It is Graduation time around the country. The goofy caps are out, the gowns are (mostly) ironed, and parents are filling the stands, tears in their eyes, wondering how the time went so fast. This very evening two girls I’ve had the privilege of knowing, loving, and doing life with for the past nine years will walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.
I know that this time is crazy and exciting with a lot to do, and I know that the last thing you want to do is sit and read a blog post. So I am going to just leave you with four Bible verses that I want you to remember and consider – not just today, but for the rest of your lives.
So Debbies, and the rest of the Class of 2013, think on these things:
1. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
You’re going to see this one a lot. It will be on mugs, key chains, journals, and inspirational wall hangings. As you commit this verse to memory, remember this: Several of the people who actually heard the prophet Jeremiah speak these very words died while still in exile. This means that the Lord’s timing is not our timing – His is perfect. You will not always get what you want when you want it, but that doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. Walk with Him daily. Cling to Him. This alone will give you hope, a future, and the type of prosperity He wants for His children.
2. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. – John 15:18
I know, I know. Not exactly what you think I would say to graduates stepping out into the world. Usually it’s something like, “The world is yours! You go get ‘em!” But I don’t want you to think that the world is yours… because this is not our home. Your citizenship is in Heaven. You are here to tell others about Jesus. So stand for Truth. Stand for Love. Stand for Him. This will cause some people to hate you… but that’s okay. You’re in good company.
3. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
Love people. Love people dearly. I’m not talking distant shouts of “Jesus loves you, so do I” love. I’m talking in their face love. I’m talking serving love, washing feet love, praying for your enemy kind of love. The kind of love that hurts sometimes. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
4. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. – Colossians 2:8
You are going to encounter several teachings throughout your life. Whether you are heading off to college, joining the military, jumping into the workforce, or spending a year just being you, you will find empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense. Do not be fooled. Know what the Bible says, and weigh everything you hear against the teachings of Christ. Everything. Every time.
There’s a lot more I could say, but I’ll stop.
Know that I’m praying for you. Yes, all of you. Those I know by name, and those I don’t. I echo the prayer of Paul in Philippians 1:9-11, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
Now – you go get ‘em.
See you tomorrow!