It’s that time of year, when Christian kids all over the country start classes at college. If that’s you, or someone you know, then read on.
College brings momentous changes in life and exciting opportunities. It’s a time when many young people are away from their parents for the first time in their lives. In the college atmosphere, there are all sorts of temptations and distractions that can way-lay a Christian.
Here’s the deal: you'll only be in college for a while, but you're setting a course for the rest of your life. Can you keep your faith? I believe you can. Here are 4 keys that can help you make right decisions and lead a godly life in college:
1) Decide beforehand. Some things at college may catch you by surprise, but if you've set your boundaries in advance, they won't throw you off. For example, decide that you aren't going to have sex before marriage. That way you won't find yourself parked in a car in the dark at the end of a dirt road with your date (where nature is bound to take its course). Decide in advance that you don't hang out at drunken parties (nothing good happens there), and you don't get into cars with people who have been drinking.
2) Remember the Book. Even if you go to a Christian university, nothing takes the place of your daily devotions with God. Every day you go without reading the Bible is a day you're trying to live life in your own strength, and it's too hard for you. The only way to grow closer to God is to read that Bible every day. This is a hugely pivotal time in your life -- you'll be deciding your vocation and calling, who to marry or not marry, etc. You need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so stay close!
3) Keep the habits. You'll be in a completely different environment in college, but if you can continue your routine of faith, then you will have the benefits of your faith with you all throughout your college experience. This means daily devotions, attending church services, and taking other daily faithful steps on your journey through college. (And on a side note, aim to keep good habits of sleeping, eating, and exercising, too – when your body is healthy and well-rested, you make overall better decisions for your life).
4) Find your tribe. We Christians are herd animals -- we are meant to be part of a group. No one can stay strong on their own. So find people of faith to hang out with. Be careful who your friends are, because you will be like those you hang around. Get involved in a church and in Christian groups on campus. You need them and they need you. Here are a few: