By Joshua Lim
God expects us to live a life “worthy of the gospel of Christ”. I’ll admit it: that is impossibly hard to do. And being a teenager doesn’t make it any easier at all. As I look back on my four years in secondary school, I realised I had to learn three very important truths if I wanted to be more than a Christian by name.
Much of what I have learned was developed through past failures and disappointments, and even now, I still need much refining and improvement. But I thank God that at the end of the day, I walk away from this journey strengthened to apply these truths even in junior college.
1. Find fellow believers that can support you to walk right
“And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works.” ~Hebrews 10:24
I really thank God for putting many amazing Christians in school, in church, and in Youth For Christ (YFC), into my life to remind me of God’s goodness and how I should live in response to it. Some of them were peers – through their example, they showed me what it means to stand different from others and to seek opportunities to share the gospel. Some of them were mentors – they helped me to understand God’s word better and encouraged and advised me when I was going through various struggles.
God has given each of us a Christian community to share our struggles with, and we should really make full use of it. I think that it is important to constantly surround yourself with people who love Jesus alot, because they are the people you can draw strength from and seek godly counsel whenever you need it. When you’re feeling happy, they are the ones that will rejoice with you and point you towards the One who provides all things; when you’re feeling down; they are the ones that will comfort you and remind you of God’s everlasting love despite the circumstances
2. Be ready to defend your faith (at the very least don't feel embarrassed)
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” ~1 Peter 3:15
I remember when I was Sec 4; my atheist friend showed me and my group of friends, the video by CityRevival on why the LGBTQ community was satanic. Everyone found it extremely ridiculous on how far-fetched their hypothesis sounded, and to be honest, even I couldn’t help but to agree with them. My friend then went on and questioned me on why Christians couldn’t be more inclusive of gay people in society. He had hard evidence, and so I didn’t know how to respond. But more than that, I felt ashamed, because people would now have a bad impression of me as a Christian after they watched this video.
I think that it is important for Christians today to be aware of the things happening around us, and form a clear biblical view towards them. Maybe if I had a greater conviction of what my stance was towards LGBTQ people beforehand, things wouldn’t have turned out that way. Yet the Bible tells us to do this “with gentleness and respect”. Yes, when the need arises, we must make known to others a godly perspective towards important issues. But never should making a stand turn into forcing our view onto other people or attacking the religion of others. If we are just so concerned about proving ourselves right, can we still say we have loved others before ourselves?
3. Trust God even when things turn bad
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
I think that trusting God is a very difficult thing to do. When we’re in a state of crisis, it’s always easier to divert more time and energy towards resolving the crisis itself because that will directly help the situation. And because of that, we are very quick to try and solve the problem by ourselves. But maybe we need to slow down and think about who is really in control of our issues. Whether or not things work out, God is in control of everything, and He knows and allows it to happen. Only when we remember that He is the faithful God who wants the very best for us as His children, will we learn to submit to His rule and not just want to run life our own way.