When many of us think of summertime, we think of vacations. Maybe you head to the beach. Some people prefer the mountains. Others want to tour the city or travel abroad. Perhaps this summer a staycation is in order. Wherever you like to go, I want to remind you that summertime is NOT a time to take a vacation from God. Indeed, our relationship to God is important no matter the season. If you have children, then I’m sure you want them to keep growing spiritually over the summer, too. So, how do we do that? Using the acronym, PT FROG, here are six secrets to summertime spiritual success for students, five of which work just as well for adults.
[For the visual learners, check out the video devotional version of this post: Six Secrets. Yes, I look younger in the video–because I was!]
P: Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 encourages us to have an ongoing conversation with God throughout the day. You don’t need Snapchat or any other app. Just talk to Him about what’s on your mind. You don’t need to use impressive words or a big vocabulary. Simply communicate with Him, and be sure to listen, too.
T: Thank God specifically. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to be thankful people. But to be thankful in all circumstances, I think we need to count our blessings in specific ways. Don’t just say, “God, I thank you for being good to me.” Thank Him for your vacation (even though there’s rain in the forecast), for your job (even though your boss is prickly), or for your family (even though your little one is going through her “terrible two’s”). Recount specific things for which you are thankful. It’ll make a difference!
F: Flee temptation. Too many times we want to dance around temptation–flirt with it. We like to see how close we can tiptoe up to the line without stepping over it. That’s not what the Bible teaches us to do. Joseph, when he was being tempted to have an affair with his boss’s wife, is a great example of fleeing temptation. When she went into the house, he went out of the house. When she went out into the fields, he went back into the house. Instead of flirting with temptation, we need to run away from it!
R: Read God’s Word. If you aren’t in the habit of regularly reading your Bible, maybe the more laid-back pace of summer might make it easier to get started. If you’ve never read through the Gospel of John, I recommend you start there. God’s Word is life-changing! Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible) is an ode to just how awesome the Scripture is. Try reading it daily, even if just for 5 minutes.
O: Obey your parents. This is the special one for kids. Ephesians 6:1-3 talks about obeying and honoring parents so that “it may go well with you”. What kid doesn’t want their summer to go well?!? Children can save themselves all kinds of strife by putting this one into practice. Parents, we don’t always get it right, so be sure to admit it when you are wrong and ask for your children’s forgiveness. That’s modeling godly relationship-mending.
G: Go to church. There are all kinds of excuses for not attending church regularly during the summer, but there are even better reasons to attend. You can use vacations to visit good churches in far away locales to see what God is doing there. I recommend you vet a church online before visiting in person. If you need help finding one, try searching here. Scripture is emphatic about the importance of fellowship–meeting together with other believers (see verses like Hebrews 10:25). You need encouragement, and others do, too. It is worth it!
OK, can you remember PT FROG? The good news is that summertime can be a time of spiritual growth. Have a great summer!