Summer: a time for sunshine and relaxation. As I look ahead to the summer, the thought of gathering seashells all day long sure does sound appealing. The hustle and bustle of life often slows and rest can become my craving. The kids are no longer in school and leisure for the family becomes an almost unquenchable appetite. But though vacations or slower days may be ahead, there still remains the need for the Lord.
Paul instructs us in Ephesians 5: 15-16 on the best way to use these summer days ahead. He says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” The phrase “making the best use of” is an instruction for us to redeem our days. How do we redeem our summer days? By looking carefully how we walk. This means that though summer days may usher in times of relaxation or downtime, we don’t take a vacation from pursuing God and wisdom for walking out our faith through His Word.
Here are a few simple ways to turn the lazy days of summer into purposeful, useful, redeemed days.
Turn relaxation into fellowship with friends
Times with girlfriends at the pool can turn into play and fellowship. In order to redeem our summer days we have to be intentional. Think of ways to encourage your friends or ask good questions. Many times small group studies will help generate spiritual discussions. Fellowship doesn’t need to be forced or drudgery. The more we make speaking about the Lord a priority, the more natural it will become. As we relax, let’s ask the Lord for opportunities to address each other in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).
Turn relaxation into fellowship with God
Hammocks and reading are staples in the summertime. If you don’t have a hammock but you enjoy reading, perhaps it’s cuddling under a tree. Whatever your signature reading spot is what we choose to read might help us redeem our summer days. It is, of course, a wonderful thing to read a variety of books. But it may be good to evaluate what we read throughout the summer and supplement some with good, biblically sound resources. There are plenty of books that aren’t drab, rather are full of great truth about the Lord. Consider using your relaxation time to soak in personal reflection on biblical truth. We usually read in preparation for gathering with others in a small group, why not reflect on your studies while enjoying the summer weather.
Involve your kids and their activities
School’s out for summer! Soccer has begun or gymnastics or swim team. Whatever it is, our summers with our kids can get busy with activities. Summer time isn’t a time for our kids to take a vacation from the Lord either. We must continue to train up our kids in the way they should go even through the summer (Proverbs 22:6). A simple way to do this is to maintain consistent devotional routines throughout the summer. And while you’re at it, why not find a few women at your kid’s practices or activities that you can engage in gospel-centered conversations? If you are there for significant time periods you can always form an organized discussion group.
Keep your quiet time
If you read your Bible throughout the year at a certain time, don’t stop because of summer. I’m not going to prescribe a time of day to read. That is up to you. But I imagine a temptation for many of us is to sleep in and put off reading the Bible. It’s hard to gain wisdom without reading the Word. Ask God to help you discipline your body to exercise self-control in all things (1 Corinthians 10: 25-27). A biblical study material may help direct your Bible reading and provide you with a clear plan for the summer. Maybe find a new time to read and make it consistent with the assistance of your Bible study material.
We know that our pursuit of God during the summer won’t add anything to our justification. It is by grace that we are saved and it is not by works so no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8). We are compelled by the love of Christ to run to Him and learn from Him even during the lazy days of summer. It is by God’s grace that we can pursue Him during our summer days. Let’s pray God helps us redeem our summer, not wasting it because the days are evil.