By Jason Hosfield
Picture yourself inside the largest room you can think of. Maybe its a sports stadium, a concert hall, the auditorium in your church building, etc. Now imagine all of the lights being turned out. It is pitch black. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. The darkness completely envelops you till you almost feel suffocated. Now, in the middle of this vast, dark room, someone strikes a match. It is still very dark, but you can still see the match burning brightly from anywhere in the room. Just that small pin-point of light is bright enough to be seen in the middle of all that darkness.
This world in which we live is like that huge, dark room. All of its sin and immorality can engulf us to the point that we can not see any hope at all. Those of us who are young people are affected with this just as much as older people.
One example of this is in school. We would be naive if we were not aware of all of the problems that a young Christian must face at school. With all of the false ideas that are taught (evolution, humanism, “safe sex”), all of the immoral acts that take place (immodesty, drugs, alcohol, dancing), and all of the pressures and temptations to sin, school certainly can be a very dark place spiritually.
I would like to say up front that I am not as familiar with the problems and challenges of school life as most other young people. My parents have been teaching me at home since I was in the fourth grade. I think that this is a great alternative for parents who want to ensure their kids a decent education without having to deal with the immorality that is part of the public school system in many places. But in talking with friends who go to public school I have learned what a young Christian must face in being a part of it, and, besides, the same basic temptations face us in school or out of school (1 In. 2:15-17).
A Christian needs to realize that he can be a light in this darkness. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14-16,
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Paul also wrote in Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blame-less and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Just like the match in that dark room, you can shine as an example in the middle of all the darkness you face at school. There are, however, many things you must do in order to be a better light to the world around you.
Remember Who You Are
Everything that is worldly is darkness. If we expect to follow God, then we must leave the world and its darkness behind. John wrote in 1 John 1:5-7, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” If we have been cleansed by Christ’s blood, then we must leave the darkness that we were walking in before.
Too many young Christians are reluctant to refuse worldliness when they become children of God. So many want to live for Christ on Sunday and live for the world the rest of the week. But you and I need to realize that we cannot possibly expect to be lights in the world if we continue to walk in its dark ways of sin. Peter described these kinds of people in 2 Peter 2:20-22,
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
This is a disgusting picture, but it illustrates what God thinks of a Christian who still lives like the world.
A young Christian needs to remember who he or she is at school. You need to remember that you are a child of God. God has rescued you from the darkness of the world, and made you one of his children of light. Do not break his heart by turning again to the world and its sin. Simply make the decision to reject all of the immoral and sinful indulgences that you come across and remember to keep yourself “unspotted from the world” (Jas. 1:27).
Choose Your Friends Carefully
I am sure that we all have heard a lot of talk about peer pressure. It is one of Satan’s most powerful forms of temptation. Almost all of the enticements that Christian students fall into whether they are drugs, alcohol, sex, or stealing are a result of giving in to peer pressure.
It is a fact, though, that all of this can be avoided by simply being cautious about whom one chooses for friends. A person’s friends can either build him up or tear him down. It depends on what kind of people they are.
Solomon warned his son about falling in with the wrong crowd in Proverbs 1:10-18.
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: my son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for ‘heir feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
This passage sounds a lot like the gang problems in our day, doesn’t it? We see the same kinds of enticements: violence, money, comradeship. Yet so many teen-age deaths are a result of gang-related incidents. They truly “lie in wait for their own blood.” This is all because young people choose the wrong friends. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil company corrupts good habits” (NKJ).
What then should one look for in a friend? We need to ask ourselves, “What kind of a person is he/she?” “What is this person’s goal in life?” “How does this person spend his/her time?” “What does this person do for amusement?” “Will this person be the kind of friend that will help me get to Heaven?”
Do not let your light grow dim by choosing friends that will weaken you spiritually. Savor the relationships you have with fellow Christians. Those will be the most rewarding and most helpful to your faith.
Be Concerned About Others
Many young people do not realize what an opportunity they have at school to influence the lost. A Christian at school is surrounded by souls who will be lost without the gospel. Yet too often young people ignore their chances to shine their light on someone who does not know God. We need to realize that it is the duty of a Christian to teach others the Word of God.
We cannot hope to bring others to Christ, however, unless we are concerned about the condition of their souls. This was the very reason that God sent Christ to this earth. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God was concerned about the souls of men. Paul said that he taught the Ephesians “with tears” (Acts 20:31). He was concerned about those he was preaching to.
You and I need to be concerned about those around us. We cannot just live our own little lives and not give one thought to the spiritual welfare of anyone else, especially when we know people who desperately need God in their lives. The Bible says in James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” If we know of some spiritual good that we can do someone, but ignore the opportunity, we are guilty of sin.
There are two ways that we can influence others for Christ. One way is by example. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” People will be more inclined to take what you say seriously if you personify it in your own life first. This is very important! Ezra saw the importance of this in Ezra 7:10. “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Notice the order: he sought God’s law, he did it, and then he taught it. Jesus did the same thing. Luke wrote in Acts 1:1, “The former treatise have I made, 0 Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.” He did it, then he taught it. The first step in bringing others to Christ is to study and obey the word of God for ourselves.
The second step is to bravely take the gospel of Christ to those who need it. Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Everyone in the world has a need to know the good news of the gospel, and it is our responsibility to take it to them.
There is no doubt that we will meet with opposition. We will become unpopular at times. We will be made fun of. We will be verbally abused. We might be physically abused. There are many in our nation who are trying to get all religion out of the schools. Those who want to share God’s word with others are being harassed and persecuted. But we must not let it stop us. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Nothing should discourage us from taking the gospel to the lost. We will find that the benefits will far outweigh the hardships.
Too often young people hide their lights from the world. They are afraid to let people know that they are Christians. Make the decision to let your light shine at school! Re-member, the light from that little match did not light up that huge hall, but it could be seen. You will not convert your whole school tomorrow, but if you are the example you should be to others, you will be noticed!
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 6 p. 9-10
March 16, 1995