Salt & Light: Being Distinctive At School
Jesus calls us to be the salt and the light of the world, but 'shining our light for all to see' feels extremely daunting, and almost impossible when we feel like the only ones trying.
School in particular can be a really difficult place for living distinctively, and the idea for this Salt & Light series came from a number of girls who were keen to write about how to keep living distinctively as a Christian even when it's tough. I'm delighted to introduce this first post by our new writer, Katie. I hope her advice inspires you to be the salt and the light wherever you are placed.
Have you ever walked down a busy street the opposite way to other people? Everyone is pushing you in the opposite direction to the one you want. I feel like living for Jesus at school is a bit like this. It's such a hard environment to be a Christian in, and it's so easy to be swept along with the crowd, going along with whatever they are doing.
I shy away from the topic of God, not wanting to have to talk about my faith because I'm embarrassed. But I know I shouldn't be embarrassed, God is just so amazing and we should want to tell everyone about Him and what He has done for us. At church on Sunday I'll hear about the wonderful things He has done, and I feel ready to go to school the next day to tell people all about the God I believe in.
However, once I get to school all that enthusiasm has gone and actually I don't want anyone to know I am a Christian. The ways of the world take over and I get absorbed in them.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
This is such a great verse to remember whenever you are finding it tough to stand firm in your faith - it shows us that we shouldn't be ashamed in what we believe. The creator of the universe is our Father, He loves us so much and because He does, He sent His only Son to take the punishment we deserve.
Because we so often turn away from God and have sinned, we don't deserve to know God as a Father - but if we trust in God and believe that Jesus died to save us, then we can know God and go to Heaven. This is just so amazing! Therefore we shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed, but instead we should want to tell the people we love, so they too can know the Father and be saved like us.
This is, and always will be hard, but we are not alone: God is always with us and the power of prayer means that you can talk to Him anytime, anywhere. The first part of 2 Timothy 4:17 is such a great reminder for us...
But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. (2 Timothy 4:17)
Why don't you write this on a sticky note and stick it somewhere that you will see it before you go to school ? For example, you could stick this verse on your mirror, to remind you each day that God will be with you.
As Christians, we should want to glorify God in everything we do - and quite often this won't be following everything that our friends do.
It is really, really hard to go against what other people are doing (especially when the other options look like lots of fun) but sometimes this won't be the best way to put God first. Putting God first in everything doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and do what your friends are doing, but think carefully about every decision you make. The way you live has a big impact on how people see you, and if you are living for Jesus people will see that you are not living like everyone else.
This can bring up questions and get you into some really good and exciting conversations with your friends about the God you believe in, and what He has done in your life. Something I am so prone to doing is shying away from the topic of God and anything to do with my faith, but over the past couple of months I have realised that actually I need to stand firm and be bold about my faith.
People may laugh or talk behind my back, but what I need to remember is that I have the best thing in the whole wide world - eternal life!
Keep remembering this: that God is always with you, you can talk to Him anytime and anywhere - so when you are having a hard day at school, remember that you are not alone. Christian friends are also a huge help; if they go to your school or not, you can encourage each other and help each other through the hard times.
If you don’t have any Christian friends your age, I’d really encourage you to pray about it and maybe see if there is a church close to you with a youth group that you could get involved with and meet some Christians your age.
Keep being distinctive and being the salt and the light in your classroom, on your sports team, or wherever you find yourself on a daily basis. Remember that God will always be your guide and your strength, and He is worth it all!
Katie is in her last year of secondary school and lives in a town called Leyland in the North West of England. She loves baking, spending time with friends and most importantly Jesus! Katie is so excited about More Precious and how it is encouraging girls to keep on living for Jesus.