On Wednesday we kicked off our back-to-school season here on the blog with How to Love School This Year. Today I want to continue with a related subject: how to deal with opposing cultures and viewpoints in school.
This post is geared more toward those who attend a public school, but it can also apply to any secular situation, from school to a job to an extracurricular activity or if you have friends who are unbelievers. Even if you go to a Christian school, you will be faced with situations where you are presented with lies, and we have to know where to turn when that happens.
Here are five strategies to help you stay grounded in the truth during this school year.
1. Remind yourself of the truth often.
Before we can defend truth, we have to know and understand it. And after we understand it, we have to continue to remind ourselves of it from day to day.
Reading God’s Word should be a daily foundation of our lives. It should be the first place we turn when we’re sad, upset, or searching for answers. The Word is Truth, and the only way we can know truth is by reading it regularly.
“The sum of Your Word is truth, and and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” -Psalm 119:160
This school year, make it a first priority to read and reflect on the Bible every single day.
2. Hang out with other people who believe the truth.
Fellowship is an important aspect of the Christian life, and having strong Christians around you can make all the difference while dealing with a secular environment. Additionally, surrounding yourself completely with unbelievers can be dangerous; choose your friends wisely and make sure you have a good balance.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
When you have Christian friends, you can stand up for the truth together, and if one of you has doubts the others can pull them out of their doubts and help them stand up again. Even just having one or two like-minded people with you in school can make a huge difference.
This school year, choose to nurture the friendships that will help you grow spiritually and let go of the ones that hold you back.
3. Test everything you are told against the truth.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” -1 John 4:1a
Especially in a secular school setting, you will have constant information coming your way, and not all of it will be true according to the Word of God. If you follow tip #1 and are reading the Bible every day, that will make it much easier to test what you hear according to what you have been reading.
Don’t accept everything blindly; think for yourself about issues and come to a decision that reflects God’s truth.
This school year, think hard about everything you are taught and test it under God’s lens.
4. Be ready to defend the truth boldly.
Just as there are opposing viewpoints coming your way often, there will be occasions where you will have to explain your own opinion or get asked a question that leads into some deep religious conversation.
“…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” -1 Peter 3:15
Don’t shy away from this kind of conversation! Be prepared for it and seize the opportunity to share your faith and potentially convert someone to Christianity. If you are shy about witnessing, pray that God would give you boldness and trust that His Spirit will do great work through You when the opportunity comes.
This school year, boldly share the truth of the gospel with unbelievers in your path.
5. Don’t give in to doubts, but use them as a way to become stronger in truth.
Doubting is an easy way to quickly derail your faith.
“…for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea who is driven and tossed by the wind.” -James 1:6
But if you start to doubt, that doesn’t mean that all is lost! Everyone has doubts at times, but we have to learn how to react to them in faith.
First of all, remember that feelings are not the truth. Feelings are real and can hurt a lot, but they do not represent the truth about the world around us. When doubt hits you, immediately turn to God instead of away. Ask that He would restore your faith and make a conscious choice to still trust Him even though your feelings would have you do otherwise.
Then, seek out the answers to your questions! Don’t just push your doubt to the back of your mind, but rather use it as an opportunity to strengthen your faith by learning more about God and finding the best answers you can to the questions you have. Spend serious time studying the Bible. Read books about the topic. Ask your pastor, your parents, or other knowledgeable people you know.
This school year, defeat doubt by seeking answers in God and trusting Him regardless of feelings.
There will always be challenges to our faith, no matter where our lives take us, but I hope these five tips help you to stay firmly grounded no matter what.
What do you think? Will these tips help you? Have you struggled with doubt or had your faith tested or questioned in the past? Share in the comments below!