by: Kaitlyn Jenkins
Ever been to summer camp? Experienced waking up to worship? Opened your eyes to be surrounded by hundreds of people who know Jesus?
It’s the most wonderful thing. Encouragement and accountability overwhelm you in the best way.
Unfortunately, camp doesn't last forever and school comes back around. Our friend Craig, a 17-year-old junior from Ebenezer Baptist Church in North Carolina, shared some of his challenges about the semester after camp and some practical ways he overcame temptation.
Craig said, “With school back in full force, my faith and walk with Christ were tested more than ever. Waking up and going to school is not quite the same as waking up and heading to a morning service at Crossroads Summer Camp.”
Let’s consider a day at school...
You're in classrooms all day consuming loads of facts that you think you'll never use, later to be assigned tons of homework (as if you aren’t already busy enough!).
You walk through the halls to hear your peers chatting about how much alcohol they’re going to buy for the party Friday and another group spewing streams of gossip.
You’re surrounded by worldly desires: lust, lies, greed and everything in between. Everything that Jesus cautions us against, but somehow following the crowd becomes easy when everyone is doing it.
Craig says, “With the excess of temptations and peer pressure, it's easy to wander away from God.”
Craig is right. It is easy.
Let's be real. There are sports, choir concerts, and homework, not to mention the social demands to remain cool. Being cool means time at the local Cook Out and extra time with friends you're trying to impress. Really this means no time left to do everything you need to do, much less any leftovers for God.
But here’s the thing… while all of that seems to be our reality, it's not actually how God tells us to live. He gives us the Great Commandment in Mark 12:30:
Practically this means we have to be obedient. We have to spend time in the Word so we know how to obey and abide.
In the same way, Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19:
Practically this means we have an opportunity to share our faith (from an overflow of the faith built in pursuit of the Great Commandment) and love the lost that don't yet know Jesus.
Craig speaks some encouragement saying, "The scripture I have stored in my heart that reminds me to keep my eyes on the ultimate prize (an eternal life with Jesus Christ) comes from Psalms 119:10:
How refreshing it is to know that earthly pleasures and behavior (lust, lies, greed and everything in between) so quickly fade, yet the things of the Lord will last forever.
So let’s set some goals together because the worst thing would be for you to have spent your precious time reading this blog and walk away changing nothing.
Ways to Follow God Instead of the Crowd
Set aside specific time for just you and Jesus.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of the day and skip this necessary time with Jesus. And this becomes especially easy when those around you are chasing harder after the world than Jesus. The best way to maintain this posture of faith is to learn from Jesus. How did He live? How did He love? Meet with Him to find out more.
Go to God first.
When you have a tough decision to make or begin to struggle with someone or something, FIRST talk it out with Jesus. Too often, we let the opinions of others drown out the truth we have stored in our hearts. No friend can tell you what you need to hear like Jesus can.
Pray for opportunities to be a light.
Craig shares his prayer with us, “I pray for the courage to go and share the good news of God’s word with the people in my school that I know are lost.” You have an incredible platform to share Jesus right now. You literally have people searching for fulfillment in worldly things that can only truly be found in Christ. They are sitting right next to you in English class! Plus, an extremely cool thing is you get to spend many months with them in school. You fail? Try again next week. You succeed? Keep moving forward and teaching them more and more about following Jesus.
About the Author: Kaitlyn Jenkins, the pride and joy of Loranger, Louisiana, has joined this year's Crossroads Discipleship Home and serves at our ministry as an administration and communications intern. She loves girl talks, Bojangles and all things Hallmark Christmas.