Something we might hear often is that we should stand strong in our beliefs as Christians. There’s even a whole book about standing strong in today’s cultural confusion—Stand Up, Stand Strong by Sara Barratt (which I highly recommend). Having firm beliefs is very important.
If we are Christians, it’s good to know what our beliefs are and the reasons for them so we won’t be swayed by the world, but stand firm in Christ. We not only want to know our beliefs to stand firm, but we are want to be able to share and defend our faith well (related: 4 Reasons God Exists From The Reason For God).
Standing strong in our beliefs means facing challenges to our faith head on instead of ignoring them or letting them weaken our belief. It means doing our research so we know why Christianity is true and we are able to defend it. It means not letting other people’s beliefs discourage our own.
But standing strong in our beliefs is only the first step to standing strong in our faith. We not only need to stand strong in our beliefs, but also in our actions that follow those beliefs.
Beliefs usually lead to certain actions. For example, I believe that it is good to fuel my body with nourishing foods. Because of this belief, I try to eat healthy meals. I also believe that my brother is one of the funniest people ever. Because of this belief, I tend to laugh a lot at what he says—even if he’s being serious, I find him amusing (he really is hilarious).
I could go on. If I believed pizza was the best food ever, I would be eating a lot of pizza. If I believed blue was the only color that looks good on me, I would be wearing a lot of blue. If I believed I could fly, I would be jumping up and down and flapping my arms. When we believe something, we usually act on that belief.
Similarly, Christians should act on their belief in what the Bible says. Scripture says to love one another, so Christians put special effort into loving others. Scripture says that we should pray to God, so Christians pray. Scripture tells believers to gather together, so we go to church.
Many of the actions that follow when we believe the Bible are countercultural. Following Jesus and acting on our beliefs because of Him will make us stand out from the rest of the world, including our classmates at school. The world proclaims that we should do what is best for ourselves, while the Bible says we should put ourselves last. The world shouts that we should do what we want, while the Bible tells us to do God’s will. The world advises us to make a name for ourselves, while the Bible demonstrates that humbling ourselves is far better.
Humbling ourselves and putting others ahead might look like getting less work done in class so we can help a friend who is stuck on a math problem. It might look like inviting someone new into our group for a project. It might look like starting a conversation with someone sitting alone in class.
Someone who puts themselves last in a world that screams “Me!” will stand out. Being set apart might not always feel comfortable, but it is a good thing. I’m sure you’ve noticed how different many of your peer’s standards are from your Christian ones. Christians were meant to stand out, and we have to be okay with being different.
We need to stand strong in our actions even when the world tells us not to. Often, I can be hesitant to do things for God because it shows that I’m different from my classmates, but I shouldn’t let fear stop me from serving the Lord. There are times I’ve let fear win and held back from doing good things because I’m afraid people will judge me. But the times I’ve done nice things, it matters. It makes an impact.
If we say we believe the Bible but our actions do not line up with it, then we aren’t standing strong in our beliefs or actions. Having firm beliefs means that we will live for God. We will continue putting others ahead of us even when the world tells us it doesn’t matter. Even when we are tired and don’t want to anymore. Standing strong in our actions means:
- We don’t succumb to peer pressure.
We may feel pressured to do unbiblical things, like helping a classmate cheat on an assignment or cheating ourselves. Because the Bible speaks against lying, we shouldn’t do these things. However, we can still love our classmates by offering to help them if they don’t understand the subject.
We should also resist pressure to do things to fit in. It is hard to want to be part of a group yet be very different from them in many ways. But no matter how badly we want to be like others at school, we shouldn’t change the way we act to be more like them. At the beginning of middle school, I wanted so badly to be “cool” that I did and said some things that do not align with the Bible. Since I am a Christian and the Bible tells me I am not of this world (John 15:19), I shouldn’t have acted as if I was of this world.
- We are not afraid to be different.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Having Christian beliefs and taking action on those beliefs means that we will be different from others at school. Rather than seeing this as a setback, we should be glad we are different, because the Bible tells us we are set apart (and describes it as a good thing).
Because we are not afraid to be different from the world, when God wants us to do something for Him that will set us apart from our classmates, we should willingly step forward and obey. In Romans 1:16, Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel, because the gospel is powerful. We should not be ashamed of the gospel, either. The gospel is what makes us different from the rest of the world. We should proclaim the gospel even though and especially because it makes us different.
- We fight the lies of the enemy.
“I can’t make that much of an impact.”
“I have to change myself to become friends with these people.”
“I’ve messed everything up.”
I’ve thought all of those things in some shape or form before. However, when those thoughts creep into our minds, we need to remind ourselves of the truth. God can make an impact through whoever He chooses, we shouldn’t strive to please anyone but God, and we can never mess up His plan.
When we think thoughts like “I can’t make an impact” or “I have to change myself,” the enemy is lying to us. John 8:44 tells us Satan “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” We need to learn to recognize the enemy’s lies and disarm him before he can do any damage.
Satan might tell us that it’s not that much of a bad thing if we don’t live for God at school, because we follow him everywhere else. The enemy might tell us that there is reason to fear being different from others at school when there isn’t. (related: Do Not Fear Being Different From the World and 3 Tips To Overcome Fear). We need to fight the lies of the enemy by digging into the truth: God’s word.
- We take people’s comments as encouragement.
When we live for Jesus at school, people are going to notice. They might say something about it, whether that be positive or negative. If they make a negative comment (“Why are you so uptight?”), we shouldn’t let it bring us down or affect how we live. If they make a positive comment (“You’re always so nice!”), we should take it as encouragement and motivation to continue living for Jesus.
When people make comments about how we’re different from the rest of the world, it means something is right. It shows we’re following Jesus and not conforming to the norm around us. When people make those comments, it is also an opportunity to turn the conversation to Jesus. We didn’t end up different from the world by chance; we are set apart because we are being sanctified in Christ. Christ is the reason we act differently.
Standing firm in our beliefs starts with knowing what we believe and why we believe it, but it also includes acting on those beliefs.
Have you been acting on your beliefs? I need to get better at it. I am thankful that God is gracious, merciful, and loving. He loves me even though I don’t measure up, and though I am weak, He is strong. God accomplishes big things through small people.
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