In August of 2009, my parents and I packed up my car, drove across the country, moved my stuff into a college dorm room, attended student orientation and just like that, we found ourselves waving a tearful goodbye as they drove back to Colorado without me for the first time. While I was sad to see my parents go, it was the moment I had been looking forward to for a long time. I was finally at my university – I was “on my own,” independent, ready to show the world what I had to offer. As much as I was excited for this experience, I was quickly blindsided by the reality of what being on my own really meant. I was forced to make my own decisions in every circumstance – to figure out whom I would spend my time with, where I would go to church and even what I believed and why I believed it. All my life I had been taught what was right, what was wrong and was consistently pointed to Christ in all things by God-loving parents. But after 18 years, for the first time I had to figure it out for myself.
Union University – Jackson, Tennessee
In high school I consistently encountered God’s Word from a theologically sound church and was a part of a youth group with a solid group of Christian friends. Then, in college I met people with different backgrounds and beliefs. I quickly realized it would be easy for me to make theological modifications to what I believed in order to “fit in” with the kids I went to school with. I was tempted to do things I knew where against God’s Word and what I knew was right. Many of my classmates grew up in Christian homes, but when they got to college, rebellious streaks came out once they realized their parents would never find out about the things they did. I knew I did not want to be that way – I wanted to live a life I was proud of, a life that God would be proud of. After all, we may be able to hide from our parents, but we can’t hide from God.
My goal quickly became to live a life by THE Gospel, the one spelled out in Scripture, even though it was easy to make modifications that fit in with a different gospel – the gospel many of my friends were living by. The Lord firmly warns us against “other” gospels:
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” Galatians 1:8 (NIV)
It would have been so easy to justify actions, to make excuses, to twist what Scripture says to make it fit into what my sinful self wanted it to say. It would have been temporarily convenient too. But living a life for Christ does not mean that we live by what our flesh desires, it means to abide by His Word, no matter the cost.
College was a life shaping time in my life. I also thought you all would enjoy this picture of Andi and I on graduation day (May, 2012). I wish we still lived near each other, but I’m so thankful for her friendship and weekly writings on GLOW.
Living a life that follows God’s Gospel is a daily choice we have to make, no matter what stage of life we are in. The world says we should do one thing, but Scripture says we should do something different. The world tells that it is okay to do things that the Scripture warns against – in fact, there are times the world makes us look bad for doing things according to Scripture or taking a stance on an issue the Bible affirms. It is my prayer that we would not let our feelings, the easy way out, or the world’s opinion sway us. If what you are tempted to do is different than what Scripture says, there is a problem, a conflict. In these circumstances, let Jesus win. Do what He says, not what your flesh says. Let your life be an example of the Christ-loving, God-fearing person the Lord wants us to be. Besides, in the end, Jesus always wins anyway.