June 10, 2009

Beating Post HS Challenges (2)

Written By Cary Schmidt

(This is the second 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.)

In the first article of this series we visited the challenge of a job—how graduates can get off track through their first employment opportunity. The big challenge is that of friends. Daniel chapter 1 is one of the greatest lessons on friendship in the entire Bible. Because one man took at stand, three others stood with him—regardless of the rest of the crowd. And in the end, all four of them ended up 10 times better than everyone else in the realm! What a huge lesson on carefully choosing friends and being willing to walk away from the wrong crowd.

After graduation, those who choose the wrong crowd basically choose the wrong life! It’s that simple.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Nothing changes more rapidly after high school than friendships! A new job, less time with youth group friends, and college brings a whole new world of associations into the life of a young adult. This is a wonderful opportunity that brings with it some danger for those unprepared. Essentially, every graduate needs to understand how to draw a careful line between friends and acquaintances—defined as follows:

Friends are people who influence me—these are the people I desire to be like and with whom I will spend more time. These are the people who I will allow to have influence and a sharpening effect in my life. These should always be Christians and godly authorities who will continue to develop and mentor me in God’s grace.

Acquaintances are people I will influence—these are the ones I will determine to exert influence upon without becoming like them. These are co-workers, class-mates, and people who just aren’t going the same direction in life. Amos 3:3 teaches, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Often, young people feel anobligation to relationships—an obligation to give in to pressure, to fit in, to need acceptance from the wrong people. To survive this challenge, my greatest obligation must be to honor the Lord, and associate closely with people who will help me walk with Him. Graduates should feel no infatuation or obligation to potentially harmful relationships or associations. And every graduate should expect that the Devil will try to bring distracting relationships into your life very soon!

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.

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.