When I think back to my middle school and high school days, my mind’s eye pulls up a cloud of never-ending homework assignments, best friend sleepovers, football games, dance rehearsals, and running through the long halls toward the cafeteria when the lunch bell rang. (Everyone else did that, right? Or was my school out of its mind? I mean, we sprinted to lunch with a speed rivaling that of a track meet. Anyway . . .) My mind also drifts to the things I would’ve done differently—gossiped less, loved more, worked more faithfully with God’s glory as my goal, instead of focusing on my own reputation.
Then my mind envisions you walking the halls of your own high school.
What are you facing as you slide into your desk every day?
What challenges weigh on your heart?
What temptations fight for your attention?
What’s your work ethic—more accurately, your homework ethic—like?
What are your goals, hopes, and dreams?
While I could tell my own stories and offer my own advice for your days in school, there’s an infinitely better source of unfailing wisdom that will always guide you, no matter the situations you face at your locker, on the field, in the science lab, or in math class. It’s God’s Word, the source of light and wisdom (Ps. 19:7–11, 119:105).
So here are thirty Proverbs, arranged by topic, to take into this school year. Hang them in your locker, write them on your notebooks, carry them on cards in your backpack, memorize them as you run in gym class (or to lunch?). This wisdom will be your help, encouragement, and guide wherever you go—and you’ll need it. I promise.
When you’re surrounded by students and teachers on a daily basis, the temptation to talk about others constantly knocks on your locker door. Gossip drives wedges between friends, perpetuates false rumors, shoots stinging arrows into hearts, and it never pleases God. In fact, when we gossip, our mouths are doing the enemy’s work. Here are some proverbs to remind you of that truth.
Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously (4:24).
The mind of the righteous person thinks before answering, but the mouth of the wicked blurts out evil things (15:28).
A false witness will not go unpunished, and one who utters lies perishes (19:9).
The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip; avoid someone with a big mouth (20:19).
Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down (26:20).
A contrary person spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends (16:28).
Envy is ridiculously subtle. It can imprison you while you don’t even realize you’re its prisoner. So before you start looking at what she has, what she posts on social media, or what grades she gets, be on guard for that comparison stuff. It will rob your joy and make you forget all the blessings you have in Jesus Christ. Choose thankfulness instead.
A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones (14:30).
Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the LORD. For then you will have a future and your hope will not be dashed (23:17–18).
God’s Word = wisdom. You will be faced with situations in which you have no clue what to do. Go to the Word. The answer may not be explicitly spelled out in the pages of your Bible, but it will—I repeat, it absolutely, no doubt about it, will—provide the wisdom you need to seek God and to apply it to your life.
Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words from my mouth. Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding (4:5–7).
Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life (4:13).
A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise (12:15).
Commit your activities to the LORD, and your plans will be established (16:3).
This school year will bring challenges. You can be prepared for them and know that God uses difficult things to shape you into the image of His Son.
Do not despise the LORD’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline; for the LORD disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights (3:11–12).
Anyone who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever listens to correction acquires good sense (15:32).
We need kindness in the halls of our schools and in our hearts!
When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one to whom it belongs (3:27).
Sin waits for us around more corners than we realize. Take wisdom with you, and cultivate discernment. Ask God to guard your heart and help you recognize danger in your path.
Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life (4:23).
A sensible person sees danger and takes cover, but the inexperienced keep going and are punished (22:3).
Our pride just never seems to take a vacation day—and God’s opinion on the matter is very clear.
When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom (11:2).
A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions (18:2).
Conflict will come; ask God for grace to extend His love to others.
Hatred stirs up conflicts, but love covers all offenses (10:12).
Your friends matter—they will either point you toward Jesus or pull you away from Him. Choose intentionally!
The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm (13:20).
Stay away from a foolish person; you will gain no knowledge from his speech (14:7).
Emotions and Self-Control
Homework, projects, after-school practices, tests, and class bells are like pressure cookers for our emotions. When you’re stressed out, it’s easy to blow up. We need patience and self-control.
A patient person shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness (14:29).
Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s emotions, than capturing a city (16:32).
A person who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down (25:28).
A wise person is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool is easily angered and is careless (14:16).
Sin and Confession
Know this: Your hidden sin that doesn’t seem like a big deal now will grow big enough to destroy you. Bring it into the light—and know that there is grace when we confess.
The LORD hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers (6:16–19).
The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy (28:13).
Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin (24:16).
The Lord is a strong tower! Rest in Him; rely on Him; run to Him. His faithfulness will guide you through this school year.
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge (14:26).
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected (18:10).
And to round off those thirty Proverbs, let’s finish with a prayer:
Lord, please help these students to fight the temptation to sin—to gossip, to envy, to be lazy, to be filled with pride. As they seek You, give them humility, love, kindness, discretion, self-control, and wisdom. When they fail, draw them back to Yourself. Let them taste your grace so vibrantly that their lives radiate the love of Your Son to others. Become their source of strength, hope, and joy so that through them, Your name would be made great. In Jesus’ name, amen.
PS: These proverbs are listed in the new CSB translation of the Bible. (We found them reading our She Reads Truth Bible. Check it out here). Find a Bible you love, and read it often this school year!