New Testament Christianity is designed to go with us wherever we go. If we are at home, we are guided by what it says about family life. If we go to work, we go by what it says about service and honesty. When we are at play, our activities are determined by its pattern of modesty and morality. The fall session of college is starting back and so are our public schools. What about at school? Will our Christianity go with us to school?
Our young people need some higher education. I am using the word higher in the same sense as it is used in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” They should not be brought down to believe that they are nothing more than a graduated monkey on evolution’s tree. Their teaching, their relationships, their activities, and recreation need the light that only the Bible can shine. They need the friendship that only Christ can give. Christianity needs to go to school with us! I would like to notice some things that will occur when you take Christianity to school.
(1) WHEN YOU TAKE CHRISTIANITY TO SCHOOL, YOU’LL HAVE MORE FRIENDS.
The High School and college years can be very lonely. Many young people struggle with making friends and maintaining friendships. They want friends; they just don’t know how to get them. Believe it or not, the Bible can make you more likeable. Here are three rules from the book of Proverbs concerning friends which may be of help to you.
The first rule is, “be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly….” I have heard people say, “So and so is not very friendly with me.” And it may have never occurred to them that so and so may be thinking the same thing about them. To have a friend, one must be a friend. Listen to this poem on friendship. “It is a funny thing, but true; That folks you don’t like, don’t like you. I don’t know why this should be so, But just the same I always know, That if I am “sour,” friends are few, If I am friendly, folks are too!” That little poem teaches a great lesson. The author realized something from experience that the Bible has taught all along. He noticed that when he is friendly with people, they were friendly with him, and when he is sour, he tends to get the same kind of treatment. If there is any doubt in your mind that this poem will work, just put it to the test. Make a point to be friendly, and the dividends will be tremendous. Speaking of friends and being friendly, let us be sure that we as a congregation are known for our friendliness especially toward our visitors.
The second rule is, “Stick by your friends.” Prov. 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Friends stick together. Often our friends are closer in distance and sometimes closer in relationships than our families. We need to stick by our friends in the bad times as well as in the good times. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” In trouble, one finds out what families are for, and you also find out who your true friends are. Those who claim to be your friends when the sun is shining, but forsake you when the dark clouds gather, are not true friends. What kind of friends did the Prodigal son have? He had fair-weather friends. As long as he had money, he had plenty of friends. But they vanished when the money ran out.
The third rule is, “Look for ways to make your friends better.” Let’s notice some verses from Proverbs 27. “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel” (Prov. 27:9). This refers to the practice of anointing their faces to refresh themselves. How can friends refresh us and help lift our burdens? By hearty counsel and good advice. Hearty counsel, counsel that comes from the heart, has a fragrance all its own. It freshens and lifts up the trouble-hearted. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17). When an iron tool became blunt, they would use an instrument of the same material to restore its edge. It is a wonderful thing to have a friend with whom you can sharpen your mind. You can discuss certain things with him with real profit. It is also the case that the joy obtained over the arrival of such a friend would change the appearance of one’s face, bringing smiles to it. “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man” (Prov. 27:19). Water serves as a mirror for one looking into it, reflecting one’s likeness. The same thing is true in human relationships. It is wonderful to have a friend to whom you can open your heart by your words and actions. As Jonathan did unto David, we can strengthen our friends in God (1 Sam. 23:16). These three Biblical rules are keys to making friends and being a friend. Take Christianity to school, you’ll have more friends.
(Continued Next Week)