Over the past couple of years that I have been a student in college, I have noticed a particular trend for Christians attending college. For most college students, the four years in which they study is the beginning of an independent life. They have a freedom that they most likely have not experienced before, and for many, college is a fresh start. You get to make new friends, get involved with clubs or organizations and essentially do what you want. While time spent in college is fun in many ways, it’s also a dangerous time for Christians.
During these years of school, Christians are tempted to do so many sinful things. I have seen it happen to so many people, friends and yes… even myself. We make new friends that urge us to go to parties with them, we have people tell us that drinking is fun, we hear stories of sex and drugs, et cetera. During these long four or so years of our lives, we are tempted to do things that we never would have thought would happen. Based off of what I have seen, there are three prominent groups of college Christians who react in an environment such as this.
The first are those who fall into the temptations and don’t fight it. These people are those who try the partying (alcohol, drugs, sex) and they decide that they would rather have fun for a few years than to keep their focus on God. They may not start out this way, but they eventually cave, and the evidence shows. They stop reading Scripture and praying. You see them less and less at church. They do things that Christians shouldn’t do and say things that we shouldn’t say. The temptation turns into an action and an action turns into an addiction.
There is a passage found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) that really speaks to this group of people. It reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Regardless of how you feel, the temptations that you face are the same temptations that others have faced. Because of the great character of God, there is always a way out. He gives us the ability to resist these temptations of sins and provides us with a way of escape. No matter how far you have fallen into the temptation, sin or addiction, it is never too late to turn to God for help. It is through Him that we find ourselves free. He is our strength in those difficult times.
The second prominent group of college Christians are those who (claim to) remain in the faith, but conform to the world. These are the people who misquote Bible verses on social media (many of which my fellow blog writer, James Smetanin, has probably written about in his series “Misread Texts”) or who go out of their way to show that they attend church and are the “perfect” Christians. However, when you get to know them and what they believe, you realize how little they agree with Scripture and how much they conform to the world. They are the “Christians” who are pro-abortionists and follow false gospels. While they claim to follow Christ, their beliefs, actions and/or words prove otherwise.
A verse found in Romans 12:2 (ESV) talks to people like these. It reads, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Rather than agreeing with a world full of evil and sin, be transformed into something different. We are not called to be like everyone else. Just because society is starting to accept abortions, homosexuality and premarital sex doesn’t mean we should adopt those views as well. Rather we are to have our minds renewed to see the truth. When this happens, we will see that our beliefs start to align with Scripture (I know, shocking right?). If you’re struggling with this, I urge you to pray for grace and a renewed mind, but don’t stop there. Study Scripture so that you may know what is true among the lies that exist, and to know what is morally right and wrong. When we grow spiritually, we are able to defend ourselves from what may try to steer us the wrong way.
The final group is the Christians who go through college facing temptations and trials, but come out stronger spiritually. This group of people tends to spend their personal time studying Scripture and praying without boasting. When you get to know them, they tend to be theologically knowledgeable and their beliefs align with Scripture. Don’t get me wrong, they still sin and fall short of the glory of God, but when that happens, they pick themselves back up again and keep on fighting the good fight.
Paul writes encouragingly in 1 Corinthians 13:58 (EVS) as it reads, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
I would direct this passage to the same group of college Christians that I mentioned previously: be steadfast and immovable. If, even through these temptations and trials, you are working to glorify God and to keep His commandments, keep doing that! Don’t let anything move you from the path that you are on and do not waver from what God is calling you to do. Don’t cease the work that you are doing in service of the Lord. And know that, though doing these things are harder than giving into the temptation, the work you are doing is not in vain.
I hope that everyone took something away from this post. I understand that these three groups of people don’t necessarily cover 100% of college Christians or that not all of you have attended college. However, this is what I have seen from my own personal experience and with the route that society is heading down, I think this is a very important topic. For those deep into sin and addictions, know that God is your way and strength out. For those who claim to be Christians but conform to the world, pray for a renewed mind so that you may know the true Gospel. And for those who are laboring in service to the Lord, know that it is not and vain and continue to fight the good fight that He has called us to!
Soli Deo Gloria.