How can I make a difference at my Christian school?
It’s true that some Christians are called by God into hostile territory. In a Christian culture that may mean a faraway land; in a fallen-away culture like ours, it may mean here at home. Would following Christ be easier in an even more fallen-away environment, like a public or secular school? How can you serve Christ where you are? Let me offer four things for you to think about.
First, you’re still a student; by definition, you’re still being formed. Of course we have to stand up for Christ at every age. Even so, a call to go into a hostile environment like a secular school would be much more plausible if you were already finished with your education — for example, if you were a teacher rather than a student. For now, learn what you can where you are.
Second, consider your motives. If we want to go into hostile territory in order to spread the gospel despite the danger, that’s love. But if we want to put ourselves in danger just in the thought that a fight would be more spiritual, that isn’t love; it’s just pride. Surely we need trials and tests, but we can count on God to send the ones we need. We don’t have to go looking for them.
Third, suppose you do need a spiritual trial. What’s wrong with the one that you’re in? Doesn’t it already weigh down your spirit that so many students in your Christian school don’t seem to be serious about Christ? Aren’t you already in a fight on the battlefield of your heart? So not only can you count on God to send you a trial if you need one — He already has! Instead of longing for a different trial, one that seems spiritually more exciting, ask Him to teach you the lessons of the trial that he’s given you.
Fourth, be more generous in spirit to the students who seem unserious to you. You can’t see inside their hearts. Some of your classmates may just be on a different timetable than you are; quite a few of the heroes of faith obeyed Christ’s call only late in life. Jesus Himself has something to say about that; read Matthew 20:1-16. Some of your classmates may also be more advanced in their faith than you think. For example, you speak of living passionately for God, but depth of commitment and intensity of emotion are not the same thing. For all you know, you may even have dismissed some spiritual superiors as unspiritual, just because their relationship with God isn’t as emotional as yours.
May Christ bless your longing for Him. May He water it and make it grow! But if you follow these four bits of counsel, I think the question of how to be a more effective witness in your school will take care of itself.
Peace be with you,
Copyright 2006 Professor Theophilus. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Professor J. Budziszewski is the author of more than a dozen books, including How to Stay Christian in College, Ask Me Anything, Ask Me Anything 2, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide, and The Line Through the Heart. He teaches government and philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.