Vacation Time!

It’s summer vacation time! Time to get away! But do we take a vacation from God?

It’s summer vacation time!  Time to get away! But do we take a vacation from God?  I hope not. God goes with us wherever we go.  That means that even when we are away on vacation, we still worship God, we still serve God, we still represent God.  While you may be on vacation from your secular life, let’s make sure we aren’t also on vacation from our spiritual life.  Take your Bible with you and while you are on vacation, take a vacation to God! 

When we take a vacation, we usually ask four questions: 

(1) Where will we go?

(2) What route will we take?

(3) Where will we stay?

(4) What will we do?

1. Where will we go? 

This is usually our first problem in taking a vacation, where to go?  One of our favorite places is the Pacific Ocean.  By the seaside we find peace and rest.  What a great way to get away from it all and just listen to the waves roll in. 

Matthew 11:28, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.1

We find that place of spiritual rest in Jesus.  The labor He is speaking of here is the burden of religion.  Religion can be a lot of work!  Religion is all about us reaching up to God, while true Christianity is God reaching down to us. It seems to me that is what Christ is speaking of here. So while you are on vacation make sure you take some time to be alone with Jesus. Don’t be so busy that you don’t truly rest. By all means, have a good time but also refresh your soul. 

Isaiah 55:1, Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.1

Wow, think of it, going on vacation without expense!  That is what we can do when we take a vacation to God!  Here is the offer, just come to me and find rest for the soul.

Revelation 22:16-17, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.1

Come and drink freely!  No expense to stay, no motels to book, no food to buy.  Just come as you as are and drink deep from the blessings of the Bright and Morning Star! 

Ephesians 5:1, Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.1 An “imitator” is another way of saying a “follower.” To find that place of refreshment, we have to be willing to follow God!  Spiritually, we will go towards God or away from God. I don’t think you can stay in the same place. Not moving forward is moving back. If we want to lead our families, if we want to lead our church, we lead by following!  If we don’t lead by following then we are leading by wandering! Where are you leading?  To God or away from God? Make a conscience effort to lead your family toward God. 

So when you physically go on vacation, follow well to lead well.  Don’t take a vacation from the spiritual.  Have family devotions. Attend church wherever you are.  Pray together.  It will be the best vacation you’ve ever had! 

2.  What route will we take?

Usually when we are headed out on vacation, we get out the maps or we bring up Google on the computer and research the roads we will be driving to reach our destination. It’s important for us to know how to get where we are going or we will spend all our time needlessly wandering about. 

God’s Word says a lot about the path we should take. 

Psalm 16:11, You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.1

Proverbs 4:14-19, Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.1

I like the writer of Hebrews’ take on this: Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.1

The “cloud of witnesses” are all the folks listed in Chapter 11 of Hebrews who walked by faith, no matter the cost. We are exhorted here to lay down the weights of life and the burden of sin that keep us from running the race and look at Jesus! 

Once we are on that path we need to stay on it.  Ephesians 5:2, And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.1

The path of love is way to go. It is interesting that we are brought together by truth, but we are kept together by love!  Love overcomes. Let’s not forget the verses just before this exhortation to love. Ephesians 4:30-32. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.1

Love overcomes the flesh! The flesh keeps us from following Jesus.  The path Jesus asks us to walk is the same one He walked. Love says: “Take up your cross and follow.”  Salvation is free, but Christianity will cost you something.  Travel this path, dear friend, knowing there will be a toll!  Yet, the joy of the journey! So be willing to pay the price.  Do we love Jesus enough to follow?  To pay the tolls?

But there is another route.  It may seem easier, it may seem faster, it may seem like a shortcut; but in the end, it leads us away from the destination, not to it.

Ephesians 5:3-7, But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.1

Here we see the exhortation “Be not partakers with them.”  Yet, we find all of these things among God’s people!  How can that be?  Many have chosen the route that appears to have no toll.  Yet, there is a hidden tax!  The idea of a “no cost” Christianity is a falsehood.  In reality, the price of wandering is far greater.  The loss of fellowship, the loss of relationships, the loss of family, the loss of joy and the loss of love. It’s a very steep price to follow the wrong path. 

3. Where will we Stay?

We know where we are headed and we have the route planned. Now where will we stay along the way?  On my fiftieth birthday, my sweet bride surprised me with a trip to the Oregon Coast where we stayed in a hotel right on the beach. It was wonderful!  To look out at night and see the moonlit waves rolling in, to hear the breakers and to smell the sea, it’s almost heaven on earth. 

When we take our vacation to God, it is important that we stay in one and only one place.  John 15:4, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.1

When we abide, we stay put. Jesus is teaching us here that we need to continue to draw our strength from him by surrendering our lives daily to His Holy Spirit.  When we abide we produce good fruit, the fruit of the Spirit.

John 16:33, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”1

When we abide in Christ, the brokenness of the world, while it may well hurt, cannot overwhelm us.  We are in Christ and He has overcome! 

But if we choose to take the easy way, the “no cost” Christianityroute, here is where we stay; Ephesians 5:8-12, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.1

The exhortation here is not to have “fellowship with darkness.” When we fellowship with the darkness, we are dwelling there.  We are choosing to stay in a very dangerous place.  We have the light of God, but sometimes we let it get pretty dim. 

We have a couple of biblical examples.  Lot, Abraham’s nephew who dwelt in the gates of Sodom, found himself in a dangerous place.  The light had gone dim.  The prodigal son who left the abode of his father to embrace riotous living found himself starving and eating with pigs.  The light had gone dim. What happened with these two? They chose to abide in the wrong place. When you go on vacation, the last thing you want to do is put yourself and your family in danger. Don’t put yourself and your family in spiritual danger by abiding in the wrong place!

Where will we stay if we desire to truly follow Christ? According to vs. 8-10, above, we will abide in the light! 1 John 1:7, But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.1

Our fellowship with God and with one another is based on walking and dwelling in the light of God. The only way I know to do that is reading the old Book! God’s Word is a lamp to our feet, (daily guide) and a light to our path (for a lifetime). (Psalm 119)  If you really want to stay in the light of God, spend time in His Word and time on your knees. Ephesians 5:13-14! But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”1

4. What will we do? 

It seems to me there are two types of vacationers out there.  Those who really work at play and those who don’t!  Kathy are I are in the latter category.  When we go on vacation, we like to eat, sleep, and walk on the beach.  When we take a vacation to God, what will we do?  What is the activity? Worship! 

John 4:14, God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”1

Psalm 29:2, Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.1

Psalm 95:6, Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.1

Revelation 14:7B, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”1

When you take a vacation to God, you leave the world behind and you worship!

So if we truly want to enter into to worship, we have to be intentional in where we are going spiritually.  Ephesians 5:17-18,See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. 1

Vs.18 is talking about control.  When a person gets drunk, they are out of control.  They do stupid things. What influence will control your life? That is the exhortation here. 

What will we do? We will worship and walk in the Spirit!  The word “circumspectly” means “exactly” or with a purpose.  Not wandering like Israel in the wilderness.  Not driving around aimlessly like a lost tourist.  God has purpose for your life.  That purpose is His glory. So we will redeem the time….or let it slip away. Redeeming the time isn’t making every moment productive in a secular sense. It’s using the time to know God, to worship Him, and to then live in a way that makes a difference in the culture. 

So in taking a vacation to God, we ask the same questions we do in taking any vacation. 

Where will we go? Either to God or from God. It’s our choice. 

What route will we take? Either the way of love or the way of the flesh.  It’s our choice. 

Where will we stay? Either in Christ in the light or in the world in the dark.  It’s our choice.

What will we do? Either worship and fellowship with God or go our own way.  It’s our choice. 

Matt. 11:29, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[1]

Summer Vacation time is here!  When you go on that vacation, take a vacation to God!!   ENJOY HIM! REST IN HIM!  FIND RESTORATION FOR YOUR SOUL! In so doing, you glorify Him!

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 11:29). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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