Christians in College

Growing up in a quaint, little town, people challenging my faith was not much of an issue. My relationship with Jesus was not something considered controversial. In fact, it was encouraged. Sure, the occasional person would raise some questions, but overall, nothing anyone said to me ever made me ashamed of my faith. I grew up in a church passionate about pursuing God, and in turn, became passionate about Him myself. However, it seems as though our society has reached a point where Christianity has an enormous negative light being shined on it.

Often times, I feel like my friends think I’m being a stickler when I tell them I don’t want to party. The fact that I don’t cuss and drink excessively makes my peers think I’m a prude. When in all actuality, that’s just not my lifestyle – don’t get me wrong though, I certainly struggle with the temptation to party. However, having a relationship with Jesus has convinced me not to. That doesn’t mean I think I’m better than people who do party, or that I don’t want to be their friend.

 Unfortunately, due to recent news features on certain “Christians” in America, I think a lot of people have conjured up a skewed view of what I believe having a relationship with Jesus really is. I and many other Christians believe the main message of the Bible is love. I was recently having a conversation with a few friends about this and we all came to the conclusion that we would be pretty poor representations of the Gospel if we didn’t hang out with people who have different views than we do. How does avoiding those with different beliefs show them love? It doesn’t.

Another challenge that comes with being a Christian in college is dealing with professors who believe the Bible is a work of fiction. While I genuinely appreciate everything they have to teach in class, many of them are not too keen on the whole Jesus thing. Being in an academic setting, the fact that I believe in the Bible can probably appear quite ridiculous to many astute professors and even fellow students. I’ve found that in order to get around this awkward position, we just have to respect one another's beliefs – it’s really not that difficult, at all.

Please don’t conclude that I’m trying to paint all Christians as victims of the college lifestyle or of society in general. I’m confident that some would argue “Christians” have created victims in society – which is not what I believe being a Christian is about. While there are plenty of Christians who would disagree with me, many would agree that having a relationship with Jesus means showing all people love, regardless of our differences. Being a Christian means letting Jesus motivate you in everything you do so that you can serve others, have forgiveness, joy, and so much more to offer because of Him.

A pastor I enjoy listening to, Carl Lentz, perfectly summed up not only what being a Christian in college is about, but what being a Christian in life is about when he said “who you are is not defined by what you do. It is defined by who Jesus is to you.”