We should have listened better. Here we were, college kids from Michigan, on a choir tour to Florida during spring break, a very welcome relief of sun and warmth. Our choir director warned us that we had to be careful in the sun. It was six times more intense that much further south than we were used to, and we would get a sunburn much more quickly than we would in Michigan. He told us to use plenty of sunscreen, drink lots of water, and stay in the shade when possible. Naturally, most ignored his advice. I mean, come on. You can’t very well come back from Florida without a tan. So despite the warnings, many students got some sun on the beach with little or no sunscreen to protect their skin. There were a lot of lobster-red faces for the remainder of that tour.

Living in Texas now, I can attest to the fact that the sun down here is intense. My poor fair-skinned, blond-headed children are no match for the fierce sun. They get irritated with me because I’m constantly reapplying sunscreen and reminding them to drink plenty of fluids. But I know how dangerous the sun can be. Just yesterday we went swimming at a friend’s house. With a heat index in the triple digits, the water felt great. Yet despite the fact that I put on sunscreen twice, my shoulders still burned. Sunburn is sneaky that way. You don’t notice until it’s too late. The damage has already been done. And that’s why proper protection is essential before you think you’re in danger.

Parents, there’s a good lesson in here, and not just about lathering sunscreen on your kids during the summer. Your children need proper protection to go out into the world, and it’s never too early to start. You see, there’s a far more dangerous threat in the world than the sun. The devil uses every trick he has to lure us away from the truth and into false belief and sin. But he’s sneaky. He doesn’t present sin as sin. That would be too easy. He suggests little compromises here and there, slowly leading further and further from the truth. That’s why it’s important to teach God’s Word to your kids while they’re young, so they know the Bible and can apply it to their own lives as they grow up. That’s why it’s also important for you to immerse yourself in His Word day after day.

1 Peter 5:8-9 reminds us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…” The Lutheran Study Bible text note says that we resist him “by God’s Word, which gives us strength and guidance to face temptations.” Be in the Word so you can protect yourself from the devil’s schemes.

Yes, you will still fall into temptation no matter how prepared you may be. You will get “burned.” But that’s when Christ applies the soothing balm of His forgiveness. His Word provides both the protection and the healing you need, a benefit sunscreen can never provide.

As important as sunscreen is, God’s Word is far more vital. Apply God’s Word daily—if not more often!—for best results. But that being said, I must excuse myself. My kids want to go outside. I need to get the sunscreen.


Photo is Sunburned by Erin Stevenson O’Connor