As the new Student Life Facilitator here at Calvin Christian, one of my goals for this year has been to help our students see the centrality of Christ in all aspects of their lives. Whenever I have led chapel we have gone to the book of Colossians because it is one of the most clear and concise explanations of a Christ-Centered World and Life View in the Bible. It shows Christ at the center of our creation, and at the center of our re-creation (Col 1:15-23). Seeing Christ at the center of all things gives new meaning and purpose to life, even our struggles and times of suffering. Rather than seeing suffering as an accident, or a mistake, we can see how God is using our times of trial as part of our re-creation process into the likeness of His Son.
Another important aspect of our re-creation is the process of putting off and putting on. In Colossians 3:1-17 we are told, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” In the verses that follow, Paul shows us the earthly things that we must put off and put to death, such as anger and slander, and then shows us the things that are from above, such as love and humility, that we, as Christians, are called to put on.
In order to help students set their sight on Christ, and seek the things that are above, I’ve asked each one of them to think about their life, to really think about areas that they struggle in spiritually and would like to grow, and pick a single word to focus on for the rest of the school year. This will be their “target word”. Something they are aiming for as they grow into mature disciples of Christ.
Picking a target word for the year and striving to grow in that area is an important part of having a Christ-Centered World and Life View. Looking at our own lives and seeing areas that we need to grow and then striving to change is another way we are re-created and conformed into the image of Christ. It is how we work out our salvation as it says in Philippians 2:12 – “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” This is a part of the sanctification process, as we work out our salvation, putting off earthly things and then putting on the things from above such as kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
Looking at our life and considering areas we are failing can be scary. Knowing myself, I know how hard it can be to be honest about ways I fail every day and how hard it can be to change. We can easily be tempted to be discouraged, especially when we fail to accomplish our goals, but, the wonderful thing about having Christ at the center of your life, is knowing that we have help. As we are working out our salvation, putting off and putting on, God is working in us and changing our hearts and transforming us from the inside out. After the command to work out our salvation, Paul gives us hope for change: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
For the rest of the school year, I would encourage parents of junior high and high school students to be talking to your children about their word for the year. If they haven’t picked one yet, help them to think about areas in their life they could grow. You might even consider having your entire family pick words for the year as you pray for one another and encourage one another each and every day, as we all strive to build up the body of Christ.