I have never liked the eighth month of the year. It is hot. It is long. And it is the last month to survive without football.
Doesn’t sound too spiritual, eh?! Easter is a distant memory. We are months away from the first Christmas decorations being hung in the mall. It is almost three months before we celebrate God’s grand work in the Protestant Reformation.
What are we to do?
Have you ever heard the term “The Dogs Days of Summer”?
One online dictionary provides two definitions for this concept.
1. The hot, sultry period of summer between early July and early September.
2. A period of stagnation
Without a doubt, Tennessee in August in hot and sultry! When I cut the grass today, the temperature was around 85 and so was the humidity! The idea of stagnation is also a reality. The grass which was growing rapidly in Spring and Early Summer has slowed. So has my motivation to begin or complete outside projects. It is an indoor season where we enjoy modern amenities as we eagerly await fall.
Sounds like an opportunity to me!
Sounds like an opportunity for me to avoid spiritual stagnation. However–if I can be honest with you–the opportunity before me is one of re-engagement. I’ve been reading God’s Word and praying some and attending church, but duty rather than desire best describes my condition as of late.
Ever been there? Ever been in the place where “restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12) became more than just a heart-felt prayer of King David?
This “man-after-God’s-own-heart” didn’t conclude his prayer with those words. He added, “And sustain me with a willing spirit.” In The Message, Eugene Peterson rendered that request, “And put fresh wind in my sails”! Indeed! Perhaps a better understanding of this prayer unites both the Spirit of God with the spirit of the man of God. David is admitting that his spirit needs the Holy Spirit! “If I be left to myself” Matthew Henry worded the petition, “I shall certainly sink” (e-Sword quotations).
We certainly shall sink if left to ourselves! We sink every time we attempt to please God apart from God. Without Christ, we cannot grow in our love or passion for Christ (John 15:5).
So–what should be our plan as these “dog days” continue? Fellowship with Jesus! The means of grace are gifts given to us to enjoy our relationship with Christ. And while they do indeed remain duties, they can also be–should also be–delights. May God grant us the joy and willing spirits we desperately require to avoid spiritual stagnation.
Pray that for me. I’ll pray the same for you if you need me to.