It’s that time of year again as the summer is coming to an end and fall rapidly approaches. And you know what that means, right? School is starting again. When I was in elementary school, I really looked forward to heading back to school, to see what teacher I would have and which of my friends I would be in class with, or even who would be new. As I got older, of course, I really started to enjoy the summer and wish it wouldn’t end, although I mostly still enjoyed school in junior and senior high. So as our students got back to school over the past week or are getting ready to go back, I wanted to share four things to think about in this new school year.
1. Guard Your Quiet Time. As you’re getting back into the swing of things at school, your days will become busy. Whether it’s homework, sports, orchestra, etc., your days are about to become a lot busier than they have been during the summer. Which is why it is important to remember to have a quiet time with God. Spending time with the Lord is important, especially as your life becomes a little more hectic. If you’re not connected to the power source, you will find yourself drained of energy as the days go on. So be sure to get into Scripture and pray sometime in your day. You can even wake up earlier to do this (I know what you’re thinking, but you really can do it)! Follow the example of Christ. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35 NIV
2. Pray Continually. School can be stressful. You have the stress of starting a new school year, figuring out where all your classes are, who your teachers are, etc. Then you have the stresses of the normal school year: papers to be written, pop-quizzes, mid-terms, finals. Or maybe you’re worried about something else. Whatever the case, be sure to take your worries to your Heavenly Father. He will hear your prayer and He will answer it. In Philippians 4, Paul give them this advice: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
3. Think on Godly Things. Have you ever felt like you’ve been doing so well in your spiritual walk and then you stumble into a sin? Does that stumble ever seem to snowball into a larger and larger fall? It can definitely happen to many of us. That’s why it’s important as you get back to school to remember the first two points. If you’re reading in Scripture and you are in prayer with the Father, this point will come a lot easier to you. When your mind is focused on godly things, then the stumbles will be few and far between. It’s when you lose that focus, maybe you are drawn into a conversation about a topic that you shouldn’t be considering, or a group is talking about a TV show or YouTube video that doesn’t seem appropriate. These can be times where you can fall into the small sin that might snowball into something bigger. So remember to think of godly things. What are those? Again, we look to Paul’s writings to the church in Philippi. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV
4. Share Your Faith. We have access to the most wonderful truth in the world, that Jesus died on the cross and then rose from the tomb three days later. That is a message worth sharing! As you go throughout your days, be mindful of opportunities to share your faith. And you don’t have to always speak to do it. Have you ever heard that actions speak louder than words? I think that can be very true. Look for opportunities to put your faith into action, helping where you can, talking to the student that nobody else wants to talk to, treating everyone with respect. Show Jesus to people, and then if you find the opportunity, tell them about Him and what He’s done in your life.
Nick Spencer is the Youth and Media Director at Maple Grove Christian Church