The school year is almost over! As a teacher, that probably brings me more joy than most (other than students). I look forward to summer: family time, late evenings, BBQs, swimming, vacation, a time to catch my breath and of course, a break from work. As I anticipate this time of year, I must confess that often the driving force behind my thoughts and emotions is not a desire to know God more and make Him known. When considering unscheduled free time and opportunities to get away, my selfishness can take over my thought life and desires.
This is particularly important in light of a recent sermon. Matthew 16:24-27 is still ringing in my ears (“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’”). Vacation time does not mean that I get to indulge myself with desires that bring personal satisfaction apart from God. I can find myself consumed with decisions: what places to visit, what events to participate in or attend, what would be the best restaurant to go to—really the things that will bring me the most personal satisfaction. While God has given us many things to enjoy, it is easy to make my joy the goal. I’m fairly certain that Jesus’ command to deny oneself, take up your cross and follow me cannot be put on hold while I’m on vacation.
Please consider other passages that warn us regarding pursuing temporal fleshly desires (1 John 2:15-17; Col. 3:2). Instead, we need to make extra effort to rely on God’s grace to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to look forward to the coming of Christ (Titus 2:11-14). With Memorial Day weekend upon us, I pray that we consider how we use our “free” time to redeem the time. I pray that we would glorify God by knowing Him more, encouraging other believers to know Him more and making Him known to an unbelieving world.