Year 12 Survival - Part 1
The last year of school. Is it a make or break time in your life?
For many Christians, Year 12 is a make-or-break time. How you handle this last year of school can have a massive impact on your faith - for better or for worse. Some Christians will give up their faith due to stress, worry and/or distraction. While for others, the challenge of this last year of school can be a time of real growth as they learn to trust God more fully.
I assume that for those of you in year 12, you are keen to make this a growth year. So to encourage you, we're going to start with one of my favourite books in the Bible, Hebrews!
Hebrews was written to Christians facing a tough challenge; persecution was breaking out against them, and they were tempted to shrink back to a safe and easy life … but a life without Jesus. How did this letter to the Hebrews encourage them to stick with it? How will it help you in these final months of school? The book of Hebrews urges us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews starts by reminding us that God is not distant and silent: he has spoken through the prophets in the past (it's all there in the Old Testament), and now in these last days, he has revealed himself to us through Jesus. Chapter 2 starts with a challenge to listen closely and carefully to God speaking through his Word.
As I look back over my 15 years as a Christian, I can see a clear pattern. The times when I have felt distant from God, and more likely to give in to temptation, are the times when I've not been committed to reading my Bible regularly. I feel closest to God, and stronger at resisting temptation, when I have a good Bible reading habit going on.
It's quite simple really: do you want to feel closer to God this year? Do you want your faith in Jesus to grow through the challenge of Year 12? Then, start the good habit of reading your Bible regularly! It doesn't have to be every day (although that helps). My goal is to read four chapters each week. Choose a book in the Bible, and start reading! Try some variations: read a chapter before breakfast or before you turn your bedroom light off at night. Meet up with some friends in a cafe and read together. If you have a spare hour on a Saturday, find somewhere nice to sit and read. You could write out your favourite verses on post-it notes and stick them all over the walls of your room, or keep a journal about what you're reading. Pray about what you're reading and learning. If you're not sure where to start, then I'd suggest the book of Hebrews.
If you want to stick with Jesus and grow your faith, then it's vital to take time regularly to listen as God speaks to you through his Word. God has spoken to us through his Son, Jesus (Hebrews 1:1) and we should pay careful attention, so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1-4).