Back to school shopping isn’t the only thing on the minds of students. Across elementary, junior high, high school and university campuses, girls and boys (or young women and men) enter private, charter or public schools with a peculiar set of challenges. Because of their age, the need to fit in is compelling. Yet compromising who they are and what they believe isn’t a desired option. As always, the Bible is a great source of wisdom, strength and counsel.
We are including in this issue some favorite scriptures for students who will surely need them this school year. Parents, we encourage you to share these scriptures throughout 2012-2013 as your students navigate the friendships, social lures and school work that lay before them. We start with, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.
Christians on school campuses are bound by classroom rules, but doing the right thing goes further than just signing a student handbook. Christians answer to a higher calling, with God’s word and deep belief in our savior to guide behavior: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18. And when students feel overwhelmed balancing right and wrong, they can cling to these holy words: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
Professing the Faith
The world seems to be even unfriendlier towards Christians lately, stifling speech and expression. Yet, the Word addresses this: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Many students have found a way to share their faith within the “rules” of society. For instance, participating in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is one opportunity. Young Life is another. Church youth groups and children’s ministries can prepare young people to venture forth, and a good scripture to memorize is: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Philemon 1:6.
Walking the Walk
Often others will sense that a student is a Christian through not only words, but deeds. For even the quietest of believers, their faith is a huge part of who they are. Fellow students will recognize, or perhaps simply sense, the Christian nature of your child, who should be applauded and encouraged daily to do the right thing: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16. Another wonderful scripture: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
Social pressures abound, especially online temptations. Questionable postings and pictures of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblir present challenges. How does a young person fit in while still standing apart? The following scripture is a favorite: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:6-8. Another helpful verse: “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22.
Receiving God’s Abundant Love
Every school year will have its ups and downs. No one is perfect, and mistakes will be made. But students can rest assured that our merciful God is forgiving. Rejuvenating their faith and overcoming hurts and hurdles is part of growing up: “Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6.
God bless our young people as they venture forth. May they find encouragement and wisdom from those who love them and strength in their daily walk with Jesus.