In the blink of an eye, the summer holidays have come to an end, signifying a new start to the school year. As I enter the senior years of high school, I can only imagine how soon I will be swept up in the busyness of routine, with the seemingly never-ending assignments and the dread of the approaching HSC. In this busyness, I realise how easy it is for us to neglect our Christian identity. We unknowingly start to become like every other teen out there, only reserving our faith for Sundays as if Christianity is a sticker we can peel off. 

But if we are living in this way, how are we fulfilling our calling to be representatives of Christ? 

Daily Spiritual Warfare 

Our pastor frequently uses the analogy that us teens are at the forefront, fighting spiritual warfare against today’s culture in our daily lives at school. How can rows of desks in a rustic school building be a battlefield? But school is where countless opposing worldviews and ideologies are thrown at us, testing our faith daily. 

It’s definitely hard living a counter-culture life, but I hope that the two following points can be a reminder and encouragement for us to live out our true calling as we head back to school. Or should I say, back to the battlefield. 

  1. Sacred vs Secular – is there a difference? 

As someone who likes to block out her life on the face of Google Calendar, I have no doubt been guilty of making a distinction between the sacred and the secular in the same way. There always seems to be a divide between the two, and so we persuade ourselves that God is only relevant in the sacred parts of our lives while we are the rulers of the secular parts. 

We stuff going to church on Sundays, serving in ministry and reading morning devotions into the ‘sacred’ box. But doing homework, hanging out with friends, washing the dishes – those are ‘secular’. After all, how can God possibly be involved with our math homework or chores? 

However, we must understand that there should be no difference between the so-called sacred and secular. An activity cannot be sacred or secular in itself, only the attitude of the doer can be. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us ‘whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’ There are no separate compartments: God is and should be a relevant part to all aspects in our lives. We are called to be his representatives in everything that we do – even, and especially, in our daily lives as we go to school, do our homework and study for tests that we previously thought were secular. Thus, we must act the same way in school as we do in church, exhibiting our faith and leading others to Christ through our character, work ethic and how we interact with others. 

All things we do, including schoolwork, should be for the glory of God. 

  1. Denying ourselves and carrying our cross daily – what does this mean? 

‘Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it’ (Luke 9:23-24, NIV) 

Although we may seem far from spiritual giants and missionaries that make radical decisions to leave their past behind for their cross, this verse does not apply to us any less. Let’s delve deeper into what ‘denying ourselves’ and ‘taking up the cross daily’ means for us as Christian students. 

In our school lives, we are faced with many temptations, especially through our friends where we may be tempted to simply forget about our Christian identity and join them to indulge in the ways of the world. Living counter-culturally can be awkward and embarrassing, more so if it seems you’re the only one sharing or standing up for God’s truth. But Jesus’ calling to ‘deny ourselves’ refers exactly to these awkward and embarrassing moments. He calls us to say no to  sinful desires and our longing to be accepted by the world. He calls us to put away our pride and fear and boldly evangelise His gospel. He wants us to leave behind our sinful lives to follow in His holy ways. 

‘Taking up the cross daily’ requires our whole-hearted commitment and sacrifice to living out and sharing the truth, surrendering our whole lives to God’s will. 

Not only on Sundays, but in school – every, single, day. 

This calling is not an easy one, and many times we will fall or feel like giving up. But He promises us a life with Him that is far greater, and we can have the assurance that He will be with us in our struggles. 

So as we head back to school, with whatever worries and goals we may have, I hope that we may keep these reminders close to our hearts. I pray that we may all grow together to be bold representatives of Christ in our everyday school life, and fulfill our callings as Christian students.

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