April 2, 2018 at 1:55 pm - Views: 159 #468
Around 10 years ago I moved to a new city and started a new public school and a new Church group. This town was quite different from my previous.
In my previous town I knew quite a few secular students, people who conform to all the glorified sins of our culture in our middle school, but it was fine because I had my own group of friends from Church who acted in a way that I thought was Biblically acceptable.
It was a small town, one in which parents would all know if you did something super wrong at school. Perhaps that was part of the pressure to behave, but certainly there was less pressure at school to misbehave. Also instead of watching movies where sins are glorified, most of us went outside and played out there.
It was much easier there.
Then I moved to a new city around 8th grade with 13 times more people. Things were quite a bit different in these schools. As hard as I looked, I couldn’t find any people at my middle school who I thought were leading a Christ-centered life. It was very difficult.
Perhaps it was my perspective from my previous town, but it seems like none of the students were Christian. They were shoving as many curse words in each statement as possible. While curse words don’t make you a non-Christian, your language reflects your heart and it seems like that was a quite gross and poisonous heart that these students had.
Students were openly boasting about drinking alcohol and trying drugs and their extra-marital behaviors. I was like, what in the world is going on here? Am I in a school or a prison?
In fact, the student council at the high-school I went to had a shirt that said “75% of students do not drink more than 2 drinks at parties.” The shirts were supposed to be encouraging, but I saw it as “25% of students openly admitted to not only drinking alcohol underage, but drinking too much alcohol at every party they attend.” I don’t believe drinking alcohol is a sin for everyone, but when you’re underage, breaking laws, and getting drunk at parties, it’s definitely intentionally going against the will of God.
I’ll be completely honest, it was a lonely 5-6 years or so in terms of the amount of friends I had. Sure, I had acquaintances who I hung out with at school in choir, debate, and chess club, but I never once invited someone from my school to hang out outside of school, and I never hung out with my classmates outside of school. That might not have been the way to handle it, but I felt like my parents would completely disapprove of me hanging out with any of those students outside of school.
Here’s the worst part. When I joined a youth group, the youth were barely better than the people at school and in some cases worse. They had it tougher than I did in middle school to get to that point clearly, but surely they had the same Church, parents, and similar background as I did.
I’m sure I sinned many times in my time in public school, just as everybody sins. But at the very least I tried to follow Jesus and succeeded in not conforming to the sins of our culture.
If you never internalize your why, you’ll never accomplish your what.
Jesus Christ is my savior and lord, and following him is the only way to salvation. Jesus said in Matthew 22 the greatest command is to love God with all your hearts, minds, and souls, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
To follow Jesus is to recognize the sins that separate me from God, because to love God is to dedicate my very essence to follow Him. That’s easier said than done, and again I am nowhere near good enough to make it to heaven on my deeds alone.
Yet my faith demands that I try to follow God as solidly as possible as my initial priority, and from there how can I love the people around me.
When you’re a student, you need to focus on loving God and growing in wisdom just as Jesus did when it says he “grew in wisdom and stature with men” in Luke 2:52. The Bible doesn’t talk about Jesus’s ministry before he was 30 years old, most likely because that’s when his ministry actually started. Before that, he grew into a position as a young man where he could be an upstanding citizen and then start his ministry.
That doesn’t mean to ever miss an opportunity to witness to your fellow students, but it does mean that you may need to focus more on your faith than on eating and partying with the “sinners” as Jesus did in his adult ministry.
My best suggestion for tomorrow is to wake up each morning, preferably with a Bible reading and definitely a prayer to give you the strength to follow Jesus through your day.
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