Finals just ended. Friends are hanging out by the pool. Beach trips are being planned. Pale bodies are being burnt by the sun. Its summertime.
Summer as a college student is a unique time in our lives. It is full of fun, relaxation, spontaneous nights, and many great memories. But unfortunately, going right along side all of this are missed opportunities. We seem to have engrained in our minds that summer time is our time. We see it as break from not just school but everything, and a lot of times we tend to take a hiatus from our relationship with God as well. During this time we see our church attendance as unnecessary. We put off spending time with God until there’s nothing else to do. We take a step back from serving others and begin to look at our own desires. Everything gets placed behind our life.
Why does summer do this to us? Well, summer strips us of our daily routine and the habits that we have created during school and replaces it with unstructured free time. When we have no structure to our day, our apathetic and lazy habits make their way into our daily schedule. We spend our days playing countless hours of Xbox, watching entire seasons of Netflix, laying by the pool with no purpose, and filling our time with no productivity. Now, none of these things are bad in and of themselves, but what they reveal is our apathetic hearts. The devil not only tempts us into acts of sin but also tempts us to be idle in pursuing righteousness. I am saying this because this a huge struggle for myself, and I am continually having to fight the urge to be unproductive and lazy, especially with my walk with God.
In order to combat laziness this summer, we need to do as Paul instructs the Ephesians to do when he tells them to, “look carefully then how you walk, not as the unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time” (Ephesians 5:15-16). I want to challenge you to “look carefully how you walk” this summer. If we never take a step back and assess our lives, we will never see where we can improve. So throughout this summer, we should be asking ourselves questions to examine how we are walking. Where is our heart? Are we making the best use of our time? Are we pursuing God diligently? Is our time being used for our enjoyment or the betterment of others in Christ? Simply, are we wasting our summer?
We often say we just don’t have enough time to spend time with God daily, but in reality, it is just a misplacement of our time. For example, think about your normal day by the pool. How often do we check Twitter or Facebook on our phones, and waste a large amount of time being unproductive? Instead of laying by the pool sleeping or sporadically checking our phones, what if we put our phones away and pulled out our Bible, a book, or a journal? Many times, it is not where we spend our time that leads to apathy, but instead, it is how we fill our free time wherever we are.
Not only are we lax with our relationship with the Lord, but we also tend to put our dreams and passions behind the fun and games of summer. During the school year, we are doing all we can to prepare for what the future holds, but when it comes to summer, we feel like we need to take a break. But what if we used this free time as an opportunity to pursue our passions and dreams. God wants us to be proactive and prepare for what the future holds. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” When God gives us a summer full of free time, will we spend any of it sharpening our axe?
So what do you want to accomplish this summer?
Do you have a passion you’ve always wanted to pursue? Chase after it.
Do you have a stack of books you’ve been wanting to read? Write out a summer reading list and then carve out time to read them.
Is there a ministry you have been wanting to be a part of? Go and begin to serve along side them.
Do you have ideas swirling around your head? Go buy a journal and make a goal to fill it cover to cover by the end of the summer.
In all of these things, if we don’t set goals and plan our time to accomplish them, we will fall into the easiest choice, and that is to do nothing. We have to set standards and goals for ourselves. Maybe you give yourself a goal to read through the entire New Testament. Maybe you challenge yourself to finish a certain amount of books. Maybe you take a month long break from social media to free up your time to spend doing things you really care about. Each of our goals will look different, but no matter what they are we have to fight to accomplish them because our innate desire will always be to take the easier road of apathy.
Summer is a break from many things, but not a time to take a break from God. Pursue Him and the passions He has given you. You will not regret it.
Director of Students at Rock Point Church
Chandler Vannoy is the Director of Students at Rock Point Church in Chattanooga, TN. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and is now pursuing his Masters of Divinity at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He loves the NBA, C.S Lewis, and good coffee. Simply put, Chandler is just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who can save anybody.