Three ways to start fresh this school year

Image: Three ways to start fresh this school year

How you can use your words, thoughts and actions to love God and serve others at school.

Let’s face it. Starting the new school year can be tough. For many of us, the thought of going back to school fills us with dread, regret and fear. For the lucky few, school can fill you with excitement, joy and confidence.

Considering the significant amount of time we actually spend at school, here’s a challenge for you this year: allow God to transform the way you view your schooling experience in 2017. 

Start the school year well by handing your words, thoughts and actions over to God.

1. Words

As you ease back into your group of friends, it’s tempting to want to look good in front of your fellow classmates. Unfortunately, something that accompanies this desire is gossip. Instead of falling into the trap of pointing out the staff or students who have gained weight, or got a bad hair cut, guard yourself with Ephesians 4:29…

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

This is a clear instruction to build others up by speaking to and about others for their good, and not our own. Be warned, gossip is an action that can destroy our faithful witness to Christ to fellow Christians and non-Christians. Challenge yourself to use your words to reveal the God who made you and saved you. 

Continually seek opportunities to love teachers and fellow classmates through your words as a clear demonstration of the immeasurable and steadfast love God has for you. 

2. Thoughts

Academically and socially, school is a place that tends to shape our priorities and thinking around ourselves. After all, the reason you go to school to learn, improve and achieve. But be aware to not be so caught up in your own world.

Instead, we need to apply the wisdom found in Proverbs 4:23…

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 

From the heart comes all thinking, feeling and choosing. Our thoughts influence the majority of things we do. So, start fresh by filling your hearts and minds with the wisdom that comes from God’s word. Listen to the call of Philippians 4:8… 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

We are called to fill our minds with things that will encourage us to devote our lives to God, and serve others.

This school year, use goal setting to move your thoughts into action. You can set yourself a goal/s for the whole year, or for each semester, term or week. 

This might look like talking to your non-Christian friends about Jesus, or regularly inviting friends (or teachers) to church. Or perhaps extending a helping hand to the new Year 7 students who look lost and bewildered, looking around helplessly for their classroom!

Use God’s word to transform your thoughts for the advancement of others and the advancement of God’s kingdom. 

3. Actions

A busy timetable, homework, assignments, teachers who frustrate you to no end… these are only a handful of the many reasons student find it easy to complain or misbehave. So protect yourselves with the words of Philippians 2:14-15…

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” aThen you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

This school year, remember that everything you do, from your behaviour in class or the playground, to your dedication towards study, homework and assignments, can begin gospel conversations with your classmates. Realise that school is your mission field! Live out your faith in all that you do, as it can reveal the sacrificial love and character of Jesus. 

And on the days when all these things go out the window, keep Lamentations 3:22-23 in mind, as fuel for your desire to start afresh. For we know that God graciously removes judgment and offers restoration to those who repent. Even in the face of our unfaithfulness, God’s faithfulness will never fail…

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

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