By Weylan Deaver
Jesus observed that, when the fig tree puts out leaves, “you know that summer is near” (Matt. 24:32). In Texas, the mercury in the thermometer is rising, kids are almost out of school, trees are in bloom, thoughts of travel steal into our minds. Let’s remember some things this vacation season.
First, God does not go on vacation. The God who created summers (cf. Psalm 74:17) expects to be our God during the summer. He does not take leave from maintaining the universe, from blessing us, or from listening to our prayers. Nor should we try to take a vacation from God. On Mount Carmel, Elijah poked fun at the false god of the Baal worshipers, suggesting that Baal wasn’t answering his followers because he had gone away on a trip (1 Kings 18:27). Thankfully, the true God is constant and dependable. Are we?
Second, watch what you wear (others surely will). Since the world is not trying to please God, shouldn’t it raise a red flag if we find ourselves dressing (or, undressing) like the world? One of the “works of the flesh” listed in Galatians 5:19 is the Greek word aselgeia, which is translated as “sensuality” (ESV, NASB), or “lasciviousness” (ASV, KJV), or “lewdness” (NKJV). Aselgeia has to do with an attitude that ignores spiritual purity and, instead, emphasizes the flesh, without respecting holiness or the impression made on other people. We kid ourselves if we say, “no one cares or pays attention to what I wear.” We ought to be covered—at a minimum—to the knees. If we can show half our skin (or more) to strangers and not be embarrassed, something is wrong (cf. Jer. 6:15). Being at a pool or the beach does not excuse “sensuality” in attire. Neither does a hot day.
Third, if you travel this summer, find the faithful. Hebrews 10:25 is part of God’s word, even during June, July and August. The obligation to assemble with the saints to worship the Lord does not go away just because we do. Besides, it is easier to plan ahead and find the Lord’s people today than it ever has been. You can look up churches on the internet, check their websites, map it online. If all else fails and you find yourself separated from brethren on the Lord’s day, have a worship service with your own family. The point is not to neglect God, even if the brethren back home will never know.
Fourth, upgrade your understanding this summer. Unlike software, apps, or cell phones, our minds are the only thing we can upgrade and still take with us into eternity. The Bible calls on us to be making continual spiritual progress (cf. 1 Tim. 4:15). Summer is no time to slack off from growing in the faith. Why not find a good commentary to read on a particular book in the Bible? Take your studying to a new level. How about a biography of a gospel preacher of days gone by, such as Alexander Campbell, Barton Warren Stone, Raccoon John Smith, or a dozen others? Read or watch a helpful religious debate. Study some ancient church history written in the early centuries after the New Testament. Of course, there’s no substitute for reading the Bible itself. At the rate of three chapters a day, you could read the entire New Testament this summer. With summer approaching, let’s purpose to be better servants of God before summer is over.