“What does it look like to be a Christian in college?”
This is the question I hear most from people in my life, whether they have faith or not. It’s a question that I think plagues all of our minds: how can we possibly live and thrive in the tension of looking at finite, insignificant things around us while having the eternal perspective encouraged in the Bible? This tension always exists, but I think it is heightened in this crazy time of college.
At this stage of life, we are all developing in some cool and scary ways. We are figuring out who we are to this world and what we can give to it; what type of qualities we want in a future spouse; what our identity truly is now that we have the freedom to decide it for ourselves and so on. Even though it’s new and exciting to be in this state of searching, it’s so vital to have Jesus at the center of our lives during this season.
Paul tells us in Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of you mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Jesus doesn’t tell Paul to teach this because he wants us to become perfect, religious robots. He wants to protect us from the heartache of putting our faith and identity in the fading, unsatisfying things of this world.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that can not be shaken” (Hebrews 12:26). The love God wants to give us cannot be shaken by an ending relationship. It can not be dissuaded by a dying loved one. It doesn’t fade when we fall into that sin that we have been fighting incessantly.
I have a hard time understanding how this love we learn and hear about can be real. I find myself thinking, “How can God really, deeply, fully love me when he knows every inch of my soul? There’s no way. If someone really knew the deep recesses of my heart – how ugly and disfigured it is – he wouldn’t love me.”
Brother and sister, that is exactly what God does: “I will seek out the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick” (Ezekiel 34:16). It’s so beautiful, and it makes no sense. There is no response to this truth except to praise the Lord who loves us in our broken messes!
So, what does it look like to be a Christian in college?
It is a life of constant surrendering to the love of God. It is a life of making mistakes and seeing the grace and mercy that is flowing from our King. It is understanding that we are imperfect beings surrounding by a fading world and then knowing the reality of the unshakable kingdom of which we are citizens now.