Training for Reigning - 09 - Back at school

BACIC AT SCHOOL again? . . . or perhaps it’s the office, or store, or factory? . . . or ft may be that you are staying home for a while? In any case this chapter is meant for Christian ‘teenagers wherever they may be; because it’s more than likely that they - that you - will be faced with the same old problem once more, the fact that you are different from others, that you feel a constant restraint in their presence, and that you must be forever pulling yourself back from going along with the crowd. It just seems that you never can do the things, or go places, like other people; never can do what you want to do. No matter what comes along it’s always the same old story: "You can’t do that"; or, "You mustn’t go there!" It wouldn’t be so bad if only people could understand why things are so. But they don’t understand at all. They think you are queer, unreasonable, or crazy; while everything within you (almost . . . but not quite) yearns to have friends, be sociable and go places.
If every bit of your being had been born again it would have been different. But as it is, with the natural you, the self-life, the "flesh," just longing to be like, to act like, all the other "kids," while the weak little new-born part of you timidly wants to please the Lord Jesus . . . well, it surely isn’t going to be easy to be very happy in such circumstances, I admit. Yet there is one thing that I can tell you that may help a little: the most unhappy days of the I-wish-I-could-be-like-other-people period are likely to be just that, A STAGE THAT YOU ARE PASSING THROUGH . . . something like the time you cut your first teeth, or maybe had the measles. This experience is often divided into three periods:
I. The half-scared, half-sick stage.
2. The period when the gang has decided that you are hopeless and doesn’t bother with you any more.
3. The triumph, when, in some measure, you become A RADIANT CHRISTIAN, having not only lived through, but lived past the hurt of their taunts, to the happy discovery that your own unconcealed joy in your Lord far excels their soon-over good times . . . excels to the point where THEY WILL SECRETLY ADMIRE YOU and envy your quiet peace and satisfaction.
Oh, I know you don’t feel that you will ever be like that. I know too that the Devil will see to it that your own feelings will scream at you, "You’re a failure! You’re a failure! You’re no good; you never will be any good, and you know it . . what’s the use of it all?" (Between ourselves, some of us oldsters get that way betimes, when we get to "seeing giants" instead of "seeing God").
But God knew you would be like that before He saved you! He is determined (as you will realize when you are older) to make the most of your life in view of the fact that you are going to go on living for "ages to come" (Ephesians 2:7).
He gave you the Holy Spirit to dwell within you to spur up your desires to please your Lord (Galatians 5: 16-18).
His exhortations in the Bible, warning you to keep clear of worldly things, were not written just to make your life miserable, but to PROTECT YOU FROM HARM while you are making your way through this God-forgetting world.
Never forget that the life of every unconverted sinner, no matter how clever or seemingly successful, IS AN ENTIRE FAILURE; and apart from fulfilling a mere creature role, IS A DEAD LOSS TO GOD (Romans 3: 12). Since nothing of earth can last, their greatness is only for a few years at the most; while ahead of you there lie THE AGES TO COME with "possibilities" far beyond our imaginations (1 John 2: 17).
So, let’s pray for more courage, more grace, more strength - and go at it again. Let us "commit our works unto the Lord" (Proverbs 16:3) - hand over to Him our mistakes, blunders, and past failures, as well as the few weak efforts we have made to acknowledge Him to others (Proverbs 3: 6); for His promise assures us that this is the way to get our "thoughts (our purposes) established" . . . lasting success. And let’s have a marching song in our hearts.
 "O Christian awake! for the strife is at hand:
With helmet and shield, and a sword in thy hand,
To meet the bold tempter, go, fearlessly go,
And stand, like the brave, with thy face to the foe.
O stand like the brave, with thy face to the foe."
(Believers’ Hymn Book No. 177)
In furtherance of modern ideas of education and "social awareness," such school activities as folk-dancing, theatre-attendance in connection with language studies, etc., often place our children in most embarrassing situations; any pupil who refuses to participate must be considered uncooperative, and is likely to suffer needlessly, if left to battle out the issue alone. But there is no necessity for such useless, resentment-fostering conflicts. A note should be sent to the PRINCIPAL of the school (not to the teacher) and signed by the FATHER of the scholar stating the objections, and asking that the pupil be released from such duties. In most provinces, or states, the educational laws require that such petitions be respected, since they are based on conscientious grounds.