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Unplugging: Tough Times Create Tough Christian Students

Unplugging: Tough Times Create Tough Christian Students

You have seen it happen to either yourself or other students. The tough discipline of a sports regimen creates better athletes. Working through tough problems in math and science creates better grades and a better understanding of the subject. Working through those early years of learning to play an instrument and lots of practice usually helps you as a musician. So what does it take to toughen up a Christian student spiritually?

The Bible is full of stories of Bible heroes who became heroes because they went through some tough times, and those experiences strengthened their faith. Let's face it – most of us have never been through tough times like what we are experiencing right now. Schools are closing indefinitely, the economy is suffering, and health concerns are on everyone's mind. So instead of giving in to fear and panic, why not let God use this time to build up your faith and "toughen" up your spiritual nature.

One way to build your faith during these uncertain times is to take time to unplug.  With schools closing for periods of time and the new phrase for 2020 "social distancing," many students will opt to just spend more time on their phones and devices and gaming systems to fill the empty time. Unplugging means to set aside an amount of time each day to get away from the tech chatter and/or the fantasy world of gaming and just BE ALONE.

When we unplug, we begin to be able to hear from and communicate with God better. 1 Kings 19:11-12  records the story of the prophet Elijah who was running away from the death threats of Queen Jezebel. "Go out and stand before me on the mountain," the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 

God wasn't speaking in the chaos but rather in the quiet. And what was the message God wanted Elijah to be quiet and hear? He wanted Elijah to go and anoint a new prophet by the name of Elisha, who would shake up the kingdom and do many incredible miracles. Elijah needed to UNPLUG to not only hear from God but to find the faith to leave his hiding place and anoint Elisha.



THE UNPLUGGING CHALLENGE

You can use your extra time to spend more time on becoming just what you are now OR join those Christians who have faced tough times and creatively discovered ways to build up their faith.

SO HERE'S THE 6 DAY UNPLUGGING CHALLENGE:

Start today and unplug for 10 minutes and be completely alone with no distractions and meditate on the verse for that day, then 20 tomorrow, and so on. Write down one thing God teaches you or something you believe God is telling you. Each day you will find the time a little easier. Be prepared to share with your family and your student leader what God taught you during your six days.

DAY 1 – 10 minutes

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, and do not panic before them. For the LORD, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:6

What I learned about God?

DAY 2 – 20 minutes

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

What I learned about God?

DAY 3 – 30 minutes

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What I learned about God?

DAY 4 – 40 minutes

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."  Romans 5:3-5

What I learned about God?

DAY 5 – 50 minutes

Jesus said, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

What I learned about God? 

DAY 6 – 60 minutes

"I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground

And steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD." Psalm 40:1-3

What I learned about God?

About The Author

Richard Parker

Richard Parker

Richard Parker is the resident youth ministry guru at YM360. Richard has served as a youth minister for the past 41 years. ("Shockingly, he was Les' youth minister yet STILL decided to stay in ministry"!) He is currently co-pastor and student minister at a new church plant, Branches Church, in Russellville, AL. Richard serves as a special projects editor and staff writer. Richard wrote YM360's "REACH: A 6 Lesson Study on the Book of Psalms" and has contributed on all of YM360's ongoing curriculum projects. He's also written many of YM360's free lessons, devotions, and blog posts. He and his wife Amy have two daughters, Lauren and Leah, one granddaughter and one grandson.

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