I want to start by saying that following Jesus is not easy.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
It’s not for those looking to get ahead.
It’s for those who love Jesus and want to risk it all, knowing He is eternally worth it.
Yesterday, I re-started a book I hadn’t read in a couple years, and honestly hadn’t remembered the major points, so, I took it up last night and read. Well, I read 6 chapters. I couldn’t put it down!
It felt good to be immersed in a book, and I thought that since I am headed back to school soon, I need to be immersed in learning and be in that habit.
This book, Radical by David Platt, pleads with the American Church to take back the mission of Christ to take the Gospel to all nations from the materialistic American dream. I continually found myself weeping as I turned the pages, God moved me to remember how vital it is to be about the mission of Christ, because the wrath of a holy God on an unsuspecting and oblivious people depends on it. It was simultaneously inspiring and convicting.
I remember back to a certain semester in college when I took a class on the French Revolution, a semester that almost caused me to give up my relationship with Christ. The class was phenomenal – we discussed the social, political, and societal upheaval of France since the 1760s to the early 1800s, I ended up with a “B,” so it evokes bittersweet memories because of that.
We first talked about the Enlightenment, how people threw off the yokes of religion and upheld the use of the human mind, that all could be understood through rational thinking. At the time, I hadn’t yet reconciled logic and religion (which I think my recent love of theology has done, praise be to God!), so I fumbled through that, and it almost caused me to give up Christ. The authors in this time threw their fists up at God in challenge, an affront to His glory and sovereignty, claiming “we are good enough! We don’t need you!”
I began to buy into that, and in that semester, I valued too much my value, abilities, and failed to rest in the provision of an Almighty God. I began to say in my heart “I don’t need you!” Nothing could have been further from the truth.
So, to the high school and college students about to begin a brand new semester, I want to impart to you advice as a gift, do these things, and you will easier find yourself in a solid relationship with God.
1.Cling to Christ
The first thing you must do when the new semester hits is cling to Christ, behold Him in his glory and seek to live for Him and, more importantly, live in obedience to Him. The easiest thing to do in school is to forget the spiritual progress God has forged in you this summer, commit to Christ, to fulfilling His call on your life to reach those around you with the glorious message of the Gospel. Cling to Jesus – He alone is all you need.
2. Cling to the Word
When I partook of the French Revolution class, I am certain now that I was not in the Word near enough. A vital aspect of university or high school life is being open minded to new, differing perspectives, respecting those views and the individuals to whom those things belong, and reconciling those thoughts to one’s own worldview. For the Bible-believer, this means taking all these things in in light of the Word of God.
The Word has ultimate authority in our lives, and it is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. When we learn new information, we reconcile it to God’s views in the Bible, we have no more our own worldview than puddles have depth, we conform what we believe to what Scripture teaches, without exception. Breathe in the truth of Scripture, breathe out the truth of Scripture. It is our foundation, and it is the primary way God reveals Himself to us – read it and know Him.
3. Cling to Others
I have many friends who claim atheism, agnosticism, and “i don’t care”-ism, and I accept that and still eagerly look forward to seeing them and spending time with them. They are valuable to me. Despite that, Christians must spend time with other Christians. These come in the form of mentors, friends, and companions. We need all of them. If you lack a mentor, go find one, now. Look for someone to guide you, to speak truth into your life, and be a sounding board for how God is using you for His kingdom. Surround yourself with Christian friends who also desire to know the one true God, continue that fellowship and encourage one another to love and good deeds.
This also takes the form of a Bible-believing church. If you are not serving in a local body of Christ, you are doing something wrong, and must correct that. plug into a BCM or Christian ministry on campus and they will point you to a great church. You need the church just as much as they need you. It will be impossible for you to be salt and light if you are not worshipping with other like-minded believers.
Also, find a close companion with whom you can share your life and struggles. Meet with him or her regularly. Just because I am an old-fashioned Southern Baptist, guys, find a guy, girls, find a girl. Dating couples, you are not responsible as each other’s accountability partner – it makes you far too intimate (sorry bout ya, you’re just not ready for that, and God ordains marriage for that kind of intimacy). Find a companion with whom to walk through life. I have one and we meet every couple of weeks to encourage one another to be more like Jesus. We also discuss theology and politics, so it gets fun!
These are neither exhaustive, nor are they comprehensive, but they give a decent framework to cling to Christ and have a firm relationship with Him when you will be faced with so many people counter to the Gospel, and be forced to reach them for that same Gospel.
Students, stand firm for the Gospel of Christ.