Proverbs, or Romans. Start with 1 Chapter a day, then 2, then 3. Read and let God speak to you through the Words. The Bible is GOD’s WORDS.
- Decide to DO What You Read
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Take God at His Word. Try Him. Put Him to the test. Take the Bible and put it to practice in your life. When you find a truth, a promise, a warning, or an example, take it, claim it, believe it, obey it and watch God work it in your life.
- Keep Your Bible Open This Summer
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Don’t close your Bible like a book you sit on a shelf. Leave it open on your dresser. Let it stare at you every morning. Let those black and white pages stare back at you like God’s eyeballs. He can see you you know!?
Maybe with the Bible open, you wont forget to read it. Maybe with the Bible open you wont listen to that song, watch that movie, say those words or disrespect your parents. Maybe knowing God is looking right at you and you seeing those pages stare back at you will “Sanctify” you.
How do we have a Spiritual Summer?
- Summer Fun
- Stay Separated
- Search the Scriptures
Youth | Assistant Pastor
Clays Mill Baptist Chruch