Welcome to the fall season! This is the time of year when kids go back to school, summer vacations are over and everyone gets back into the swing of a regular schedule. I like the fall season because it is a good time to recalibrate my life and take a fresh run at some healthier habits. Bad habits tend to grow like weeds in an untended summer garden. Once they have taken root they quickly grow and scatter their seeds, making it harder to rid ourselves of them. They typically sneak into our lives without a warning label telling us of the dangers. This story helps me make the point.
A farmers market was held in a village in North Carolina. Everyone brought his wares to trade and sell. One old farmer brought in a whole covey of quail. He had tied a string around one leg of each bird. The other ends of all the strings were tied to a ring which fit loosely over a central stick. He had taught the quail to walk dolefully in a circle, around and around, like mules at a sugarcane mill. Nobody seemed interested in buying the birds until a compassionate man came along. His heart went out to those poor little creatures walking in their monotonous circles.
“I want to buy them all,” he told the merchant, who was elated. After receiving the money, he was surprised to hear the buyer say, “Now, I want you to set them all free.” “What’s that, sir?”
“You heard me. Cut the strings from their legs and turn them loose. Set them all free!”
With a shrug, the old farmer bent down and snipped the strings off the quail. They were freed at last. What happened? The birds simply continued marching around and around in a circle. Finally, the man had to shoo them off. But even when they landed some distance away, they resumed their predictable march. Free, unfettered, released… yet they kept going around in circles as if still tied.
Honestly, sometimes we all feel more like the birds walking in a circle than we do the freely soaring souls God meant us to be. So let me challenge you this fall season to shake off your unhealthy habits and recapture your fresh freedom in Christ.
There are four ways that the Bible calls us to claim a fresh new season in Christian living.
First, God calls us to a fresh renewal in our relationship with Him. Have you ever felt spiritually dry or stuck in your relationship with God? Have you been at such a low ebb that you wondered if you will ever feel excited about God again? Well then, you are not alone! At a time when everything looked bleak and depressing in Israel, the prophet Jeremiah stepped out in bold faith and prayed this prayer of renewal. Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old— Lamentations 5:21. It was like the prophet was calling on God to turn back the clock to an earlier time when God’s people were alive and excited about their special relationship to Him. Has distance between you and God grown over the summer? You didn’t intend it...it just happened like an untended garden when the weeds suddenly spring up. Here is the first step toward a fresh fall start. Pray this simple prayer: “Restore me to yourself, O LORD, and then I will be fully restored. Take me back to my first love of You. Amen.”
Second, God calls us to a fresh renewal with a clean heart and a right attitude. After a season of secret sinning, King David was confronted with his adulterous affair. David disregarded what he knew about God and willfully walked into a messy romance with Bathsheba. When David finally came to his senses, he confessed his sin to God and prayed this prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 Do you need a fresh start after feeling the adverse impact of your bad choices? The good news is that God is ready to forgive you, cleanse you and create something new inside of you. Sometimes it takes brutal honesty and firm commitment to recapture a fresh start with God. Try doing an inventory of your life. Sort through everything that you know has displeased God and kept you from being at your best. Then confess your sins and claim the authority He has given you to His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Then start down the new road of a clean heart and right attitudes.
Third, God calls us to a fresh renewal of dependence on Him for strength. Some seasons of life are more exhausting than others. Do you feel burdened or under heavy stress? Are you waking up feeling tired and depressed? Have you been through some traumatic episode that has drained you of your emotional reserves? That experience is not uncommon.
Everyone goes through times of weakness and weariness. Here is a promise for you to claim. They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Lastly, God calls us to a fresh renewal of expecting His miraculous work. Sometimes we sink into a deep hole thinking that “nothing will ever change.” Of course, that thinking is a lie but if we believe the lie it will control us and keep us living in doubt not faith. I want to challenge you to renew your hope that God is at work to do the miraculous. This prayer of Habakkuk is one you could do well to pray every day. O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2
Why struggle to survive in a stagnant pond of existence when God has called you to walk on water in the middle of the storm? There is a fresh season waiting for you this fall...a season of renewal...a season of empowerment from God. What’s keeping your from it? Why not seek God for it? He is the Maker of the seasons and there is a fresh one waiting for you!
"Bad habits tend to grow like weeds in an untended summer garden. Once they have taken root they quickly grow and scatter their seeds, making it harder to rid ourselves of them."
"Let me challenge you this fall season to shake off your unhealthy habits and re-capture your fresh freedom in Christ."
"Has distance between you and God grown over the summer? You didn’t intend it...it just happened like an untended garden when the weeds suddenly spring up."
"Do you need a fresh start after feeling the adverse impact of your bad choices? The good news is that God is ready to forgive you, cleanse you and create something new inside of you."
"Why struggle to survive in a stagnant pond of existence when God has called you to walk on water in the middle of the storm? There is a fresh season waiting for you this fall...a season of renewal...a season of empowerment from God."