Ahhhhh--school! The season of backpacks, sharpened pencils, and brand-new clothes. Between the excitement of seeing old friends and the nervousness for the coming year, this time of year keeps us whirling around a million miles an hour, seeking to prepare for the new school year. However, in the hustle and bustle of life, our faith can get lost, shoved down underneath our new plastic binder and mesh pencil case. But the season of life of school is not an excuse to put the work of the Lord on hold; in fact, this season offers a unique opportunity to glorify Him in a way that will never again be possible in your life. God has a unique, hand-crafted, and multi-faceted mission for you to accomplish at this place in your life, centered around and focused on Biblical truths. While these Biblical truths certainly will and must apply to every season of your life, the unique way which you are able to live those out will not last forever. Being an example, spreading God’s truth, and seeking God’s glory are three of those Biblical truths that offer unique opportunities in how to fulfill those right now.
1) Be an Example
“Therefore, let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
The world today, including much of the church, expects middle/high schoolers to coast through their school years, making questionable choices and chasing after the things of this world. After all, this is the time to have fun and enjoy life before you have to get serious… YOLO, right?
One problem: that concept is found nowhere in Scripture. In fact, God has a greater calling for those who are young believers: He calls them to be an example to other believers in all aspects of life. Essentially, all your words, deeds, affections, and desires are to be enslaved to Jesus, lain down at the feet of a Savior who led the way with His perfect life. So, as teenagers, the example you set has immense power because living for Christ so stands out from your peers. So, youth, stop believing the lies of the culture and stand for the truth of your calling in Christ.
2) Spread God’s Truth
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations once you have graduated from high school and college, have a wife (or husband), 2.5 kids, a nice house with a white picket fence, a 9-5 desk job, and a sizable retirement fund.” Oh, wait…. That’s not how it goes. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a). Period. End of statement. Now obviously there is more to the verse, but the point is if you are a follower of Christ, God has called you to make disciples right now. Oftentimes, we think this commandment applies only to overseas missionaries or only to adults--but that’s not what this passage says. Jesus outlines no age or location restrictions: He simply says to go and make disciples of all, which certainly includes all those at your school, dance/sport team, and neighborhoods. So, students, God’s call on your life currently is to seek to share God’s truth with those in your life right now--you may never have this chance again with those same people.
3) Glorify God
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
I know in teenage years a calling is something that we associate with when we are older and more established, but your calling started from the moment you first drew breath. Your calling has always been and will always be first and foremost to glorify your Maker, wherever He has placed you. So, right now, in this school season of your life, your calling is to glorify God at your school. So, do your words and your deeds display the power and grace of Christ? Do you work for the glory of the Lord, giving thanks for the gift of school? Go to school and be faithful in this calling. Above academic excellence, athletic achievement, and popularity--seek the glory of God.
Middle and high schoolers: You are not the church of tomorrow--you are the church of today. You are part of the body of Christ, and Jesus expects you to live as the body of Christ, loving and serving and sharing His truth where you are right here, right now. Your calling is effective regardless of the expectations culture places on you. So, as you go into school, buy your new backpack and your new pack of pens but spend time preparing your heart and mind for the calling in your life. Pray and seek the Lord’s will. Are you ready for your calling?