Back to School

Written by Drew on September 1st, 2005


School is back in session, and this means Christian young people are facing a number of difficult challenges. Tragically, many of them will crumble under the pressure and make mistakes they will later regret. Some will even turn their backs on the Lord. It has been estimated that the Lord’s church is losing 80 percent of her youth by the time they reach the age of 21! That’s four out of every five! Because our kids are precious commodities, and because I know that, deep down, many of them want to do what’s right, I thought I’d give a little “back to school” advice:

1. Remember your Creator. The wisest man that ever lived writes, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1). Solomon had in mind the need for us to give our best years to the Lord. Certainly we gain important assets as we mature (e.g., wisdom, experience, patience, faith, etc.), but young people are unmatched in energy and zest. They ought to be using these advantages in God’s service.

We could extend Solomon’s principle to instruct students to resist the evolutionary education they will no doubt receive in science class. Our government continues to grant the atheists a monopoly on what is fed to young, impressionable minds in the classroom. Some day, perhaps, other theories on the origin of life may be presented, but for now young Christians must “remember their Creator.” He lives, no matter what the text books say.

2. Think for yourself. America’s schools are equipped with bright, insightful teachers. Our universities offer excellent educational programs. However, these things do not ensure complete accuracy in the classroom. Students must learn the art of critical thinking and test questionable instruction, even in the classroom.

God expects this attitude in the churches as well. The Bereans are upheld as an example, for they “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

3. Work hard. Schoolwork is more challenging than ever, especially when extracurricular activities are added into the mix. Youngsters must develop a strong work ethic and do their best at school. After all, Christians should be the hardest working people on earth. This is due to the fact that we work not for earthly masters, but for a heavenly Lord who will amply reward us in due time (Col. 3:23).

4. Don’t get into serious relationships. There was a time in which the teen years were appropriate for marriage and raising families. But today we live in a different world. High school no longer provides enough education and training for most folks to make a living. College or vocational school is almost mandatory. In addition, our society is too complicated for teenagers to make it on their own. Many of our youth have ignored these factors and have started families anyway. The result is that more and more grandparents are raising young children while their own kids are trying to make a living during the day and taking classes at night. Life doesn’t have to be so hard.

Young people, don’t get too involved with members of the opposite sex. Maintain your purity. Go out on dates, but don’t worry about having a steady boyfriend or girlfriend. Date around if you have the opportunity. There’s plenty of time for forming deeper relationships in your twenties.

5. Fight temptation, whatever it takes. The language of the Bible on this matter is interesting. It doesn’t just say “fight” temptation, it says to “flee!” “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).

The young man Joseph had to use a flight strategy when confronted with the seductive advances of his master’s wife. His actions required a great deal of moral strength and eventually landed him in jail, but he maintained his purity. And, in the end, he was glad he did (Gen. 39).

6. Be an example. 1 Timothy 4:12 reads, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” What is striking about these words is that they call on a young man to be an example for his elders to follow. Some looked upon Timothy with contempt because he was young. Paul tells him, “Don’t let them do that. Be an example for them in every facet of life.”

I am constantly reminded of the value young people add to a local church as I observe the youth at Ashville Road. They sit up front and take notes, go on mission trips, confess their sins in humility, behave with a maturity beyond their years, and show mutual concern. In a word, they are “lights” in this world. May they shine that light in the halls of their schools as well.

7. Be kind. Young people can be cruel sometimes. That’s what makes Jr. High and High School so difficult. Don’t contribute to this problem—change it by your example. Follow Paul’s advice: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

8. Share your faith. Proverbs 11:30 reveals a wisdom not taught in public schools: “…he that winneth souls is wise” (KJV). Evangelism is a “wise” pursuit because it can actually save souls from everlasting fire and lead them to eternal life.

Because of debates regarding the pledge of allegiance and prayer in public schools, students are fearful of sharing their faith while on school grounds. They need to know that, while the Supreme Court prevents school administrators and teachers from leading religious activities, there is no such prohibition upon students. They are protected by the Second Amendment and are free to speak openly about Jesus Christ.

The Great Commission doesn’t just apply to adults; young Christians are called to “make disciples” alongside their parents (Mt. 28:19-20). At school one can find individuals searching a physical world for spiritual answers. It is up to our young people to reach out to them and bring them to Christ.

 

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