Since last night was Graduation night for the Warren County High School Seniors, I thought I would talk about how these teens can keep themselves faithful to God as they embark on the journey to adulthood and beyond. Many of these graduates will be leaving their houses where they grew up, and either attending college or finding a job. The transition from high school to adulthood can have its ups and downs, so, as a new graduate, it is always important for a person to take the necessary steps to guard him or herself from the temptation to fall out of being a faithful Christian. Here are some things that a newly graduated senior may need to do and/or look out for once they leave the direct supervision of their family members.
1. When attending a college and/or acquiring employment, always be cautious about choosing with whom to spend most of your time. After graduating high school in 2001, I immediately began attending college. My first two years were at a community college, so I was still living with my parents. However, when I moved on to attend a university in a nearby county, I lived in an all-women dormitory, where I observed my neighbors do many ungodly things. I learned while living on campus that it is always a very critical choice in determining with whom a person should associate. I saw many students get into trouble because they joined the crowd who liked to drink alcohol and go to clubs to party. Those students (like myself) who went to college to study and who made friends with fellow Christians, had a much more positive experience in college. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The same goes for places of employment. If a person is at a job and only associates himself or herself with those who have sinful ways, then their influence will eventually take an effect and may cause a person to fall away from God. Every Christian should guard their influence so that they might not cause themselves and others to sin. Even though a Christian may not actively participate in the wrongdoing of those he associates with, not standing up against the sinful acts of others can be viewed as condoning those acts in the eyes of others. Being a Christian means that we are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be different from every other person who is not a faithful child of God. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13).
2. No matter how many hours a graduate spends at college or at a job, he should always make the best effort possible to attend church services. The easiest way to become spiritually weak is to miss church services on a regular basis. We are commanded to observe the Lord’s Day on the first day of the week, according to Acts 20:7. This verse does not say to just go to church on Sunday morning but miss on Sunday night without a good reason. Truly faithful Christians should want to attend church services every time the door is open, unless they are sick themselves or taking care of someone who is ill. By failing to attend church services regularly, Christians are depriving themselves of spiritual growth while dealing with a world that does not focus on spiritual nourishment. If there is not a church of Christ near where a person is staying, then that person can get with 2 or more people and have their own service. It is easy to stop going to church once a person begins to attend college or begins to work long hours, but no matter what a person’s situation is, he or she should always put God first in their lives.
3. Christians should seek other Christians to date. There is nothing in the Bible that forbids Christians marrying non-Christians. However, if a young Christian man or lady wishes to start dating, the dating relationship and future marriage would go so much smoother if their partner were Christians as well. I know this from personal experience. My husband and I were both baptized at a young age, and were both Christians when we began dating. It made our relationship stronger knowing that we both wanted to put God first in our lives. It was also easier on both of us to not have the issue of trying to convert the other person to Christ. Conversely, I have members of my family who are Christian and have been married to non-Christians for many years and still cannot convert them. God does not forbid this marriage, because according to 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, there is always a chance that one spouse can convert the other. It is just easier if that is already taken care of in the beginning. Even though two people who are just starting to date may not be thinking about marriage in the future, marriage is always a possibility. Therefore, for the sake of the relationship as well as for the benefit of any future children, it is best for a Christian to date and marry another Christian. Of course, if a Christian who is dating a non-Christian can convert that person before marriage that is very beneficial as well!
4. A Christian should monitor his or her appearance. The old saying, “You cannot always judge a book by its cover” may be true, however, young Christians can harm their influence by how they dress and how they present themselves. Immodest clothing, which can be described as any clothing that does not cover a male or female from the shoulders to the knees (even while sitting), can give a negative message to others about a Christian’s spiritual strength (Genesis 3:21; Exodus 28:42; Isaiah 37:42; 1 Timothy 2:9). Not that a Christian who dresses in this manner is trying to be spiritually weak, however, people must always guard how they might appear to others, especially during the warm seasons like now, when immodesty is so prevalent. Of course, if people are taught early on to dress modestly, they will have no issue with this when they are at the age of accountability. It is best to start teaching our children at a young age to dress modestly so that they will be used to it when they get older. I will go into the subject of modesty more in a future article.
Not only dress, but how a Christian conducts themselves in front of others should be monitored. Christians should not curse, tell dirty jokes, gossip, or promote any other wrong behavior. This can lead to others thinking that either this behavior is okay, because a Christian is doing it, or they will think that the Christian is spiritually weak, which would actually be true in this case.
I am sure there are many other points that could be made that would help this year’s graduating class become and continue to be better Christians, but these are just a few of which I have thought. I am so proud of all the graduates this year, and I wish them much success and happiness in their future!!