John Piper and Reach Records have collaborated to unashamedly call people to make good use of their brief time on earth. Don’t Waste Your Life is the mantra this movement has been advanced under. Over the first few days of my summer break I have been enjoying both the book and the song that go by this title as well. My time with these has gotten me thinking. Not only do I want to live an unwasted life, but, as this summer is part of my life, I don’t want to waste my summer either. Because an unwasted summer is only one part of an unwasted life.
So, what exactly does an unwasted summer look like?
An individual who uses their summer to pursue the end that God has predestined them for does not waste their summer. God has saved Christians in order to conform them to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). The main purpose in the life of a Christian is to glorify God, and one way they do that is through becoming more like Jesus. This doesn’t happen by accident.
Becoming like Jesus isn’t easy. But, through the means that God has provided, it is possible. One of the primary means by which a Christian becomes more like Christ is through reading the Bible. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth,” is the prayer Jesus prayed for all of his disciples. Christians are made like Christ by reading Christ’s words. Just as becoming like Jesus doesn’t happen by accident, neither does reading the Bible happen by accident – it takes intentionality.
For the Christian, an unwasted summer is one spent in pursuit of that end for which God has saved Christians – to become like Christ so that Christ will be praised. This is done through intentionally beholding the glory of Christ in the gospel as presented in the Bible.
Christian, don’t waste your summer; instead, be intentional, behold Christs glory through purposefully meeting with God in His word daily. If you do that, you will not have wasted your summer. And hey, who knows? Perhaps an unwasted summer could be the launching pad of an unwasted life.
What a tragic waste when people turn away from the Calvary road of love and suffering. All the riches of the glory of God in Christ are on that road. All the sweetest fellowship with Jesus is there. All the treasures of assurance. All the ecstasies of joy. All the clearest sightings of eternity. All the noblest camaraderie. All the humblest affections. All the most tender acts of forgiving kindness. All the deepest discoveries of God’s Word. All the most earnest prayers. They are all on the Calvary road where Jesus walks with his people. Take up your cross and follow Jesus. On this road, and this road alone, life is Christ and death is gain. Life on every other road is wasted.
– John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, Il: Crossway 2003), 76.
[T]he greatest joy in God comes from giving his gifts away, not in hoarding them for ourselves. It is good to work and have. It is better to work and have in order to give. God’s glory shines more brightly when he satisfies us in times of loss than when he provides for us in times of plenty. The health, wealth, and prosperity “gospel” swallows up the beauty of Christ in the beauty of his gifts and turns the gifts into idols. The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say thanks to God. They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ’s sake and count it gain.
– John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, Il: Crossway 2003), 72.
One important practice is that of family worship, devotions, or Bible study. While it is helpful for our children to be taught the Bible in Sunday school, Awana, or other similar programs, Christian parents must never abdicate or delegate to others the responsibility of teaching their children the Bible. As the head of the home, the father ought to assume responsibility for leading his children to Christ and of encouraging them on the path of Christian discipleship. This includes reading and studying Scripture together, singing and praying together, and facing challenges and adversity (as well as successes and triumphs) together as a family in a spirit of faith and trust in Christ.
– Andreas Kostenberger God, Marriage and Family (Wheaton, Il: Crossway), 171.