Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

What is in your heart as a new school term starts up again? Maybe some of you are excited about meeting your friends. Others might be anxious and unwilling to return to the classroom. Regardless of where you are, as Christians, returning to school means returning to a fierce spiritual battle. 

At school, we are exposed once again to the vast arrays of ideologies and cultures this world has to offer. Many of us do not realise the dangers these ways of life have on our faith. These are lies that oppose the Bible’s truth. What makes the battle fierce is the fact that these lies are subtle yet around us all the time. We think everything is alright, but unbeknownst to us, we succumb and conform to them ever so slowly. 

Let’s take an example. You walk into school, and you join your friend group. They are laughing away at the great time they had in the holidays at that particular party last Friday night. You didn’t attend, of course, because you know of the dodgy things that happen at your friend’s parties. In fact, you rarely go out with your friends because they go out almost every other day and you have other commitments such as church events in the holidays. As you arrive your friends ask you, “where have you been these whole holidays? You should have been there at that party on friday, it was so fun!”. Inside, you don’t want to sound funny or mean or reject your friends. You say, “sorry, I had other commitments with friends from church”. Your friends give you a sour look. “What’s with you and your church? It’s like you never have anytime for us”. You wince, and you look away. It hurts when your friends say that. They continue hacking at the fun they had in the holidays. You just stand there, disconnected and alone. Unconsciously, deep down, your heart says, “Don’t say anything stupid like that again. Just fit in, you like being accepted”.

Little things like these are the lies we believe in. They are toxic and brutal. They bring down our faith. It does not matter if our friends accept us or not. What matters is that we have been accepted by God because of Christ’s sacrifice even though we were unworthy. Jesus even said, “because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). 

These things are subtle, and this was just one encounter. They happen 24/7 at school. They occur in the playground when we are with our friends. They happen in the classroom when the teacher berates Christianity. Slowly but surely, these lies build up in our heads, and we start believing them. Our faith plummets, and we feel like we like in a dark hole no one understands. This is the reality of a spiritual war. It really is a war because behind all these lies, we must know that there is the cosmic scheme of the devil. 

Big picture, God has won and defeated death. Satan knows he has lost and will be condemned one day. Obviously, Satan is not happy. At the current moment, God is working to gather His people together into His church. He is justifying, sanctifying and glorifying His people. Satan is not happy that people are returning to God from their sins. He wants people to rebel against God. Even though he knows that he cannot take away a Christian’s salvation, he will try his best to sway the Christian’s faith in the world so that they fall into sin and shame their God and live a useless life for God’s kingdom. Satan does not like God’s kingdom, and he will do anything to hinder it. 

So this is the reality. The father of lies is feeding us lies at school. It might seem frightening, but we should not fear. As Christians, we are in Christ. Christ has already defeated the power of the devil and sin. This is a sure assurance because Jesus rose from the dead, meaning he overcame and defeated death. We must rely on God in this battle. We are not strong enough ourselves. As Ephesians 6:10 says, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might”. 

Have we surrendered our school days ahead into God’s hand? Have we prayed and asked God to be on our side as we endure the lies we will receive? Trust in God, surrender all to Him. Rely on His strength today. 

Lord, school is back, and so is the fierce battle. The lies are everywhere, and I know that I so easily believe in them. Please forgive me when I believe in them because that hurts Your heart. I’m sorry for denying You and leaving You so many times just to fit into the world. Please be my strength and help me navigate through school. Help me to hold firm to Your truth and even be a witness of Your light to those around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.