By Claire Ryan
School can be tough.
It’s September; the days are becoming shorter, the nights longer, the weather is starting to cool, and school is in full swing. I remember being in middle and high school; I wanted to fit in, to be liked. I would do just about anything to make people laugh. I enjoyed school, but mainly for hanging out with friends and the occasional time I spent reading for fun. I also remember the mid-semester blues.
Where I attended high school, there were not a ton of like-minded individuals; not many people who loved the Lord and lived to serve Him. Which is why I could hardly wait for each school day to end so I could get home to my family. Following Jesus can sometimes be scary or difficult, especially when the distractions of school, friends, or popularity can cause a lack of focus.
We all may be familiar with the story of Job. “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” (Job 1:1). He was described as “upright” and “blameless,” someone “who feared God.” Job did right in the eyes of the Lord. And God had so much trust in Job that He allowed Satan to reign horror down on the man’s life, knowing Job’s faith would not falter. Job lost everything, yet his allegiance remained with God.
How do we, in this fallen, treacherously sinful world, walk blameless and upright in Christ?
Consider Paul. A murderer-turned-forgiven through Christ. A feared Pharisee turned grace-covered Ambassador. “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.’” (Acts 17: 1-3)
Think about that phrase: “As was his custom.” Proclaiming Christ was what Paul was about; it was who he was. It was his traditional way of behaving. It occupied every action of his born-again life.
How do we walk blameless and upright in Christ?
When school gets challenging, tiring, or boring, or when we start to lose our focus, the Lord still has a plan for our daily lives: to be about Him and His business. To have our lives reflect His love in the way we live and treat others. To seek opportunities to grow in Him and share with others His daily mercies. It should simply be our custom to live in such a way.
Paul’s ministry changed the lives of thousands of individuals who chose to follow Christ in their day to day. Fruit was born of Paul’s labors. Fruit can be born of your faith, too.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul reminds us of his sufferings for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and faced countless other dangers. But because he planted his faith in Christ, he understood the worth behind his suffering.
Jesus is worthy of your time, your efforts, your service. He is worthy of your diligence in school, your respect for His name, and your love for His created people. He is worthy of your focus.
Yes, even when the days become shorter, the nights longer, and the weather cools. Even when school is in full swing and so many distractions are vying for your attention, seeking to separate you from Christ.
Just like Paul, be about the business of your Father in Heaven.
As is your custom.