6 Tips For Bringing Christ Into Your College Experience
It’s the great qualm of every Christian college student- how in the world am I going to juggle being a student, having a social life, investing in my future career, all while keeping a strong relationship with God? It may seem difficult but it is completely possible. With some effort, creativity, and the grace of God, Christ can still remain a focal point in your life as you pursue your education.
Start Your Day With A Devotional
Starting your day with a devotional is a great way to give God the firstfruits of your day. Plus, it sets the mental and emotional tone for how you will navigate through the rest of your day. You’re probably wondering how you’re going to manage to squeeze a devotional in your morning routine when you’re sleep-deprived and rushing to class because you overslept yet again. (Yeah, I’ve been there and done that more times than I can count.)
If your concern is time, thankfully there are a lot of great devotional options out there that are designed to be quick and easy. Sarah Young has a devotional book called Jesus Calling and a follow-up book called Jesus Always. Each day’s devotional literally requires about 2 minutes of your time to read. I’d also recommend an audio devotional. My personal favorite that I currently use is an app called Daily Devo. You can choose to just listen to the devotional or you can listen to the devotional along with a worship song they’ve paired with the devotional for that day. The great thing about the audio devotionals is that you can listen to them even when you’re one the go, so there is no reason why you can’t spend a little time with God at the start of your day. You can even try this as you commute to school or walk to class.
Let’s be real, between the never-ending papers and exams you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a moment where you’re alone long enough in a space quiet enough to pray uninterrupted. That doesn’t mean prayer is completely impossible. It simply means you have to get creative about when and where you pray.
I found praying while walking between classes to be a pretty efficient use of my time, especially since my class schedule had my classes on completely opposite sides of the campus. Nothing like a good old power walk and prayer. I also came to enjoy prayer in the shower. I know it seems completely weird, but don’t knock it until you try it. It’s basically the only time you’re alone and since you don’t pay for water in a college dorm you can hang out in there as long as you like. It can become a spiritual retreat if you let it.
Join or Start a Bible Study Group
Chances are you aren’t the only Christian on your college campus. There are a lot of colleges that have a lot of groups and clubs that are centered around Christianity. My college had choir groups, poetry clubs, and community service-based groups that were Christ centered. Do some investigating and see what’s already available to you. However, if you find there aren’t any options or perhaps no options that appeal to you, consider becoming the option. Often we wait around for people to find the answer when we’ve been called to become the answer. Find out what’s needed to start an on campus Christ-centered group in your area(s) of interest, and then begin the work necessary to make it happen.
Locate & Attend a Local Church
One of the main reasons I temporarily slipped away spiritually in college is because I started to neglect church. I didn’t know it at the time, but my campus had a chapel that met weekly on Sundays, and the local area was surrounded with several quality Christian churches that I could have gone to had I done my research. I simply did not prioritize it, thinking I would be strong enough to stand without a church. Well, I wasn’t and I tell everyone I know to make sure they stay connected to a church.
If your college has a church or chapel on campus, I implore you to attend. If not, ask around or do your own investigating to find some churches in the area then actually go attend. Every church may not be for you, but there is a church that is properly teaching the Word of God that is out there for you. Attending church regularly will help ensure your relationship with God continues to mature and will provide you the spiritual strength and encouragement you need to navigate the tough times in your life.
Get An Accountability Partner
When I got to college I traded in my accountability partner for a partner in crime. Instead of someone to hold me accountable for when I was operating in a way that wasn’t Christ-like, I found someone who was happy to cosign my crappy lifestyle choices. Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to get far from Christ.
Find a person on campus who is just as serious about maintaining their relationship with Christ as you are and walk life out with them. Go to them when you find yourself struggling with temptation. Allow this person to call you out when they see you acting out of line. Go to church together. Study the Bible together. Pray for each other. Encourage one another. Having someone who can speak life into you, speak the Word over you, and remind you of who you are in Christ will help keep you on the right path.
Avoid Your Triggers & Temptations
I’m sure you read that heading and thought, “Okay Captain Obvious.” Or maybe you read that and started to think about just how hard it actually is to avoid temptation in college. Obviously, temptation is everywhere, but you have a lot more control than you think. When I was in college I couldn’t control the fact that there were parties every single day of the week at somebody’s house near campus. However, I could control whether or not I attended those parties which also would have heavily curbed how often I was exposed to alcohol and other substances. You can’t control that there will be a lot of males on campus, many of whom you may find yourself attracted to. However, you can control whether you’re alone with that person which could lead to sexual sin.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “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.”
There is absolutely no trigger or temptation you don’t have the power to overcome. Satan has absolutely no authority over you. He cannot make you sin, he can merely make a suggestion. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ll give in to his suggestion or use the tools Christ has given you to resist.
Jesus wants to be involved in every part of your life, including your college experience. Don’t make the mistake many of us have made by deciding to live without Christ in college under the assumption that we have plenty of time to get back to God. The truth is that time is not promised to any of us. We could be here today and gone tomorrow so it’s vital we live each day with purpose. It’s my firm belief that if you choose God while in college you’ll find your college experience is that much more rewarding and enjoyable.