How can I stand up for my Christian values and beliefs growing up in contemporary society?


Growing up is hard. During our teens and twenties, we discover our values, form our identity, and transform from childhood to adulthood. Going through the experiences inherent during the formative years, we learn about the world, ourselves, and how we fit into the world. These are foundational moments in life with tremendous value.

Growing up with Christian values brings an added element into the picture. It is first and foremost a great advantage to begin life with a solid Christian foundation. Developing knowledge of the Truth at an early age makes it possible to establish values that will lead us into the most satisfying life. The challenge, of course, is that Christian values are at odds with the world in which we live. Inevitably, being a Christian brings with it the certainty of confrontation with the world, and those who abide by worldly values. Being a young person willing to live a Christian Way of Life multiplies the challenge because peers, the education system, and the need for a sense of belonging in the community are very strong forces to deal with at a young age.

We don’t have to look very far to see how opposed the pressures of contemporary society and education are to the Truth. Schools teach the theory of evolution as fact, denying the biblical Truth of creation and the amazing Creator. Gender identity has become a fluid construct, by which people impose their feelings of gender dysphoria upon others in defiance of how God created male and female. Societal norms consider the exclusion of ourselves from voting, participation in worldly politics, jury duty, and military service as a denial of civic duty and national patriotism. The world glorifies premarital sex, drug use, tattoos, and other physical mistreatments in open rebellion against the physical well-being that the Bible teaches. Social and school events regularly conflict with the weekly Sabbath and God’s Holy Days. On top of it all, being atheist or vaguely “spiritual” is considered to be transcendent, while being Christian is considered naïve. We are sure you can think up many more examples of how difficult it is being a young person with Christian values in this world.

With so many pressures to conform to worldly values that are unique to the life of a Christian, what can one do to stand up for the Christian Way of Life that leads to the greatest possible reward? This is the question we will answer in this Q&A. However, there is no prescription of do’s and don’ts that guarantee an easy path. Rather, we will cover a few principles that can help when facing challenging circumstances as a young man or woman who is set apart and called to the Truth.

Strengthening Christian stamina begins with having the right frame of mind. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Standing up for our beliefs must originate with personal convictions founded on the Truth learned from the Bible and the ministry of the Church of God. Without being convicted in what we believe, we are vulnerable to the swindles of rhetoric and biased media. To be conformed to the world is to not think critically and independently. To be renewed in our mind is to develop an understanding of the Truth proven to ourselves and rooted in faith. We ought not merely follow a friend’s or classmate’s ideas because it appeals to our human nature. We must independently think for ourselves, so that we can prove to ourselves what beliefs we have that are worth standing up for.

Rejecting the pressure to conform to the world by thinking critically is the way to begin the Christian journey. However, we cannot stop here. Strengthening Christian values requires that we receive the Word of God with an open mind. Give the Truth a chance! When Paul and Silas went to Berea, they taught in the synagogues to people who were ready and willing to learn, and took ownership in proving what they learned.

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (Acts 17:11-12).

Having an open mind, willing and ready to learn about the Truth is required to develop convictions and beliefs worth standing up for. Without taking the time to learn about the Truth, we will not be able to defend our beliefs.

Just as in school, having the right attitude about learning can make all the difference in putting lessons into practice for our benefit. The Parable of the Sower demonstrates a variety of common attitudes and circumstances that affect our spiritual growth (compare Matthew 13:18-23). When we hear or read the Word of God, but don’t ask questions and take the initiative to understand what we learn, Satan will snatch away our understanding. The Word of God will not profit if we only hear the words without having the ability to explain why we believe them. If we learn about the Truth and become enthused without having a firm conviction about it, we will stumble when our beliefs are put to the test. In addition, we must value the Truth if we are to stand up for it. If we don’t value the Christian Way of Life far above the worldly way of life, we will inevitably slip back into the grip of the world.

The way to profit in life with the Truth requires that we invest our efforts so that we bear fruit. Jesus Christ ends the Parable of the Sower by characterizing the model of successful individuals. These are the ones who are receptive to learning the Truth; who put in the effort to ensure they understand it; and finally, value it enough to put the lessons into practice so they bear fruit. Putting this model to work at an early age will make it much easier to stand up for Christian beliefs in all kinds of adversity, because the Truth becomes embedded into our identity.

Having a solid foundation in learning to live by the Truth places us in a strong position to withstand the temptations in the world. Going further, we must learn to also love the Truth. If we really, truly love this Way of Life, the ways of the world will have no power to persuade us to give it up! But the corollary of not developing a love for the Truth places us in a precarious position. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Without having a love for the Truth, we become vulnerable to giving it up.

The final principle to put into practice follows naturally from the above. And that is to live by the commandments! Doing so brings inherent blessings, but it also increases the understanding needed to more firmly establish our beliefs. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). By following God’s commandments, we learn from experience why it is valuable to live obediently. And when we understand the value of the Truth from experience, we become stronger in our convictions.

As a young person with Christian standards, his or her values are in their formative state. Even though the development of Christian values is a deeply personal process, it helps to have a guiding framework for how to do so successfully. The process begins by refusing to be conformed to the world and having an open mind to learn about the Truth. From there, the process continues by putting in the effort required to understand what we learn and to love the Truth. Finally, we put everything into practice when we live by what we learn and strengthen our understanding. This progression takes place continually, but is even more vital when we are young.

If we love God and prove it by the way we live in obedience to Him from an early age, we will have the strength to stand up for what we believe without any fear of the consequences.

Lead Writer: Eric Rank

©2024 Church of the Eternal God