Fall! Just the word brings to mind a host of images and memories. Football season, school schedules, halloween costumes, and the beloved (or reviled) Pumpkin Spice Latte. As school ramps up, work travel schedules begin to emerge, or the monotony of life hums along, here are a few words of encouragement for you!
1. Remember the Creator of your youth.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
Our steps can only be rightly ordered when we are captivated by the magnitude of God’s character. He is the creator and sustainer of life. He is sovereign and creative beyond all measure. He is holy and completely faithful. God created the expanses of the universe, is all-knowing, and is all-powerful. We can only pursue what is good and image God rightly by remembering who He is and what great grace has been shown to His children in the gospel. As you read Scripture, ask yourself what each passage shows you about who God is.
2. Take advantage of the season you have been given.
“ And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” Acts 17:26.
Freshman year of college? Single and serving your community? Recently celebrated your third wedding anniversary? New to faith in Christ? All of these seasons have distinct ways that God is glorified. Instead of grumbling against what is not yours, pray for eyes to see ways you can know God and serve others more deeply because of your season of life. Sidestep the trap of comparison and instead count the ways God has been kind. You can count on His steadfast love to sustain you regardless of circumstance.
3.Pursue godliness and build Christ-like character.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Roman 5:3-5
Exam grades are important but you likely won’t remember the exact grade you got in several years. Kind and compassionate words are important but when the storm your friend is facing has passed, they likely won’t recall each word you spoke. Instead, what will remain is the diligent character you cultivated to steward your education and the humility in offering Christ as all-comforting to a suffering friend. This fall, do many good things and do them in light of the fear of God and to build character that will one day yield fruit in unexpected ways.
4. Enjoy what God has given you to enjoy.
“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,” Ecclesiastes 2:24
Pursuing Jesus is a gift and it is a hope that colors life now! God’s saving grace took the form of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. God’s sustaining grace takes the form of faith that forms every Christ follower. And God’s common grace, or the undeserved gifts God gives to all of humankind, can look like any of the trillions of ways the Lord shows kindness to you. Start counting and be surprised by the depth of God’s care for you. Loving husband? Thank God for him and enjoy your relationship! Enjoyable and meaningful work? Thank God and work diligently and be filled with joy! Desire to read the Bible and know God more? Thank God and read with all the more thanksgiving!
5. Remember the joy of the Lord is your strength.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
Right now on this side of the next few months, you cannot predict your worst day and you cannot articulate the ups and downs of the best day. Knowing everything God knows is not an option, but trusting Him is the believer’s invitation into deeper faith. As you plan and order your days this fall, place your confidence in who God is fully and completely.
Questions for Reflection
Answer these questions in a journal or with a friend!
What reminds you of God’s character and leads you to worship Him? How will you do those things this fall?
What are some unique advantages of this season? Who can you share this with so they can remind you? Who can you encourage in a different season of life?
What part of your character are you hoping the Lord does the most work in?
What has God given you to enjoy in this season? How quickly do you praise Him for that?
What challenges do you see on the horizon for the rest of 2016? What promises do you need to hold fast to?