By: Timothy Spurgeon, Resonate WSU
The days get warmer, the sun takes its time to set, and our minds are filled with plans of what is next. As summer arrives, some of us are packing up our residence halls, others are re-signing leases, and most are leaving our college towns for summer vacation. No longer are we stressing about classes or waking up early to start the assignment we for sure should have done the day before (#DueTomorrowDoTomorrow). We are looking forward to taking a break, a time away from the things that provided stress during the school year. We are looking for rest.
Yet our sin and our desires can warp our summer time. We are tempted to seek enjoyment out of hours of Netflix, or posting pictures of the sandy beaches. The world has told us that our enjoyment comes from doing either absolutely nothing, or filling ourselves with worldly pleasures like cruise ships and beaches. Do not find enjoyment in the things you do or don’t do during this season, find enjoyment in the God who created you and seeks to draw near to you. Draw near by seeking His word and His presence, by asking for accountability and utilizing your time for His mission. Year after year, we have seen many people come back from summer break lagging in joy, more empty than when they left. Here’s some baseline components for how to not waste your summer.
Summer is one of the best times to rest. Your days are longer, and if you have not picked up that summer job yet, I would say the day is in your hands. So seek rest, but seek rest in the right things. Netflix will not bring you the satisfaction you desire. Laying mindlessly on the side of the pool will not provide the real rest that will quench the thirst you feel. In Psalms 42 it says “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” You are thirsty for the Living God, not the empty promises your bed whispers to you. Where can you meet with God? Wherever you are. You house the Holy Spirit. As Jesus says in Matthew 28 at the end of the great commission, He is with you always, till the very end of times. Run to Him through daily reading of His word, and praying to Him always. True satisfaction comes from our relationship with God, not from the things of this world.
Wherever you find yourself this summer, whether it be home or a mission trip or across the country for an internship, the enemy is waiting. If we are going home, old habits await under our roof. If we are going on a mission trip, distractions await us. Wherever we go, the enemy is a prowling lion, waiting to devour us by any means necessary (1 Peter 5:8). That is why we must seek counsel. We must ask community to keep us accountable in our walk. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” When you fall to sin, seek those that will point you back to the grace you so desperately need. We cannot go through summer without repenting and believing; otherwise we will not be pursuing righteousness, but comfort and the easy way of life. Our community does not have to just be our community when we are around each other or during the school year. We have phones, we have facetime, email. We have many modes of communication at our fingertips to chase down the healing we will find in confessing to one another.
Making disciples is not a role within Resonate church, it is a biblical mandate wherever you go, no matter the season. When you go home, there are old high school friends who are far from the Lord. When you go on that mission trip, there are lost people in that area you are living in. At work, your coworkers are far from Jesus. You have a community leading you toward healing, and your soul is no longer thirsty as you have met with Jesus during that DT that morning. Those people in your life that do not know the Lord are still thirsty; they still feel like they are not good enough. They feel anxiety and cannot seem to find the solution. They choose temporary earthly things to fill the gap. You have to choose them. You can choose to show them who Jesus is to you. Tell them how our souls long for the Lord and not that house party, not that significant other, not your career. Matthew 20:28 says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Serve those around you and give your life as a ransom for those that do not know the gospel. Sacrifice for the sake of those that are far from the Lord.
God does not care where you are during your summer. You can be in San Diego for 10 weeks, or you can be home for the three months. God is going to use you and grow you no matter where you are. But, if you live your summer as YOUR time off and not give the Lord reins to this potentially fruitful season, you will have an awful, unfulfilling, and wasteful summer. God wants you near him. He wants you to pursue Him and make Him the center of your summer just as much as you make Him your center during the school year. So choose Him. Choose Him over your mindless lazy Saturday by the pool. Choose Him over Netflix. Choose Him because when you were dead in your sin, when you were not worthy of being chosen, God being rich in mercy chose you. Glorify God this summer, do not glorify summer.