Follow These 5 Tips if You Want to Stay Christian After High School

Jesse Walsh
7 min readApr 9, 2023

Dedicated to Elijah, Elijah, Luke, Luke, Corey, Ryan, and Dean who encourage me so much and will all have to make this decision.

Jean-Baptiste Regnault, “The education of Achilles by the Centaur Chiron” (c.1782)

The morning of January 1, AD 2023 marked the start of my sixth year out of high school. That means that, hypothetically, if I had gone back into year 7 after I graduated, I would be in year 12 once again.

As someone who has publicly confessed to having something of an almost wandering away from the Christian faith, what would I do differently if I could live the five years from graduating year 12 to now over again?

Here are 5 Tips that I would recommend to a young man (some of them are applicable for young women too) who is going to graduate school soon. If you do these things its pretty hard to frick it up and stop walking with God.

Tip #1: Choose TODAY Who You Will Serve

…choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15b

If you don’t like Christianity as a boy but your family are Christians, it is usually more convenient just to go along with it. ‘Coming out’ as an unbeliever is pretty scary. Plus, mum makes you go to church whether you like it or not.

Mark my words. You will not be able to pretend forever.

Eventually you will have a driver licence. You will turn 18 and have access to alcohol. You will be invited to parties. There will be pretty girls at the parties. There will be alcohol at the parties to grease the skids.

Let me say it bluntly. You can be lukewarm for now, but sex will make you choose. Extra-marital sex is often the first thing that is desirable enough to make the inconvenience of leaving the faith worth it.

Don’t get comfortable in the halfway house. Choose today who you will serve.

Tip #2: Read Your Bible Every Day Even When You Don’t Want To

If you read Tip #1 and decided you want to serve Jesus wholeheartedly, welcome to the club. The next two tips are mundane and unsexy but if you do them you will make it pretty hard to frick it up.

You must read God’s word every day. Not once a week, not when you feel like it, but every single day.

You shall teach [God’s commands] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6:7

If you aren’t a natural reader, or are new to bible reading, start small by reading a handful of verses each day and read them at the same time every day. Try to read a little more at a time each week until you get to the 2–4 chapter a day area.

You must create a strong habit. This is why starting by reading a small portion daily is better than binging many chapters irregularly. Some days you will wake up on fire for God and itching to read the bible. Some days you will wake up wanting to do anything else. These, in fact, are the times when your soul needs to hear Gods word the most and these are the times you need your habit and discipline to carry you through.

If you can reliably read your bible when you don’t want to you have uncovered something of a spiritual superpower and little can stop you from reading your bible cover to cover every 12–16 months.

The reason I see it as a superpower is that it is very hard to drift away from God when he is speaking to you, convicting you of sin, encouraging you, and revealing his majesty to you every day.

Tip #3: Go To Church Every Week Even When You Don’t Want To

It was once said, “99% of the Christian life is showing up”. Bible reading is one way of ‘showing up’, and the other is literally showing up each week to your local church.

God commands us to meet together (Heb.10:25) and it’s easy to see why. God knows we need other like minded people to keep us accountable.

It is easy to dull the conscience and sin in the dark, away from everybody, but gathering regularly and constantly having your sin brought to light by your peers makes it far harder to fall away into secret sin.

For this reason, the same as bible reading, make going to church a habit. If you have a father who drags you out of bed every Sunday morning for church, praise God. This will not last forever. Eventually you will have to take this discipline into your own hands.

Therefore, go to church every Sunday and don’t let anything stop you. Social sport, tiredness, family gatherings, Netflix, or hangovers are not good enough reasons not to go to Church. Family and friends may be miffed at you for ditching them but who would you rather ditch? Family and Friends, or Almighty God?

Tip #4: Start Making Money as Soon as You Can

There is a disturbing cultural norm in our society that you would do well to avoid. It is called being a ‘Young Adult’. A Young Adult has the same maturity as a year 12 student but experiences a sudden jump in freedom, money and spare time.

As a young school graduate your goal should be to escape the young adult rat race as soon as possible. Granted, there are benefits to the Young Adult lifestyle. Things like high freedom, low responsibility, sleeping in and spending time with friends. These pleasures are nice for a season but become empty as life moves on.

The first step to escaping the rat race is to start making money. Take finding a vocation seriously. The sooner you are earning full-time money in an upwardly mobile career the better and the less time you spend studying to get there the better yet.

My advice is do what your dad does. Why learn from uni lecturers you don’t like when you could learn from someone who loves you and cares about you. If you are desperately unsuited to your fathers vocation look for other men in your family or even other men in your congregation.

In my case, I got sick of living the Young Adult lifestyle after a few years. My grandfather was teaching a TAFE at the time so I went and studied under him for a semester and found my first full-time job in a similar industry.

Tip #5: Get Married as Soon as You Can

So what does making money and escaping Young Adulthood actually have to do with staying Christian after school? The answer is you need to make money so you can get married.

As I said in Tip #1, sex is the number one catalyst for people walking out on their faith. Abandoning the faith is too much of a PR nightmare as a teenager but as you get older sleeping with your girlfriend is often the first thing that comes along and makes apostacy worth it. What’s marriage got to do with this?

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 7:8–9

It is important to remember that lust and adultery are issues of the heart (Mat5:27–28) but listen to what Paul says. He is that a lawful sexual relationship is the best practical tool in our arsenal in the fight against unlawful sexual desires.

Sexual sin is is a common trigger of apostacy, marriage guards against sexual sin. Get married.

Ironically though, the coupling up process can be one of the most hazardous times for a Christian's sexual desire. That is why you must follow this next sub-tip.

Tip #5a: Don’t Start Dating Until You are (pretty much) Ready to Get Engaged

Don’t look for a girlfriend, look for a wife.

There is surely nothing worse than falling in love with someone and them falling in love with you and not being able to be intimate with that person. That will happen to you if you start dating and you’re nowhere near ready for a wedding.

Some years ago I was with some Christian friends and they were talking about perusing some women. I was living the Young Adult life at this time. I had a (very) casual job, little money, and I wasn’t studying. I knew I was nowhere near financially ready to get engaged.

I spoke up to my friends, “It’s foolish to start dating now if it will be so long until you can get married.”, I said. They did not like what I had to say and told me to do it my way if I wanted, but they would do it their way.

Of the people in that conversation three or so years ago, I am the only one who is married today.

I did it my way. A few years later I noticed a nice girl who fancied me. At this time I had earned my Certificate IV in Drafting and was continuing to study while I worked part time. I asked her on a date figuring if she was compatible, I would drop out, find a job, and ask her to marry me. That's exactly what happened.

Which way do you want to go? Do you want to date early and wait several years for marriage while temptation crouches at the door? Or do you want to wait, take a wife, and build a life for yourself? The choice is yours.

[Please note: There are many benefits to getting married other than to avoid temptation. There is more to being ready for marriage than finances. However, these topics are not part of the scope of this piece and good resources on them can be found elsewhere]

So that brings me up to today. I got married just a few months ago and we are expecting our first child in six months or so. If I continued to offer advice after this point it would not be good advice.

So lads, good luck out there. I hope to see you in heaven (and at church this Sunday).

Bless,

Jesse

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Jesse Walsh

Christian in Brisbane Australia. I go to work during the week and go to church on Sunday.