Christian Faith and College Life: My Experience and a How-To-Guide (First Year)

As you may have already predicted, being a Christian in college is extremely tough.  You are surrounded by so many temptations, a variety of people and cultures (x100 because I go to Amherst), and you are not bound by the rules of your parent(s)/guardians—if you ever were that is—but only by the law of your residence and your school.  Between your “freedom” and the laws of your college, the state, and your country, there is a lot that you, as a college student can get into.  I live by this Scripture though.  1 Timothy 4:12- “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”   Here are some things I encountered:
  1. Going to Parties
    1. People making out
    2. People dancing, but not really, more like grinding and bumping private parts
    3. A large amount of alcohol
    4. Weed or smoking or some other drug
    5. Music that tends to be suggestive
    6. Really Cute Guys
    7. Some game of beer pong
    8. People pressuring you to partake in any of the above activities
Don’t get me wrong; there are definitely some good parties, amazing parties that I have been to that had, to some degree, at least one of these elements.  But that’s not what I am talking about here.   How to deal with these things as a Christian:  
  1. Don’t go out.  If you know that you will not be strong enough to avoid these temptations, then do not go to that party.  Find something else to do.

  1 Corinthians 10:12-“So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall.”  

  1. If you go out:  Always have a Bible Scripture to read before you go out; one that will help you remember who you are so that you don’t become those around you.  When a temptation is presented, remember that that thing is only temporary and may or may not satisfy whatever desire you have.  If the temptation does satisfy your desire, it is only temporary, and it will never be enough.  Do not put yourself in this position.

  Two of my favorite Scriptures for this is 1 Corinthians 10:13- “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” And Mark 14:38- “Watch and pray so that you do not fall into temptation.The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”   Meaning:If you are tempted, God has a way out for you.However, don’t expect to give in to the temptation and then try to find a way out.God had provided you one from the start and you decided not to take it.  

  1. Never let anyone pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do.  I prefer not to drink or smoke (or be around smoke because it makes my head ache and it stinks), and I do not let anyone pressure me into it.  I say “No.” or “I don’t do that," and that’s just what I mean.  And I always felt super strong when I go to these parties and leave the same as before (sober, no intentions of smoking or hooking up).


  1. Keep in mind that it’s not making out that is a sin, but it is what it leads to and thus is to be avoided.  The sins in making out are:  sexual immoral thoughts and activities (i.e. sex of any kind that isn’t with your married partner) that result.


  1. People will hit you with the “You only live once.” Or the “You’re young! You need to live.” Or “This is college! Everyone does it/is doing it!” As a Christian, you know that you do not only live once, and you know that as a Christian, doing what everyone else is doing is usually not the best thing to be doing. 

  James 1:12- “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  

  1. If you are not sure that you will keep your Christian morale in tack, have a good friend who will look out for you tag along.  He/She can also be your dancing and chat buddy if things get boring, and you can go out to eat or something if the party is too full of temptations you can’t seem to ignore.


  1. NEVER BE AFRAID TO LEAVE!  If the party—gathering, social, whatever—is not for you or if you do not feel comfortable or if your Christian morale is being tried to the point of no going back, LEAVE. Do not try to battle with your temptation; the longer you stay, the more likely you will lose because you will begin to rationalize your Christian morale into things that seem really small or insignificant when deep down you know that are huge.  For instance:


  1. I really like this guy, and he likes me.  I want to hook up with him, but I am not sure I am ready, and I know it is a sin.  But…I can always leave if things get uncomfortable, and God forgives.  Plus, he’ll protect me if I need it.


  1. Problem:  You are not sure.  So don’t do it.


  1. Problem:  "But" means you are trying to rationalize something wrong into something right. Force yourself to turn away or leave.


  1. Problem:  Yes God forgives.  But that doesn’t mean you will not suffer the consequences of your actions.  This guy may want to hook up, but does he care about you?  If you say “No,” will he listen?  Will he allow you to leave?  Can you fend him off if necessary?  Is this guy who you think he is or is he a jerk?  Will you end up pregnant by this guy? Does he have any STDs or something similar?  Will he tell all of his friends (probably)? Will you be the same after?  So many disappointments await. 


  1. Problem:  Yes God protects.  But you have free-will, and you are intentionally putting yourself in danger.  Thus, God will not intrude in your free-will; He told you how to handle the situation, and you know what you are thinking about doing is wrong, but you are trying to rationalize it.  So whatever danger comes your way, you must suffer it.  However, it is not to say that God will not intervene, but do you really want to take that chance?  Sometimes, in order for us to learn our lessons, we have to endure the consequences of our actions.  Otherwise, we'd just do them over and over again.


  1. Problem:  There are so many other factors you have not taken in.

  So, you must separate yourself from these temptations.  It won’t be easy (THAT'S THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR, and you’ll be a little upset after a while, especially when you see so many other people taking part in these things, but you know that you are better off without these things.  No it won’t be easy, but with God all things are possible.  If I can do it, so can you.  

  1. People in General


  1. Those who question your faith.
  2. Those who thought you were intelligent and questions it because of your faith.
  3. Those who attack (in any way—verbally, emotionally, physically, etc.) you because of your faith.
  4. Those who think their opinion of you should matter.
  5. Those who throw your faith in your face when you mess up.
  6. People who think they are too smart for their own good.
  7. Rude, racist, ignorant, degrading, …people who test you to the point where sometimes you want to set your Christian morale aside and handle them your way because they really get under your skin.

  How to deal with these people:  

  1. Know who you are in Christ.
    1. God tells you who you are, believe it and walk in it.
      1. See Colossians 3:12;1 Timothy 4:12;Colossians 3:4;Colossians 2:10;Philippians 3:20;Philippians 4:7;Ephesians 5:8;Ephesians 3:12;Ephesians 2:10;Ephesians 2:4-5;Galations 5:1;Galatians 4:7;Galatians 3:28;2 Corinthians 5:17;2 Corinthians 3:14;1 Corinthians 6:19;1 Corinthians 1:30;Romans 15:7;John 15:1, 5;Matthew 5:13


  1. Know who you are racially, etc.  If these things don’t matter to you, even better, but don’t let anyone make you feel subordinate because of that.
  2. When you know who you are, you don’t try to impress people.  When you are a Christian and you know who you are, what people say or think about you do not matter; only what God thinks and says about you matters.
  3. Be honest with yourself.  If something someone says is true, then don’t get mad.  If you don’t like whatever the truth may be, then try to change it or solve it.  If someone says, you are a hypocrite, and you know you are, try to change your being a hypocrite if you don’t like that.  If you are a Christian, you should definitely try to change that because it’s wrong and draws people away from God.  You want to draw people to God.


  1. Remember that they (people) are not your enemy, Satan is, and you must not let him get the best of you. See my blog post: This is a Spiritual Battle!


  1. If you can’t stop your mouth from saying something rude back to someone, especially if you have been trying to ignore them for quite some time, bless them.  Say, “God bless you.” Or quote a Scripture fit for the situation.  They won’t expect it, and it’ll either de-escalate the situation or at least momentarily stun the other person to which point they may say something rude, but they will eventually walk off.


  1. Fighting is never the answer.  Trust me, whoever it is isn’t worth it.  Walk away.  Their opinions of you do not matter remember.  You know you who are, and so does God.  That’s all that matters.


  1. Eventually, someone will see that you are different, but not in the way this world talks about being different.  They will compliment you on your Christian-like attitude, your kindness, your unconditional love.  It’s been done to me, and sooner or later, it will be done to you.  It may take a while, but it’ll happen.  These are the things that keep me going strong in any situation when it comes to being a Christian because I know the work is paying off; I am starting to see it.  ALWAYS remember to give the Glory to God though because it is not you alone who are doing these things, but it is by God’s grace, strength, love, and mercy that He is. Not only will you be helping yourself to sinless, you’ll be helping others.  When they see you being true to your Christian faith, they will become curious and acknowledge you.  Then shall you be able to draw others unto God, for to be of God, you cannot be of this world.


  1. Forgiving others is SUPER DUPER HARD. But when you are having a hard time forgiving, think back on all the things God has forgiven you for.  Because He forgave you can have a relationship, the best relationship in the world, with Him.  Thus, we must forgive as He forgave us.  This usually does the trick for me when I have a hard time forgiving someone; now, I forgive quite easily, at least more easily than I did before.


  1. Talk to God about them. He doesn't go behind your back and repeat what you says.  But be careful not to judge, for only He has that right.


  1. Many times God wants us to talk to him, and sometimes the only for that to happen is for our situations to leave us in a position that makes us remember who is really in charge and in control (God).


  1. He can handle them better than you can.  Guaranteed.  He has all of our lives in His hands.  You can’t say this about yourself.  You barely have your own life in your hands.


  1. The Keys to Success as a Christian in College


  1. The Power of PrayerOverload of Work/Professors


  • I took on too much as a first year and became very stressed and tired out.  I took 5 courses (recommended 4); was committed to 23 extracurriculars, got little sleep but much exercise, was often tired, crashed a lot, had a hard time remembering things. Ended up withdrawing from Intro to Psych because my grade would have been beyond disappointing.  Skipped classes to catch up on sleep, studying, and course work (which brought down my grades in some courses I would have had an “A” in); I came out with all of this with a “B” average (Ain’t God Good?????!)


  1. Needs
    • Not to fear! God will provide! Going to Amherst was my first time flying (I was so nervous about not knowing what to expect.), I was able to have my stuff shipped, and He kept me safe (I didn’t know anyone there.) Not to mention, I never went hungry; I always had something to eat.  And I had fin aid to help me cover personal expenses and books, and I was able to get a job when I needed money for going out and doing stuff.  To get home for the summer, I had enough money from fin aid to help me out. I didn’t have to worry about anything, though sometimes I found myself doing just that.  Don’t tell me what God can’t do!  See Philippians 4:19.

  1 Corinthians 10:23,24 - “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ but not everything is good for you.  Don’t be concerned for your own good but the good of others.”  

  1. Confess to God, Repent, Do better.


  • You will mess up and make mistakes. As an extreme perfectionist, I was miserable because I tried to be perfect—in high school it was OK, but now, in college, it is a different ball game.  Amherst is a rigorous institution, and to beat myself up over a “B” is insane, and it took me a while to learn that.  It’s even worse when you’re a Christian, if you mess up, don’t feel defeated.  And if people throw it in your face, remember they have no right to judge; if anything they need to examine themselves.   What you need to do is remember that God is the one you should be concerned about.  Confess to him. Repent and be sincere about it.  Then do better.  Forgive yourself in the process.


  1. Keeping a Journal--Prayer Journal


  • Prayer is simply communication with God.  I wrote down some of my prayers(whether they be thanks, about my problems, etc.) in a journal, then I read them aloud to God in a secret place, and then I would meditate or sit there and think about what I just said.  Sometimes I would read my prayer aloud again or just to myself.  I would take deep breaths to calm myself if stressed.  I would cry if I needed to. I would let my anger subside before I went back out.  After every prayer, I thanked God in advance because I knew He was already working, and then I went on my day.  When each prayer was answered, either with a “Yes” or “No,” I would mark that on the prayer.  So when anyone, including myself, questioned my faith, I knew what God had done for me, but if I needed a reminder, I would go back to this journal and read it as a refresher.


  1. Regular Journal with my College Experiences


  • So my experiences are also testimonies in themselves.  I have been through so much in my first year of college, and to go back and re-experience those things are very powerful in remembering what God had brought me to and brought me from.  The blessings He has bestowed on me and how He has watched over me since I have gotten to Amherst.  This is what keeps my faith strong when I feel that “maybe this is all in vain.”  The more I remember, the stronger my faith get. I know that personally, I can be very forgetful with all that going on in my life, so these journals are very helpful for my Christian journey.


  1. Keeping in mind who you are


  1. God tells you.
    • Read your Bible. Study it for yourself.  Use to search for keywords to quickly find scriptures.  Download your Bible App.  Take a mini Bible with you wherever you go, even to class.  It’s OKAY to read your Bible in public; I do it all of the time.

See 1 Timothy 4:12-13.  

  1. You have the freedom to practice Christianity and read your Bible without being persecuted.


  • There are people all over the world who do not have this luxury, but you do.  So why are you ashamed?! Do it! Testify your faith.  Read the Bible in public.  Discuss this with others.  Praise God in public and in front of others.


  1. You are not perfect or flawless.


  • Sorry to discredit Beyonce here, but we are sinful beings and therefore have plenty of flaws.  See Romans 3:23. But the good news:  God forgives.  See Micah 7:18; Ephesians 1:7;Romans 4:5 So don’t beat yourself up about it, and when someone throws it in your face, shake it off as Tay Swift said.  Haters gonna hate, and people like to tear other people down, so just expect their attempts, but remember it's not them who you are to be upset with.

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