What does it mean to fall into the temptations of the world, especially as a college student? College is a time and point in life where every possible temptation will be within feet of you, striking you in every direction. So the question comes to be, how do you fight it?
I remember walking onto campus my freshman year, being so overwhelmed by all the opportunities and people; wondering how on earth I would make it on my own. There were a few things that I was adamant about and one specifically was that I didn’t want to get sucked into the parties and booze, as it had never been my way of life and I never wanted it to be. But I didn’t know how to combat that, especially within the first couple of hours of being on campus, I had already been invited to two parties and I had no friends.
From there, I had to make the hard decision, abstain from my morals and make friends, or stick with what was true to me and be left alone. I chose the latter; however, because I wasn’t grounded in my faith, I floated most of first semester and it wasn’t until the beginning of second semester when it all clicked for me and I really sought out who I wanted to be in Christ. However, this didn’t mean that all of a sudden the temptations were whisked away, in fact they only got more difficult.
It seemed that the more I became grounded, the more I craved rebelling and I didn’t understand why. Usually, the more connected with Christ, the less you feel the need to do what others do. But when I first became established in Christ, the more vulnerable I felt and the more I felt I need to hide who I really was out of fear of what others would think. Thank goodness this did not last long for me because God really tugged on my heart and opened my eyes to see all that He had done in and through me as well as seeing the world around me. This was and is not an easy process; however, I found five essential lifestyle choices that helped me to combat the temptations of the devil.
1. Get connected within a campus ministry
This is by far one of the best decisions and most impactful on getting you connected with the right crowd. Most colleges have at least one if not more than one ministry and usually if there is more than one, you can choose one to fit your preferences. I bounced between three different ones my freshman year until I felt called to the one I am in now.
Being in a campus ministry is so important as it connects you with a variety of people your age, focusing on growing their own relationship with Christ as well as building a safe and loving community to help fight off the temptations of college. In Hebrews 10:24-25 it says to, “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in habit of doing, but encouraging one another!” I have found this to be so encouraging to be able to sit and laugh with my friends without fear or temptation.
2. Read the Bible daily
Reading the Bible never used to be a habit for me; believe me when I first started reading, it was drudgery. I used to think that if I didn’t read it, I was somehow less of a Christian and that it was my “duty” to read the Bible; however when I actually began to see the Bible as time to spend and seek God more intimately, the reading became more meaningful.
I began to see God for who God is and how He sees me and how He has a plan for each and every one of us. In 3:16-17 it speaks of how “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This scripture pretty much sums up how reading His works is profitable to us as enlightens us and gives us the strength to battle the desires of this earth. His Word is a syllabus for us, enabling us to understand and be guided through every trial and tribulation.
3. Get involved in a Bible study
While this one doesn’t seem as trivial for many, it is such a grounding and important part of staying connected, not only in your own faith but encouraging others in their walks. Being in a Bible study with a group of either male or females allows you to delve deeper into the Bible, understand more of what God speaks within scripture as well as allowing you to have a community of believers in which you can be comfortable to grow and walk with.
Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” No this verse does not say that without community there is no God or relationship with God, it just indicates that when you are in Christ you have that “backup” to help with life and it allows you to grow stronger as you ask questions and hash out the problems of life.
4. Ask to be challenged
This one in particular has been a difficult part in growing in Christ and allowing Him full control of my life. For so long I was afraid of asking God to challenge me because I thought that in order to be challenged, you had to be on a certain level of Christianity, with a certain amount of faith that I clearly did not possess. How wrong was I; God wants us to seek Him where we are and this has come very clearly to me especially when I discovered that in order to grow more in your faith “the levels” become more difficult because the devil realizes that he is losing so he places more obstacles in our way hoping to discourage us.
However, the exact opposite is happening as we learn to rely more and more on Him and His glory. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul says “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.” God doesn’t promise easy lives to us; however, He does promise that in adversities, He will be there to lift us up and provide us the strength.
5. Have a mentor
Having a mentor may seem like something for those who are really weak in their faith and need guidance. However, this is far from the truth, having someone wiser in their faith to walk alongside you through the trials in life allows us the opportunity to be vulnerable and open. It allows each and every one of us the ability to discuss what we are struggling with as well as have the opportunity to grow a deeper understanding of the Word and how God is speaking in us and through us.
We are given the ability to see how God has worked in their lives and their stories can provide us with encouragement as we listen to how God has worked in their lives. One of my favorite books in the Bible on wisdom is written by Solomon one of the wisest men to live.
Proverbs provides insight and encouragement and in chapter 27 verse 17, he speaks of how “how iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Solomon distinctly speaks of the importance of having a confidant throughout life, for we cannot grow if we always stay stagnant, our greatest growth comes from the unity and mentorship, not necessarily on our own doing.
College is never necessarily easy; however, it can be one of the most impactful seasons as we look to God to guide us throughout it all. God will never leave us no matter how far we may fall; He is there to pick us up each time. And through His Word, He gives us many guidelines and ways of encouragement as we face the fight, but always with Him by our side. Temptations occur everywhere and in every situation but God gives us the tools to fight, we just have to be willing.
Written by Jenna Preston
Bio: Just a twenty-year-old girl currently heading into my junior year at Iowa State University! I am studying in Child Adult and Family Services with a minor in Psychology and plan on heading onto graduate school to pursue a degree in Counseling! If I'm not hanging out with friends and family I can be found in a coffee shop reading the Bible or a good book, hiking or running, baking, and adventuring. My journey as a Christian in college has been one of the most challenging and influential times of my life so far and I have gotten to experience the fully grace and peace that comes from an intimate relationship with the Lord.
Just a twenty-year-old girl currently heading into my junior year at Iowa State University! I am studying in Child Adult and Family Services with a minor in Psychology and plan on heading onto graduate school to pursue a degree in Counseling! If I'm not hanging out with friends and family I can be found in a coffee shop reading the Bible or a good book, hiking or running, baking, and adventuring. My journey as a Christian in college has been one of the most challenging and influential times of my life so far and I have gotten to experience the fully grace and peace that comes from an intimate relationship with the Lord.