Back to School: Do Hard Things

Titus 1:16 “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Once there was a man named Robert, we call him Mr. Bob. He once told us this story about when he was in the air force. He had to completely memorize over 100 enemy plans, so well that when they were flashed on the screen for a 1/8 of a second he could name what plane it was. Well during all of this he got laryngitis and he had to stay in the medical center for 11 days. When he was able to come back, they told him that he was to far behind and would have to go home because they didn’t have time for him to catch up. Mr. Bob asked if he could try on his own and they agreed to let him. So off he went with a 2½-inch stack of papers. Each sheet of paper had one airplane on it. The day of the test came. Out of 600 men who attended every class, guess who got the best score: Mr. Bob! He only missed one question.

Why? Because he had something to do and he worked hard, to the best of his ability.

A few months ago Bronte, Becca, and I attended the Rebulution conference along with several others from our church. Brett Harris, one of the speakers, told a story about this guy who went in to take a big test. Brett heard this guy say that he received 90% on his test and didn’t even study; at first I was like “Wow that is a crazy smart guy!” But I started thinking that he could have probably gotten 100% if he had just studied hard, to the best of his ability. It was very neat that he did that well but he probably didn’t try that hard. What matters is working hard, even at something that is easy for you.

We could be really good at something and think we don’t need to put any effort in to it because we will do well no matter what. Even if that is true just think of we could do if we pushed ourselves to the limit of what we can do. We could be great at something instead of just good. Even though I am one of the worst examples of doing this, I am trying.

There is no way that we can do this on our own. We need help from God who will help us work hard even when we don’t feel like it. We also need help from the godly friends around us. Ask each other how they are working towards accomplishing this goal. Make sure everyone is relying on God’s strength and not their own.

So, do hard things to the best of your ability. This glorifies God.

Back to School: Humility

Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

As I was thinking about going back to school the word “popularity” kept coming to mind. Popularity is a hard thing to fight against because it’s a form of pride that can show up no matter where we are! It can show up at school, church, and honestly, the grocery store.

My desire to be popular is really a desire for other people to like me, want to be around me and think that I’m cool. While this isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, it all too often it takes hold of me and becomes an unhealthy passion. In Proverbs 21:4 is says: “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”

Another thing that’s hard for me is the desire to be pretty and this fits right in with this “popularity” topic. I want to be beautiful and usually the outward beauty becomes more desirous to me than inward beauty—The beauty that really matters. The beauty God sees. This verse is very helpful to me regarding this: Ezekiel 28:17 “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.”

So what does all of this have to do with school? Well, as I alluded to in the beginning pride can creep up anywhere. And as teens the place we’re at the most is school. Even I struggle with this and I do all my school at home with my family! Actually, once a week I go to a place called South Heights to take a few classes. South Heights is sort of a “buffed up” co-op, if you know what I mean. This is where I struggle with this temptation the most. A lot of kids attend this place and in a place this big you’re going to see different types of kids. I want to be a “cool” kid and I want to fit in. Again, this is not a sin in and of itself but it is when I start acting like someone I’m not.

That is what this desire does it “corrupts” people. It takes hold of them and leads them to do silly things.

How do I fight this? I need to fight my pride by being humble. This can be a hard thing to do. But do you know what? God will help us! We don’t have to do this one our own! James 4:6: “But he [God] gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” God gives grace! Isn’t that a comforting thought?

Another way to fight pride is to remember this type of popularity fades away. It can never last. Besides, I don’t want to be a popular girl anyway (in the movies they’re bratty cheerleaders J) but I do want to be a “woman who fears the Lord.” I want to be (by God’s grace) a strong Christian, I want to be able to stand up for my faith, I want to grow more in my love for the cross, I want to (Lord willing) be a wife who serves her husband and a mother who loves her children. (See Proverbs 30:10-31) Isn’t this what’s really important? Isn’t this what lasts the longest?

Most importantly we must always remember the cross. We won’t always win in our temptation over pride. God knows I fail again and again. But even when I do fail I don’t have to feel condemned because Jesus Christ paid for everything on the cross. Because he did we have forgiveness from all our sins and he promises to help us in time of need.

I want to leave you with this verse (one of my favorites): Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Saints be encouraged!