Today I am preparing to teach at the youth group tonight. We are beginning our weekly meetings after a summer break. It was an active summer where many of the students were involved in many different ministry activities. Since school has begun and there are many freshmen who are lost on campus, I would like to encourage them to be successful students and show them how, from a Biblical perspective. That is why this article is 6 characteristics of a successful student.
I. He does not forget about God
11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today ; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deut. 8:11-14)
Many times, students who go to college get so caught up in their new life that they forget about God. They stop reading the Bible and attending Bible studies because they are too busy with other things. They no longer have time to pray or a desire to pray because they are no longer studying the Bible. The next logical step is that they stop serving through the ministries of the local church. If you want to be a successful student then you need to value your relationship with God and it should come first before all things. In the above passage, the people depend upon God until they just get too busy with life. Once you get too busy with life then you no longer are able to enjoy God’s blessings because you forget about God. It you want to be a successful student then you must maintain a personal relationship with God by being involved in Bible study, spending time in prayer, and serving through the church ministries. I just recently went through an experience with one of our youth group members. She got so busy with school that she stopped attending Bible study. Then she stopped attending church activities and stopped serving. She fell into depression and the “school work” that she was so worried about also began to suffer. Interestingly enough, she was one of the best students in her class when she was involved in Bible study, church activities, and serving.
II. He does not miss an opportunity
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (II Corinthians 2:14)
When you study the Word of God, spend time in prayer, and are involved in serving others then you will be an aroma of Jesus Christ everywhere that you go. That is a natural result. As you walk with God day by day, many doors will open up for you to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with your classmates and fellow students in the dorms. A good student will benefit from every opportunity. One opportunity will lead to another. I know of a case when a girl from Moldova was asked to write a paper for a class. Her desire was to share the Gospel with her professor and classmates so she decided to write a paper about her country, Moldova. This took place at a secular college in America. She wrote about her country being a Christian nation and then explained how a person becomes a Christian and lives day by day as a Christian. Her classmates had to read her paper to critique it. Then she had to defend it before the teacher. It became a chain of events where she was able to share the Gospel with person after person. It all started because she was ready to be a pleasing aroma of the knowledge of Christ in her classroom.
III. He does not forget about his family
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER, which is the first commandment with a promise, (Ephesians 6:2)
Often times, students embark on a new journey in life and they forget about the ones who got them to where they are. As a parent, I now understand all of the sacrifices that my parents made for me when I was growing up. I wish I would have known about it when I was a teenager so that I could have been more obedient to them with less attitude. Our rearing is not an easy task and our parents put in long hours day after day to give us the opportunities that we have. As good students, we must remember our parents and show our appreciation by communicating with them even though we may no longer live at home. Many times, as students, young people get a taste of freedom and do not want to submit to their parents anymore. That is wrong because we are to continue honoring our parents by respecting them and our relationship with them all the days of our lives. Call your parents. Write emails to them. Chat with them. Show them how much you appreciate a close, personal relationship with them which will honor them. Go home and visit them more than just for the major holidays. Help around the house when you can. As our parents age, they need us more and more and just as they cared for us when we needed them the most, we need to respect them enough to care for them when they need us. If you want to be blessed and successful as a student then honor your parents because has promised to bless you if you do this.
IV. He is organized
making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders , making the most of the opportunity. (Colossians 4:5)
We all know that we all receive the gift of 24 hours a day, given to each of us by the Lord no matter who we are or what our position in society is. Both rich and poor alike have 24 hours a day. The only thing that we can do with those 24 hours is use them. They cannot be saved and stored away somewhere for later use. It all depends on how you use those 24 hours each and every day as to whether or not you are efficient or not efficient. The Bible teaches us to make the most of our time in all that we do, using every moment to serve God and the people around us. In order to be a successful student, you need to plan your time well so that you can use every moment of every day wisely. As I think back to my college years, I wish I would have known the importance of time management back then. I am ashamed to admit that I wasted a lot of precious time that I can never get back. If you plan your time and activities well then you will have time to study, participate in class discussion, study the Bible, pray, and serve while still having time left over for leisure activities. If you will do this then God will bless the time that you have and you will be a good student as well as be successful in all the other aspects of your life. I remember one time, while I was a student, I had been studying all week for a biology exam and the night before the exam when I wanted to study the most, there was a Christian event on campus that I was asked to serve at. I had to choose between staying home and studying more or going and serving. I chose to go and serve and asked God to help. The next morning, I made the highest score I had ever made on any of my biology exams up until that point. I was amazed at how God answered my prayer. I did not serve to try and manipulate God. I went because I wanted to serve others and God blessed me. The same applies today for all students who want to be successful.
V. He is active during class
. . ., always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (I Peter 3:15)
Be well prepared when you go to class so that you can participate during the discussions, seeking an opportunity to lead the discussion toward the Gospel. If you do not know the material then you will not be able to speak out and will miss chances to make a defense of the Gospel that has changed your life. This will give you a chance to get to know your professors and classmates. The girl whom I mentioned earlier, after she wrote her paper, she was invited to join a study group made up of some of the students from her class. Another person who was invited to the group had a good discussion with this girl about her faith, since he was not a Christian, he was very interested in her point of view. She was able to share the Gospel with her classmates once again as well as with the new person. It all started with being well prepared and ready to participate during classroom discussions. She was able to impact the lives of her classmates which opened new doors to impact others as well. This is the way God blesses students who walk with Him and desire to serve the people around them.
VI. He has the right attitude
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2)
Having the right attitude makes all the difference. Jesus did not come to this earth to be served, instead, He came to serve. He wanted to obey God in all things. If you view your classroom and dorm as places to serve God by serving the people around you then you will be successful in your studies as well as a good missionary to the people around you. You will need to work hard and carry your assignment to the end like Jesus did. If you have the right attitude and work ethic then God will reward you and you will be a successful student both as the world views success and also as God views success, making an impact on eternity.
What kind of student do you want to be?