Monday, August 10, 2015

In and Out of Season


2 Timothy 4:2 – “Be ready in season and out of season.”

More than a decade ago, I stepped into a new hallway, awkwardly walking into an unfamiliar sea of faces while groups of high-school girls around me greeted each other excitedly and traded stories of summer vacations and family trips. It was the first time I felt that weird "first day feeling", which the American Psychological Association labels as "Back to School Blues". I wish I could say that it was the last time I felt stressed out over a new environment, that my shyness disappeared over time or that I magically developed an iron stomach to deal with the rigorous academic curriculum a lot of schools have on the school year agenda these days. My first day of college was no different as we now had bigger campuses, longer class days and more people to meet and form friendships with. Even community college here in California felt like a daily assault to my Christian faith, with classes attempting to introduce worldly perspectives and debunk Biblical truth with countless isms. The common denominator to all these first day experiences was this gnawing feeling in my stomach and that fear of facing something we are not aware of or prepared for.

The end of summer signals the start of the school year. For a lot of us, it is that wild chase to get all the school supplies and the newest school wardrobe. For others, it is an attempt to squeeze out as much fun out of summer, friends, and others as we can. Other people have already whipped out the books and began reading and studying lessons a few weeks before summer ended. Whatever our coping mechanism is, the reality is we want to be as ready as we feel we need to be for this season.

        Here at Bloom!, it is our desire to encourage godly womanhood as we walk through different seasons in our lives, that our testimony will shine brightly and speak boldly of Christ and that we may remember to share the gospel in the different daily situations and spheres of influence we find ourselves in.  School is one area where we need more than the cutest book bag, tennis shoes and most colorful notebooks we can find, we need Christ and His truth in the Word. Here are some helpful reminders for us going back to school:

        1. Strive excellence for God’s glory.

        We go to school not to mainly achieve a 4.0 or fill up our future resume or college applications with tons of extra-curricular activities, but God does call us to excellence. 1 Corinthians 10:31 commands us to do all that we do, whether eating or drinking, or making friends, or studying or going to classes, that we do it for the glory of God.

       2. Your Bible is an important book to study, even if it isn’t on your school’s lesson plan.

        Our teachers hand out a lot of reading, from Shakespeare to sonnets, to Colonial America and Paul Revere, to geometry and differentials. It might even be tempting to put your Bible and personal devotional time on the side while you get ready for that midterm, or rush that homework on Plato and his philosophies, or maybe insert the Bible when you’re free or less tired. Instead, ask God for discipline and set aside a specific time of the day to have your time in the Word. Having your personal devotional time is like breakfast, lunch or dinner, something your heart needs. The Bible speaks of hiding His Word in our hearts so that we do no sin against Him, and writing His word in the tablet of our hearts.

       3. Keep your eyes open for serving opportunities.

Wherever you are at, you will always have someone who influences you and who you can influence.  These friendships provide you an opportunity to model Christ-like obedience through many gifts like love, joy, peace, and graciousness. Also, school has a way of introducing stress into lives. Find ways to serve your teachers, school employees and fellow classmates. There are a lot of creative ways where you can shine God’s light to others, and ultimately encourage others to follow you as you follow Christ. 

4. Trust in His truth alone.

God’s truth is the only Truth out there. In schools, there is a lot of temptation to attribute certain aspects of creation to science, or our intellect to our own control or our actions to psychology. The reality is that God’s truth isn’t something that we try to fit into whatever space we have left from “beliefs” we have developed through the years, but that God’s truth based on the Bible is what should influence our thoughts, actions and decisions. So, when faced with a history or biology lesson that seems opposite of what you have learned from the Bible? Read and study the Bible again, and find Biblical writers that discuss the Biblical texts even more. 

 5. The Gospel is the solution to all our hearts.

Behind every man, there is a sinful heart. Whatever talents we may have, or capacities towards certain grades, nothing we do in the earth adds onto us. We all are sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. The best news is that Christ is propitiation for our sins. It’s a big word that means a big thing and a sacrifice: He took God’s wrath for our sins. With this as Christians, we are reconciled with God and He will help us, not because we are on the dean’s list or that we made the basketball team, but because He loves us. This means whatever happens in this school year, our hope is in Christ and the Gospel.  This is the most important thing that helps us gets started with getting prepared in and out of season. 

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