A few weeks ago I said I would follow up with a post regarding my drawing in this previous post. A friend of ours had asked us for some “words of wisdom” for her daughter who will be graduating this year. I thought this was a superb idea and I would love to share with you, simply from what I’ve learned in life, what I would tell every graduating senior who wants to hear!
First of all, there is one piece of advice that I would like to give first because I think it’s the best advice. Because it’s about you and Jesus. The heart of your life. Can it get anymore important than Jesus? (I’ll answer that for you – no!!! lol!) So here it is (*drumroll*)…
My first and foremost advice to you is to spend lots of time with Jesus. Everyday. Find a spot where you aren’t distracted and can sit in silence before Jesus and listen to what He has to say to you. Talk to Him and let Him talk to you. Read the Word and just be still before Him knowing that he is God. And have a relationship. Get to know Jesus – the one who truly and absolutely loves and adores you. I believe He wants this more than all the “good” things you can do. That’s why this advice is first and foremost. He wants your time, your attention, and your love. Hard to believe? It’s really for real!! So make Jesus first – always.
Now that I’ve given you my best advice, there are also some few core issues I do want to address that I think are just plain, well…important. Some of them are not easy to talk about and can be certainly offensive. So, I’m warning you now before you read. These are plain jane from my heart, however, and I wish that I would have had someone to give me this advice and encourage me when I was a high school graduate. First, I will talk about some of the verses I put in the drawing and then add from there. So, without further wordage, I will start!
Issue #1: Who You Hang Out With
A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.- Psalm 101:4
The Lord actually gave me this verse this year. This simply means don’t hang around or be buddies with people involved in sin (just want to clarify this: everybody sins, but what I mean is people who are actively ignoring the commandments of God in their everyday life and not seeking to obey God). Yes, I know…blunt. And hard to do. But I learned that God wants me holy and separated from every evil way and, often, it is very difficult to live righteously when you are hanging around people who are not living righteously. Yes, I understand the whole “but I need to be a witness to these people.” However, I believe that the idea that “it’s okay” for me to go to this college party just so I can tell people about Jesus is not God’s way. This doesn’t mean you don’t love people or that people are “bad”. It’s about you not participating in evil. That’s it. God gives us these commandments and I believe they are for our well-being. I believe God wants us to be in the “circle” of people who are actively seeking Him and His will and living for Him with their whole heart. This means refraining your foot from evil! As you go out into the “real world” you will meet all kinds of people and social clicks. You can ask God to give you discernment to choose the people He wants you to hang around!
Issue #2: Your Mouth
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. – Psalm 34:13
God has taught me a lot in the past years about how the words that we speak can be either for evil or for good. He showed me that it is the words that we speak that defile us. (But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. – Matthew 15:18) I learned that when we talk bad about others – and by talking bad I mean anything negative, even slightly – we are actually “speaking evil” of these people. Now, you might say to yourself, “oh, I don’t do that!” but I would ask you to re-think that statement. When we speak evil of others it usually comes in disguise and it doesn’t seem so bad. For example, we might give our “opinion” of someone else’s bad decision. Or, we make a general comment about the person, “they’re ridiculous” or “they have their priorities in the wrong place.” I learned that God does not like this!!! We are actually cursing these people when we speak negative things about them. Yes, I said cursing. (Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. – James 3:10)
God also has a name for these people who speak evil of others: scorners. If you look up scorner in the dictionary this is what it says:
Scorner: the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable; contempt:
This is exactly what the devil wants to achieve. He wants you to think that someone else is worthless or despicable because of their actions. This is directly opposite of what God thinks. The truth is, is that we all make mistakes and we shouldn’t base someone’s worth on their actions because we have made bad decisions too. The truth is also that you were fearfully and wonderfully made by God – so why should we think less of/scorn someone because of what they do? God doesn’t speak lightly of scorners in the Bible. So….my advice to you? If you’ve got something negative to say – keep those lips sealed shut! And if you know someone who is a scorner – it’s probably a not good idea to spend much time with them.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. – Psalm 1:1
Issue #3: Sex
Okay, yes I know – hard topic. But I think it’s important for high school grads because this issue is ever-so-present after high school, especially if you are going to college. The world is SO ridiculously full of innuendos that sex before marriage is okay and almost every person you meet in college thinks it’s okay. I’m here to remind you that it is NOT okay in God’s eyes and I’m here to remind you that you are a child of God…yes, remember? A person who God values and who expects to be holy before Him. Realize that there can be so much pressure to have sex with someone before marriage because of everything attacking you. Some things attacking you are not necessarily from the devil either. I’m talking about your hormones! Trust me, we all know they are there and they sure are hard to ignore. There is one antidote to this problem: a good mix of self-control and fear of the Lord. The most pressure you might receive could come from your boyfriend/significant other. You might feel that if you don’t have sex with them they won’t like you or date you anymore. If you feel this pressure – realize that it may be that you are looking for approval or love from them over God. But think about it, if you don’t have sex with them and they still stick around – you just might have yourself a good catch!
I want to remind you also that whoever you choose to date during this time period, Christian or not, is going to want to have sex. It’s just in them. It doesn’t mean they are bad people…it’s natural for them to feel this way. But your obligation is to God and not to men and please so so so so trust me – you will be SO thankful that you waited! Besides, having sex with others before marriage can cause you to receive their spiritual junk. You don’t want that. There also can be consequences for this sin – remember, God is the on the throne and He is judge. I actually had someone tell me when I was younger – someone that I looked up to and who was a Christian – that it was okay for me to have sex after high school (before marriage) and they implied that God didn’t really hold people to His command to not commit fornication. If someone tells you this, don’t believe the lie! You can look up “fornication” in the Bible and see for yourself what God thinks.
Before I married my husband, we would hug and kiss and one day God had some very stern words for us. We were getting too close…just hugging and kissing. We had to back off of each other until we were married – literally! It was so hard, but we refrained. So, it’s just a wake up call that God’s standards and our standards can be very different. God expects us to be very pure before Him - and sex is not an exception! Be prepared to say no – no matter how you feel or what the circumstances may be.
Issue #4: (the most important issue) The Gospel of Jesus Christ
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, – Ephesians 6:19
I saved the most important for last. I’ve told some things not to do, but this one I think you should concentrate on the most. This is what you should do! The only thing that really matters in life is whether or not you’ve accepted Jesus as your savior. People have all sorts of problems – and they know that. They don’t need to be reminded. The most important thing is whether or not they will spend eternity in heaven or hell…not whether or not they smoke, or had an abortion, or have a different sexual orientation, or whatever. Yes, God doesn’t want us involved in those things…but I am saying the most important thing is whether or not they know Jesus and will spend eternity with Him. God can change all those bad things and heal all the wounds. He has forgiveness for all of us. Remember, He loves us. He made us. That’s why He sent Jesus to die in our place. The Bible says that all people come short of the glory of God. We’ve all messed up. The important thing is…do they know Jesus as their savior?
I believe that God will send you people who need to hear about Jesus and you might be the only one who knows how to relay the message to them in a way that they need it. I am saying be READY to tell them about Jesus when they ask and don’t be afraid! The apostle Paul asked for prayer that he would open his mouth boldly and tell the gospel. We need to be ready as well. As you go through college, or work, or whatever you will be doing after high school – PRAY for people you meet along the way that they will come to know the Lord. You might not feel like that is doing any good, but you have no idea how the armies of heaven are operating on their behalf when you pray. (just read the story in 2 Kings 6:17!)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: – 1 Peter 3:15
Now that I’ve said all these things, I want to leave you with one last note. I wrote a lot about some things not to do – and these pointers can save you a lot of heartache – but I don’t want you to think of God as only judge. He is also your father. Always remember, that even if you do “mess up” and do everything wrong in life (even horrible sins) that God still loves you and his love will never never never EVER change! Isn’t that awesome? I said never a lot because I want you to know just how true it is. I don’t want you to feel that if you’ve messed up or done things wrong that you must feel guilty about coming to God. I have made horrible mistakes and God accepts me and still shows me his love. It’s the same for you. I want you to know that even if you make the worst mistake, Jesus is still there with open arms waiting for you to come to him. Because when he died on the cross, he covered every sin. Not just some, but every sin you have done or ever will do. All you have to do is say, “Jesus, I’m sorry – please help me do better next time.” And you have his forgiveness. So don’t feel guilt! Guilt is not from God. The Word says that God is merciful, loving, and kind…and he is. So please don’t think God is waiting to strike you down with a lightning bolt! (although he easily could, lol) The Bible says God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (Psalm 103:8). He is your father – and I don’t think he wants you to avoid him or ignore him because of guilt. You can always know that Jesus is your best friend, he wants you to talk to him, and his love is so great for you that not even your mistakes can separate you from his love!
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading some of what I’ve learned and I know God has some amazing plans for you graduates out there. Keep your eyes on Jesus – love you!