Key Scriptures: I Samuel 1:10-11, 24-28 and 3:1-21, Acts 18:1-4, Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 6:7, I Peter 4:12-13, Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 22:24-25, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 27:5-6, Philippians 2:14-15, Matthew 10:22, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 12:26, Acts 4:36, Acts 9:26-27, I Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:20-25, Acts 15:32, Isaiah 1:17, Philippians 2:3-4, Galatians 6:9, Proverbs 11:25, Proverbs 25:11, I Thessalonians 5:14, Hebrews 13:5, Ephesians 5:18-19, I Thessalonians 4:11-12, Colossians 3:23, Proverbs 13:4, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 12:24, Colossians 3:17, Proverbs 6:6-12, Titus 2:7-8, John 13:34, I John 4:17-21, Matthew 5:43-48, I Corinthians 13, I Peter 4:10-11, Romans 12:6-8, Matthew 5:14-16
Guiding Question: What does it “look like” to live a Christian life at school?
Optional Introductory Activity: School has several components. Tell students to get them in the mood to discuss school; you are giving them an assignment to “write” a “paper” together. Place random items on the table. The more random the items are the more fun the activity will be. If possible, have at least one item for every student. Tell the students you will start the “paper”. Once you have said your sentence, the first student must pick up an item from the table and use it in a sentence to add to the story. The story must have a plot line, although it can be silly. Students cannot create a list of items when it is their turn. The first sentence in the story is “It was a bright and sunny day…”
Lesson: (Questions to students are in bold italics.) Read I Samuel 1:10-11 and 24-28 and I Samuel 3:1-21. School in these early times would have been a more informal tutoring or apprentice type arrangement. Hannah dedicated Samuel to God and left him with Eli, but it also provided Samuel with his education. What can we gather from these scriptures about how Samuel viewed his role as a student? Who did Eli let him know was his ultimate teacher? School is a big part of our life for at least the first couple of decades. It would be easy to separate our life into nice little boxes with one box for Church/God and one for school. Why is it tempting to clearly separate God and our church life from school and our school life? Read Acts 18:1-4. Paul (and Priscilla and Aquila) set an example of combining our work/school/home lives with God. One can see Paul not just teaching and preaching in the synagogues on his day off, but also sharing his faith with his customers. If we want to mirror these early Christians, we need to bring our Christianity to school with us. Even if your school has a rule or two that attempts to keep God out of your school, they really can’t keep Him out or keep you from living out your faith while in school. (Note: You may want to ask students if they are aware of any such rules in their school. Many may erroneously believe they can’t mention God at all, but there are actually very few things schools can prevent students from doing with their faith in school.)
So what are some ways you can live out your Christian faith at school? (You may want to take all of their ideas first or just begin having them read the scriptures. Ask them what they believe those verses call them to do at school. You can use the notes with each category to add to the discussion or correct misunderstandings students may have about the topic. You can reveal the topic before reading scriptures or ask them to title the topic after they have read and discussed the scriptures.)
- Choosing godly friends: Read Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 22:24-25, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 27:5-6. Sadly, sometimes people who call themselves Christian may act in less godly ways than some people who don’t. You want to choose friends who will encourage you to do what God wants you to do. What specific qualities do these verses tell us to look for in potential friends? What other characteristics should friends have to help us make good choices? Do your friends fit these descriptions?
- Be an encourager: Read Acts 15:32, Acts 4:36, Acts 9:26-27, I Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:20-25. Although these verses are speaking mainly about encouraging our fellow Christians, an encourager is a positive light in any environment. Why is encouraging others at school so important? How does it reflect your faith? How can it point others to God? Are you an encourager? What can you do to make more of a concentrated effort to constantly encourage others? (Note: Explain to students that false praise and flattery are not encouragement. Encouragement is honest.)
- Have a strong work ethic in your studies. Read Colossians 3:23, Proverbs 13:4, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, Proverbs 14:23 (procrastination!), Proverbs 12:24, Colossians 3:17, Proverbs 6:6-12. It is easy to slip into bad habits in schoolwork. Some of you may even be able to get good grades without putting much effort into your studies at all. It’s important to remember though that your Christian example is not just for your fellow students, but for your teachers as well. Are you tempted to do the least possible work needed to get a decent grade? What do these scriptures teach us about any “work” we are doing in our lives? How does working hard at our studies reflect our Christian beliefs? How can our hard work draw others to God? How can we do a better job at this if it is an area in which we struggle?
- Have a positive, joyful, non-complaining attitude. Read Philippians 4:8, Philippians 2:14-15, Ephesians 6:7, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Proverbs 17:17 and Proverbs 12:26. What do these verses tell us about our attitudes? Why is it so easy to develop a negative attitude at school? What steps can you take to be more positive in your attitude at school? How does being positive draw people to God?
- Be careful what you say. Read Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 25:11, Matthew 15:11, Colossians 4:6, Proverbs 15:1-2, Proverbs 17:28, James 1:26, Proverbs 21:23, Matthew 12:36, Proverbs 16:24, 2 Timothy 2:16, Proverbs 6:16-19. What do these verses tell us about the types of speech that should and should not come out of our mouths? With which of these do you struggle the most? What can you do to be more careful in how you speak to and about others?
- Be patient with others. Read I Thessalonians 5:14 and James 1:19. Why is it so difficult to be patient with others at school? With whom do you tend to be the most impatient? What can you do to remind yourself to be more patient with others?
- Tell the truth. Read Proverbs 12:22 and Colossians 3:9-10. These are only a few verses about lying in the Bible, which point out how much God hates lying. Why does God detest lies so much? In what situations at school are you most tempted to lie? Why is it sometimes more difficult to tell the truth than to tell a lie? How can being more truthful point others to God?
- Mind your own business. Read I Thessalonians 4:11-12. How tempting is it to learn things about others that are really none of your business? Why are people so interested in things that are none of their business? What can you do to avoid the temptation?
- Serve others. Read Philippians 2:3-4, Galatians 6:9 and Proverbs 11:25. What opportunities do you sometimes have at school to serve your peers or your teachers? Do you always serve when the opportunity presents itself to you? Why is it tempting to walk past someone who needs help and do nothing?
- Stand up for others. Read Galatians 6:2 and Isaiah 1:17. What does it mean to stand up for others? How difficult is that to do in school? What can you do to be more courageous when someone needs a godly advocate?
- Don’t get caught up in a competition about material things. Read Hebrews 13:5, I Timothy 6:10 and Ecclesiastes 5:10. Are there certain material things everyone in your school “must have”? What would happen if you did not own those things? Why is it so important to own the “in” things that everyone else seems to have? Why does God say that attitude creates problems? How can you be more godly in your attitudes about money and things?
- Have integrity. Read Titus 2:7-8. What does it mean to have integrity? Why is it important for people to be able to trust that you will do what you say you will do? Why is it considered godly for people to know they can expect you to consistently make godly choices? If you struggle in this area, what steps can you take to have more integrity in your actions?
- Don’t get caught up in alcohol, drugs and other sinful behaviors. Read Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:21, I Corinthians 6:10. Why is it so tempting to some teens to get drunk/high? Way does God call drunkenness a sin? Why is any drinking under the age of 21 a sin? (God tells us we must obey the laws of the land unless they violate His laws.) What can we do to remind ourselves staying sober is more fun than getting drunk?
- Reflect God’s love to others. Read John 13:34, I John 4:17-21, Matthew 5:43-48 and I Corinthians 13:1-13. What types of people in your school are the most difficult to love? Why? What can you do to be more loving towards them?
- Discover and develop your gifts from God to use in serving Him and others. Read I Peter 4:10-11, Romans 12:6-8 and Matthew 5:14-16. How can what you do at school help you discover and develop your God-given gifts? How can you begin using what you learn to serve others now?
- Share your faith. Read 2 Timothy 4:2 and Matthew 28:19-20. How can you share your faith at school and not break any possible rules about proselytizing? What are simple, non-threatening ways to share your faith during the school day? How often do you do them? What can you do to remember to take advantage of every opportunity God gives you to share your faith?
- Don’t be discouraged if others aren’t happy with the godly, Christian behavior you exhibit. Read I Peter 4:12-13, Matthew 10:22. Why is being popular more important to us at times than being godly? What are the consequences if we live our lives that way consistently? Why is it unpopular to do what God wants you to do? Can Christians still “have fun, but be good”? How?
Application Challenge: Reflect on the things we have discussed in class. Pick two or three that you really want to focus on improving how well you live them out at school. Work on those this week.
Author: Thereasa Winnett