year Jim had determined the story would be different.
This year he certainly would live a life honoring and glorifying to the
At camp it had seemed it
would be so easy.
But now it was
just like last year.
for spiritual things had lasted only two or three weeks.
Then he had slipped right back into the same old rut he had been in
knew definitely he was saved.
had assurance of that from the Word of God (1 John 5:13).
He distinctly remembered the night at camp when he had trusted the Lord
Jesus Christ as his Savior (John 5:24, Acts 16:30-31, and Romans 10:9-10).
wished he could be back at camp right now.
“Why couldn’t a guy just live at camp all year?” he wondered aloud.
smile began to spread over his face as he reviewed the wonderful times he had
had at camp.
He remembered crawling
out of bed in the morning, struggling to get dressed, and then hurriedly running
out to the spacious area in front of the dining hall for exercises.
He remembered the sweaty feeling of playing ball under the hot summer
sun, and the delight of the spine-tingling dip in the lake which followed.
smile finally stretched its way across his face as he remembered his cabin’s
disastrous singing attempt at the annual talent show.
chattering of a squirrel in the tree beside him brought his thoughts back to the
The frown returned to his
Jim wanted to cry, but he was
too old to cry.
really seemed to recharge my spiritual battery, but it certainly didn’t take
long for my spiritual strength to run out,” he thought.
“Why couldn’t things here at home be the same as they were at camp?
What made camp such a great spiritual help anyway?”
Jim began to answer his own questions.
there were the great messages which he always looked forward to.
He visualized Uncle Ben standing at the front of the chapel, his booming
voice ringing out the simplicity of the gospel and the challenge of living the
It was after one
such message he had received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior (John 1:11-13).
here at home the preacher’s so boring he almost puts himself to sleep,” Jim
Then he began to recognize
he was being too critical.
ashamed as he realized how little attention he usually paid to the messages.
“I wonder what would happen if I looked forward to the messages here at
home and tried to get as much out of them as I could,” he considered.
camp there were also the devotional times of Bible reading and prayer.
“How well have I done since camp?”
Jim quizzed himself.
recalled how diligently he had read his Bible and set aside time for prayer when
he had first come home.
He knew the
few verses he was now reading and the hurried minutes he was now spending in
prayer, every once in a while, just before signing off for the night, were not
could still remember his counselor’s advice:
“Jim, you must take time each day to read your Bible and pray if
you’re going to grow as a Christian (1 Peter 2:2).
When you read the Bible, the Lord speaks to you, and when you pray, you
speak to the Lord.
Both parts of
this two-way communication system are necessary and important for spiritual
Jim’s thoughts drifted back to the good times playing sports, planning skits,
and just goofing off with the guys at camp.
Even when they put some girls on the team, a softball game at camp seemed
more fun than a game with the guys here at home.
concluded that it was more fun at camp because the kids there didn’t get mad
so easily, and there was not the constant swearing and dirty language which was
always present in the games here at home.
of his problem, Jim knew, was the group of unsaved guys he ran around with.
He cringed as he remembered the time he had been too cowardly to refuse a
cigarette when everyone else in the group was smoking.
He recalled the times he had missed the meetings at church to hang around
with the guys (Hebrews 10:25).
was thankful he had been home the time some of his “friends” had been caught
camp it had seemed it would be so easy to help them and witness to them, but he
hadn’t even told them he had gone to a
knew he should make a break with these unsaved guys.
They were tearing him down spiritually.
cam to Jim’s eyes again.
Jesus,” he said, “I realize now the problem is not that I’m not at camp,
but that I’m not the Christian I should be here at home.”
in the shadow of the boulder, as the sun was about to set, Jim renewed his
commitment to the Lord.
confessed the sinful things he had done since camp.
He promised to forsake them, and to maintain close fellowship with the
Lord by promptly confessing future sins (1 John 1:9).
he determined to set aside a time each and every day for Bible reading and
regardless of the cost, he would break his connection with the unsaved guys he
had been running around with.
wouldn’t be easy.
It would mean
ridicule and loneliness, but he would draw his strength from the Lord and look
forward to the time when the Lord would give him a close Christian buddy his own
age to share his life with.
he realized he must attend church regularly to take advantage of the Bible
teaching as well as the fellowship and sharing with other believers.
knew he must learn to lean on the Lord for the help and strength to accomplish
He knew how miserably
he had failed in his own strength.
knew his own efforts couldn’t produce any better results in the future (John
15:5, Philippians 4:13, and II Corinthians 12:9).
difficult enough to try to overcome just one of these problems,” Jim thought.
“What a gigantic job it is when you group them all together.”
is easy though, he decided.
thought of his neighbors, Julie and Debbie, who had gone to a Basketball Camp
They hadn’t learned
everything about basketball at that camp.
groaned as he thought of the many hours since then they had spent in their back
yard shooting, dribbling, passing, and rebounding.
But they finally made the team.
living for Jesus Christ worth even more effort?
sun dipped behind the western horizon, painting the clouds brilliant shades of
pink and purple.
Jim started toward
home, thinking of the big job which lay ahead.
Suddenly Hebrews 13:6 came to mind.
It was one of Uncle Ben’s favorite verses and one of the memory verses
“So we say with
confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?’”
smiled with relief as he thought aloud, “Camp next year will be great, but
there’s no reason the time between now and then can’t be just as great.”
Used by permission of the author