Summer is probably everyone’s favourite season. Basking in the warmth of the sun!
The long sunny days have banished the cold winter nights. It’s a season of rest. The hard work of spring, plowing, planting, cleaning, is done. Fruit is growing.
Summer is a season where things just flow.
The effort required in this season, especially compared to all the others, is significantly less.
Joy is abundant, fruit is readily available, spiritual insights flow. We are warmed and refreshed.
It’s a season of abundance and play.
Summer of the heart is an interesting season.
It’s a glimpse into heaven.
“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month.” (Revelation 22: 1-2 NLT)
This gives us the idea that summer happens all year in heaven, “a fresh crop each month,” fruit year around.
And if we forget that summer gives us a small glimpse of heaven, as summer begins to fade and the days begin to become shorter, we run the risk of resenting the change of the seasons. Fall is coming after all.
A caution about summer…
It’s because of this that the summer of the heart is also a season where it’s extremely easy to become nostalgic. We remember what was. Reflecting on where we have been. Both the good and the bad.
Our nostalgia can bring gladness, and it can also convey feelings of regret and mourning, even unforgiveness.
Mark Buchanan says it this way:
“Both unforgiveness and nostalgia share the trait of an unreconciled past. Nostalgia is a vain attempt to reconcile the past through wistfulness, whereas unforgiveness is a doomed attempt to reconcile through vengeance.”1
This can be a dangerous place. A season supposed to give us a glimpse of heaven can actually be a burden.
How to be Fruitful in Summer
Three activities are best done in summer and also a couple warnings.
Deal with the Nostalgia:
It’s a great season to deal with what was.
“The past is actually only ever reconciled through four things: thankfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, and repentance.”1
Reflect on your life. Take the time to deal with the past.
Be still, and know that I am God! (Psalm 46:10)
It’s a time to rest and renew our presence with God, to hear his voice. There is a peace in summer, that is absent in the work of spring and fall, and winter’s silence is not peaceful and restful.
Summer produces crops, which are called firstfruits.
These firstfruits are God-given, and also what you should be giving back to God. So ask yourself, who and what are getting the best of you? Not who or what is getting the most of your time, but rather, what are you truly showing up for? Specifically look at the time you are spending with God. Is he getting your best?
Be aware of these firstfruits in your life. Harvest them. And give them back to God.
And as for the warnings in summer…
The first is mistaking leafiness for firstfruits.
We are to be known by our fruits, not the leaves on the tree. So what does leafiness mean in the seasons of the heart?
Summer can bring the tendency to become spiritually busy. We have the energy and the spare time to get things done and feel productive. But are we actually doing the important things?
We can tend to do too much and overdo it. How many of you need a vacation to recover from the holiday that was so busy you didn’t actually rest?
Whatever these activities are for you, they can bring about the looks of fruit, a tree full of leaves. But when you get closer and examine the tree, there is not fruit.
Busyness, without spiritual productivity.
There needs to be fruit produced, not a whole bunch of leaves.
So produce fruit!
The second warning is dehydration.
Summer both literally and in the heart brings about intentional rest and inactivity, and it’s very easy to let the well run dry. You can neglect the spiritual disciplines needed in all seasons.
Just like the danger of a drought, where water becomes scarce, and plants don’t get enough water, and the heat can kill.
So, much like you will soak things down to maintain hydration, soak in God’s presence.
Drink long and often!
I think many of us miss out on our spiritual summers. It’s not like natural summers that come regardless of whether we are ready. Summer of the heart is a tough road to travel.
To get to summer, we have to go through the dryness and absence of winter. We have to put in the work in spring.
Spiritual winter is ugly, alone, depressing.
Spring, is dirty, messy, and hard work. After all, dirt is dirty.
There is a cost.
We want to avoid the issues in life that bring on winter, and we don’t want to put in the work of spring.
So decide now that experiencing summer is worth it, have a taste of the kingdom to come. Because the harvest is coming, fall is just around the corner.
If you are in a season of summer, what does your glimpse of heaven look like? What nostalgia do you need to deal with? What firstfruits are you gathering? Share in the comments below, you just might give someone else perspective on something they can do in their own life.
1Buchanan, M. (2010). Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.