Your school building and friends may have remained unchanged this summer, but you don't have to. The start of a new school year is a rare opportunity for you to evaluate how you are living and declare a do-over if there are areas you need to adjust.
Here are questions I'd like you to ask yourself concerning who you will be this school year:
1. Am I choosing friendships that help me deepen my walk with Christ?
Proverbs 13:20 promises, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
First Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'"
Who you choose to spend time with matters a lot. One thing I love about a new school year is that you can literally reinvent your circle of friends. Take a hard look at the impact your friendships had on your faith last year. Did your friends challenge you to live like Jesus or push you to compromise? If your friendships were a source of temptation or struggle, seek out wiser friends. Consider getting involved in a Christian organization such as FCA to find friends who are passionate about loving Jesus this year.
2. Are there patterns of sin that I need to stop?
First Corinthians 15:34 says, "Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame."
A break from routine offers a great opportunity to turn and run from patterns of sin. Consider how you spent your school day last year. Did you gossip? Cheat on homework? Lie to teachers or friends?
Make a commitment to turn and run in the opposite direction of those sins this year. Ask God to expose areas of sin in your life. Reinforce what He shows you by putting Scriptures about specific areas of struggle in your locker or notebooks where you can read them often.
3. Who does God want me to reach out to this school year?
In Matthew 28:19–20 Jesus says, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Your school is your mission field. That's true if you attend a huge public high school or are homeschooled at your dining room table. Wherever you are, there are people who need to be ministered to. Who can you specifically minister to this school year? What will you do to reach out to them?
I'd love to hear your answers to these questions. Leave us a comment, and tell us what you will do to glorify Jesus this school year. Think of it as a homework assignment that really counts.