Summer: this time of year, the word slides out like a sigh of relief. It brings up thoughts of sleeping until noon, laying out in the sun, family vacations, and church camps. It’s supposed to be a time to recharge and refresh after those grueling months of cramming your brain with facts and figures, planning your future, and navigating the social drama of high school or college.
You deserve a season of rest. So take a break. But then you’ve got an important job to do: building your temple. Building? As in physical labor in this sweltering heat? I don’t think so!
I’m not talking about swinging a hammer, though. King Solomon was the wisest man of his time (1 Kings 4:31). When he had a break from wars and famine in his kingdom, he didn’t just sit back on his throne to have grapes dropped into his mouth and his face cooled with waving palm fronds. No, he used his season of peace to build God’s temple, saying, “But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God” (1 Kings 5:4, 5).
I’m not proposing you build a new church this summer, either. God’s temple isn’t found in anything made with hands anymore. It’s in each of us (1 Corinthians 6:19). So while you have a break from simply defending yourself from all the challenges the world has to throw at you, use this time to focus on fortifying your temple. Don’t let the days slip away in sheer idleness, with no focus or goal.
Back in August, I recommended you make goals for the school year. Now I want to encourage you to make goals for your summer. Build a solid foundation now, while you’re back in the loving fold of family and church, and away from “the sin which so easily entangles us” so often at school (Hebrews 12:1). During this time, God says that discipline is vital: although it feels like punishment at the time, what it actually does is take the weaknesses, the chinks in your armor from the battles of a hectic school year, and reinforces them. It strengthens your hands and knees, heals your injuries, and prepares you for the battles that will be here before long (Hebrews 12:12, 13).
So what do spiritual goals and discipline look like during summer? I recommend starting a Summer Spiritual Journal. While you don’t have the wild rush of getting to school on time, make time each morning for Bible study and prayer. Write about what you learn and what you’re praying about. Before the summer is over, this time will feel so vital to your day’s success that you will make time for it before school. When you have those “fired-up” experiences at church camp and Gospel meetings, write them down in your journal. Take notes during sermons and Bible classes, record how it feels to be so spiritually full, and why you’re feeling that way. Write letters to yourself to read during the school year, when you’re feeling completely drained and beaten-down from the daily onslaughts you face.
I know you feel tired; school is tough. But it’s over for now. Time to work on your temple. It might be as simple as a notebook and some morning time with God, but when August rolls around, your discipline this summer will make all the difference.