School. Hearing the word alone is enough to make many people cringe. Peer pressure, sexual temptation, backbiting and honor-seeking are just a few of the things that young Christians face every day in this environment.
But, the fact that we meet such situations at school does not mean that we should in any way become discouraged. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. God’s word makes it clear that, just as He is with us at church or at home, He is also there with us in our classes, as we walk down the hallway or step onto the school bus. He has a living interest in our lives and longs for it to succeed for us!
The spirit of the times is strong; we can see that sin is becoming more and more widely accepted. God’s word says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20. Yet, this is exactly what seems to be happening in the world today. Many young people think nothing of making vulgar jokes, for example. And the expectation is that others should find them humorous, whether or not they believe them to be right. It seems that godly and wholesome thoughts have taken a backseat and, in some cases, are mocked openly.
It is not a secret that Satan desires to destroy God’s people. (Luke 22:31, 1 Peter 5:8) School is therefore a battlefield for Christians who want to remain pure. But, nonetheless, it can be a battlefield in which we always reign victorious!
In Ephesians 6:10-13, Paul writes: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
These verses make it clear that we are not actually battling against people: the teachers or classmates that we see every day at school. Even if our classmates tell crude jokes, backbite or try to get us to agree with something that goes against God’s word, we can be confident that we do not have to fight against them. Rather, we are battling against the ungodly trends and opinions that are present among them. Such things are actually influenced by evil spirits that would try to corrupt us, and distract us from doing God’s will.
By nature, we are also drawn to these same ungodly opinions and thoughts. (James 1:14) But Paul encourages us to, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14-17
When we have faith in our hearts and the word of God in our minds, we are armed to consciously take up a battle against the ungodly influences that want to gain entrance into our hearts. We can pray to God, as we are exhorted to do in Ephesians 6:8, and He will give us the strength we need to resist our natural tendencies and desires to follow such sinful influences. Then we are able to stand against all the ungodly influences that are present at school and everywhere else. “For the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” Deuteronomy 20:4.
We are not only able to get victory over sin, but we are also able to become ambassadors for Christ, as we are exhorted to be in 2 Corinthians 5:20. We become good examples for the others, showing them that it is possible to rule over sin in their own lives. We can now show people how to be a Christian in truth!
With this in mind, we no longer need to fear going to school. Instead, we can look forward to it! It can be a place where we can be an example, a place of victory, a place where we can be transformed! “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.