Don’t you love summertime? School’s out, schedules are relaxed, vacations are planned. We need reminding not to take a break from loving God. God never takes a vacation from us, and we should learn to get refreshed, relaxed, and renewed in our relationship with God during the varied summer schedule. It’s tempting to take time off from discipline, yet there are so many more benefits found in choosing God’s will instead of our own. We show God our passionate love and faithful dedication through our routine of practicing our personal values that keep us in close fellowship with Him.
I remember a season when I wanted time off from God. “No one will know,” said the voice in my head. “It’s only one drink.” Thankfully I didn’t cave in to the temptation. But it was a close call for me. I came within inches of backsliding into drinking alcohol. I was just a swig away from relapse. I remember the last time it happened, I thought, It’s OK. I can handle it. After all, it’s just one drink. And that one time led to one more and then another. It all started with that first poor choice. The enemy wants us to trust ourselves instead of relying on God’s power to withstand temptation—but even more than that, to mistrust the healthy boundaries given by God. He wants us to think guidelines are given to make us miss out, to make us feel like have less than what we are entitled to.
It’s the little choices that chip away at our defenses. We must protect our eyes, our ears, and ourselves from doing things that are not best for us. Even good is not good enough. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
I had promised myself I wouldn’t entertain the idea of drinking alcohol or even consider its delights. I had to be brutally honest with myself. I knew if I kept my mind set with longing glance at the enticing beverage, it would lead to a fixated desire, unhealthy rationalization, and finally compromise. I had committed, like Job, to turn away. Job’s commitment was to turn away from looking at women other than his wife. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman,” says Job 31:1. My commitment was to turn away from any alcoholic beverage, period.
Now maybe you don’t have a problem with alcohol. I am very happy for you. However, you might relate to this issue with any other kind of indulgence. Is it your best-kept secret? You and God know what your “no one will know” is. I am praying for you to stand firm in your authority in Christ and allow God to help you.
God is waiting for us to ask for his help. He is looking for ways to give you and me support, to give us a way of escape. We must be on guard so we will not let our defenses down and refuse to condone compromise. In the Bible, 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth, to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Dear Heavenly Father, we commit this summertime to you with a prayer from Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name, I will praise you O Lord, my God with all my heart, I will glorify your name forever.” In Jesus’ name, amen.