You can feel it in the air. You can see the glimmer in others’ eyes. It’s coming. It’s almost here. Just a few more months, a few more weeks, a few more days. It’s coming. That sweet whisper of freedom — summertime.
Yes, there’s still some tests to pass and papers to write, but soon enough summer will be here. That glorious time when school is out, responsibilities lessen, and the open sky and water beckon us to come join them. (And remind me that it’s time for this red head to start bathing in sunblock again.) The days are longer, the sun is hotter, and adventure seems possible. What better time to renew yourself in running full-heartedly after God?
Yet sometimes, that’s not as easy as it seems. So here’s 5 practical ways to glorify God over the summer, and one pitfall to avoid.
1. Dig Into His Word
Yes, this is always at the top of these lists. But cliches become so because they’re true. While there’s never a bad time to read the Bible, summer gives us extra opportunity to do so. The sun is up earlier and down later, so use that extra time to soak in some scripture at the bookends of your day. That class period is empty now, so you can read an extra chapter.
But don’t be content with just scanning, just reading. Memorize, meditate on it, search out the meanings and cross-references of what you read. Show yourself to be a workman that does not need to be ashamed, who rightly handles the Word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15) Join a Bible study or small group near you, a place that encourages you to dive deep in the everlasting truth.
2. Serve and Encourage His People
Often we think of service only in terms of the world, of those outside the church. But believers need encouragement too, and often more so, as we are ever embroiled in the battle for eternity. Take a friend out for ice cream and talk about spiritual things. See if that single mom needs someone to babysit for the day, or if the elderly gentleman needs someone to do his lawn. Invite all the youth in your church over for a volleyball game. Be like Stephanas, who was “addicted” to the ministry of the saints (1 Cor. 16:15).
My brother has made a habit of taking a spiritual leader in his life out to coffee every month or so. In doing so, he not only encourages them, but also is built up and grown himself.
3. Determine What You Believe, And How To Go Deeper
We aren’t meant to sit still in our spiritual journey. Stagnation in most anything means death. So let’s use this summer to grow, to learn, to mature. Read good books. Read hard books. Examine your position on current issues, and on old ones as well.
Determine to grow. Examine your life; where do you wish you were stronger? I want to learn more about prayer, so this summer I’m going to find books on it and do a study on it in my Bible reading.
“The proper motto is not ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,’ but ‘Be good sweet maid, and don’t forget that this involves being as clever as you can.’ God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers.” -C. S. Lewis
4. Declare the Gospel
I’ll admit, this one is hard for me. I can proclaim the Gospel when I’m teaching the Bible story to my kids at school (all 70 of them), but in normal, everyday life? That’s hard. And scary. So I’ve determined to improve this. The Gospel is of imperative, ultimate importance. So let’s stop hiding it, and star shining the light so all can see.
This summer you’re more likely to be around others. Use these opportunities to bring up spiritual topics. Work together with organizations that proclaim the Gospel. One of the best ways to do so is to:
5. Get Involved
All truth is practical. All love is practical. If your love doesn’t motivate you to act, it’s probably not very strong. Missions, pregnancy centers, and food pantries are almost always low staffed. Call your local one, and ask how you can help. Often what is needed is not more donations, but more volunteers to love on others.
And it’s amazing the changes your simple presence can create. Lives can be changed, hope can be renewed.
But in all our big work, we can be tempted to fall into something that certainly does not glorify God.
6: Don’t Idolize the Big Things Over the Small
Often we get caught up in wanting to do the big things. We want to be out preaching the Gospel in third-world countries, running awareness programs for human trafficking, or taking care of orphans in China. And those are good things which glorify God. But sometimes life sticks us behind counters working all summer, babysitting nephews and nieces, or taking care of sick relatives . And we forget that those are also good things which glorify God.
He has called us to be faithful right where we are. If we’re not careful, our longings to be doing the ‘big things’ can turn into envy and discontent. Just because we’re not on the front lines doesn’t mean we aren’t helping to win the war. How busy your summer is doesn’t equal how godly your summer is. Sometimes the most faithful thing you can do is to quietly and consistently serve those around you.
Summer is a time of sunshine and laughter, but in that, it’s easy to let the things of God slide. What if instead of living our summers with God as an afterthought, He was our only thought? What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So let’s make that our mission, even in the midst of summertime.