As I’ve been preparing for the upcoming school year, one of the units I will be teaching is titled “Social Pressures.” In this unit we will be reading and researching different pressures that teenagers face today. For example, the pressure parents put on their children to excel in sports, the pressure to look a certain way, the pressure to fit in, etc. Planning this unit has caused me to think about the pressures I face from being a Christian.
One pressure I face as a Christian being a teacher is the pressure to hide my faith. I don’t get to talk about God as much as I’d like to. God is so good though. He gives many opportunities to talk to students about the Lord. A lot of times it’s because a student will bring it up. Or there’ll be a Biblical allusion in a piece of text we’re reading. I keep a King James Version of the Bible on my desk. Along with a Spanish translation. (You never know!). Sometimes when I get a walk-through I wonder if they will ever tell me to put it away. And I think about what my reaction would be. Would I defend the Bible sitting on my desk?
Another pressure I face being a Christian is the pressure to “get with the times.” It has to do with music. The music I play in my classroom is by Christian artists. However I make sure they don’t say God or Jesus I’m the, because I don’t want to get in trouble. But I do make sure they have a good positive message. A lot of the students don’t know the songs. I’ve had students ask, “Can we listen to so-and-so?” And I say no. Because the kids don’t understand the underlying meaning to a lot of lyrics nowadays: drugs, alcohol, fornication. I’m a firm believer that music has a huge impact on the mind. I remember one instance while I was coaching soccer a few years ago. We were practicing and I had music going, and one of my own assistants laughed at me and said, “What kind of music is this?” I refuse to be the reason why a teenager goes out and parties due to the persuasion of a song they hear in my classroom.
A pressure I face as a Christian coach is parental pressure. During basketball we pray before and after games, win or lose. We also pray at the end of practices. We take a moment to honor and glorify God. I always ask for a volunteer to pray, and if no one does then I do. I get how nerve wrecking it can be to pray in front of others. In my mind we do this because I believe it opens the door to those personal conversations on bus rides or before school starts of being able to share the Gospel with a student in need. But I’m often nervous that a kid will go home and their parent will ask them about practice, and the child will mention that we prayed. And the parent get mad. Or my boss or another teacher will walk in during the middle of prayer and report me. (Yes, I have been talked to about this before.). I always make it a point before we pray though that they don’t have to, they can excuse themselves and no one will think any less of them.
I guess the ultimate pressure I face as a follower of Christ is the pressure to conform to society. You could say that everything kind of falls under this umbrella. Non-believers, the unsaved, or even the lukewarm, put pressure on us to take our belief of what God says and water it down. I cannot. I cannot be a cafeteria-Christian and pick and choose what I will believe from the Bible to fit my own personal lifestyle or the age we live in. God does not change. And neither does His Word.
Everybody faces pressures from society. I get that. Christians are hated, too. Only it’s not a shock to us because Jesus told us we would be. When a Christian uses the Bible to back up a belief, they’re considered to be a close-minded, Bible-thumping, conservative. All of which I have been called. For what I believe. But I won’t let the pressure of human words cause me to forsake the True Word.