As most of us know, glorifying God while attending public school can be challenging. It’s hard to follow Jesus amidst a crowd of people who don’t.
However, the Bible offers plenty of encouragement for Christians who are following Christ while those around them aren’t. Just look at Noah, Joseph, and the apostles’ stories; they were all faithful in a not-so faithful world.
The world (at least, the western world) is much more Christian today than it was when the apostles were alive. We’re lucky for that, but we still face challenges.
Here are some of the challenges of being a public-schooled Christian.
- Standing strong in our faith amidst outside influences.
Have you noticed that it’s easier to follow Jesus around other Christians? Being around godly people leads us also to be godly, but being around people who don’t follow God may lead us away from God if we’re not careful. Sometimes we can be tempted to compromise our faith because it doesn’t feel good to be different from everyone else.
- Discerning what aligns with Scripture.
When you are in a secular environment, you are bound to hear something that isn’t true at some point. For example, in science class you might be taught that every organism evolved from one common ancestor—a generally accepted theory. In these situations, we need discernment to identify what ideas are true according to the Bible.
- Standing out (and missing out on things).
What the Bible teaches is contradictory to what most other teenagers today are taught. Because of this, Christians will have different lifestyles from everyone around them. However, it’s not fun to sometimes miss out on things everyone else is doing. We need the strength to follow Jesus even when it means missing out.
- Staying focused on Christ throughout the day.
There are so many distractions today (I even got distracted in the middle of writing this article). And it’s not only devices and screens that are distracting—life is busy in general for most people, and school is a busy place. It’s easy to put our faith in a box and leave it at home, but Jesus should be our focal point wherever we go.
- Representing Christ to those around us.
Christians are Christ’s ambassadors. Nonbelievers learn what Christ is like by watching us. That can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes. What if I’m not representing Jesus well? or, I’m tired of following Jesus when nobody else at school is, we might think. However, representing Jesus isn’t about acting perfectly, but acting lovingly.
10 Bible Verses (or Passages) That Apply to These Challenges
God doesn’t leave us to face challenges on our own. He gives us plenty of wisdom in the Bible to help us live for Him.
Verses 1 & 2: standing strong in our faith amidst outside influences.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
Verses 3 & 4: discerning what aligns with Scripture
“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!” (Ephesians 4:19-20).
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Verses 5 & 6: standing out (and missing out on things)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
“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).
Verses 7 & 8: staying focused on Christ throughout the day
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Romans 8:5-7).
Verses 9 & 10: representing Christ to those around us
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Aren’t those great verses?
Many of you who are members of my email list said you would like to see a three-part interview; an interview with a public-schooled Christian, a homeschooled Christian, and a private-schooled Christian.
I’ve set that up, but it would be great to have your help with the questions. What questions do you have for homeschooled and private-schooled Christians? And, if you are homeschooled or private-schooled reading this, what questions do you have for public-schooled Christians? If you have a question, put it in the comments!
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