June 12, 2009

Beating Post HS Challenges (3)

Written By Cary Schmidt

(This is the third in a series articles about the first big tests that high school graduates face. We’ve been studying them in our senior Sunday school class and I hope these ideas will be helpful to you or those you influence.)

The Challenge of Freedom—this third challenge speaks of the increasing freedoms that always accompany adulthood. These freedoms are well deserved, but they must be handled properly—for many abuse their freedom to their own demise. First Corinthians 10:12 teaches,“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

This verse reminds me of that scene in Bambi when he is trying to walk on a frozen pond. The slippery surface of the ice makes it nearly impossible for Bambi to get his balance and find stability. With every attempt to walk, he goes sprawling wildly out of control. Often, I see graduates step onto the slippery surface of adulthood only to soon fall and crack their heads open because they didn’t realize how slippery this new surface was!

If you needed to make a long trek across a frozen surface and you wanted to do so safely, you would first choose to step very carefully! Every step—every decision—would be made deliberately and cautiously. Beyond that, you would be wise to find some tool to provide stability and traction. Much like ice-shoes that are equipped with long metal teeth to grip a slippery surface, there are three vital dynamics that provide traction and stability on the slippery surface of adulthood.

Godly direction gives traction—it’s always those who have “no idea what to do” after high school that end up floating pointlessly through life only to ultimately make a mess of their lives. It is absolutely vital that every graduate find God’s direction and pursue it—for direction gives traction and solid footing. For the graduate who honestly does not know God’s direction, priority one should be to seek and solidify that direction—and sometimes that makes a year of Bible college a really good idea. That sure beats floating around pointlessly while you make Big Macs.

Embracing responsibility gives traction—as great as freedom is, it brings with it an amazing level of responsibility. Those who handle their freedom in light of the greater responsibility always survive the trek across the ice. Maturity is not age, it is the acceptance of responsibility. Treating freedom with great responsibility makes a person more spiritually stable and less likely to slip and fall.

Voluntary accountability gives traction—those who stay close to godly authorities—by their own free will—always stand stronger and enjoy God’s greater blessings in the outcomes of their decisions. Those who quickly cast off authority and accountability usually end up broken and bleeding in the middle of a “slippery no-where.” Wise people always choose voluntarily to remain accountable to godly friends and influences—just so they can have the traction to survive the trek!

As I write this article, I have just attended the West Coast Baptist College commencement services where 21 of our youth group graduates received their Bible College diplomas. After the service, the students asked me if we could take a class photo by the pulpit. Just the thought brought a lump to my throat. For four years I’ve watched these young people resist the trends of their world. They’ve been mocked at work, scorned in the world, and rejected by carnal friends who slipped on the ice. But these graduates found traction.

As we gathered for that photo, tears of joy welled up from my heart. Then we gathered together in a circle and prayed—thanking God for His provision and protection upon their lives to this point. Then, quite honestly, I had to find a quiet place to cry and thank God for His goodness. Life just gets better and better for those who live God’s way and for those who find traction to survive the tests and temptations of young adulthood!

Beware of these three big challenges, and let us prayerfully and purposefully prepare our young adults to face these tests while standing strong in God’s truth!

Stay tuned for more big challenges. And until then, share your comments or additional thoughts, and be sure to consider who you can challenge with these thoughts.

Note: These articles are also shared in the April 2009 issue of The Baptist Voice—a subscription-based magazine from the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College.