I spent my last two years of high school at a Christian prep school before heading down to Atlanta for college. I took classes on apologetics and bible analysis. I’ll never forget staring at the TV screen in the classroom, watching Del Tackett teaching on truth and life from the perspective of God’s Word. It wasn’t enough though. I thought that preparing myself with knowledge would guard me from the constant challenges that I would face in college. There isn’t enough prep “work” to make you live out what you know to be the truth. It’s more than just knowing God’s word. You have to be actively in touch with God and live it out.
Stop Being A Devotional Christian & Know the Word of God Personally
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing I love more than a new devotional that I’ve stumbled across in my Bible App. However, if you only read the bible when you see a “Scripture of the Day” or when you read a devotional, you’re missing out. When I stepped onto my college campus in Atlanta, GA, my faith hit a wall. From professors telling me that the “white Jesus” was simply an enslavement tool placed on my ancestors to classmates challenging my prayer time, my faith became REAL.
It’s one thing to be around people who only challenge you from time to time or just online. However, what about your roommate in your dorm? If you don’t know what your faith is built upon, you will find yourself in confusion. How can you defend what you do not know yourself? You can only live by what you know. The more I studied the Word of God, the more I fell in love with my faith. Stay prayed up and engage yourself with other believers on a consistent basis. Find a local church group near your campus and get involved.
Set Up Boundaries & Realize Who Has God’s Heart in Mind
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
Setting up boundaries is something that you will either do or not do. There is no in between. Sometimes college students tell me that they didn’t have a choice in hanging out with certain people. However, we always have a choice. It’s just a matter of whether or not we want to endure what comes with that decision. You don’t need to be at every college hangout. You’re not missing anything. Trust me. Stop trying to be friends with everyone. Don’t allow any doubt or fear on “missing out” make you connect with people who rip you away from God’s best for your life.
Some things are common sense. I think sometimes we try to push our “life buttons” and see how far away we can get away from what we know is right without seeing a “consequence.” Boundaries are not for God. Boundaries are there to protect you from what will pull you away from Him. Honestly, many of us know something is not “quite right.” Maybe it’s a place, person, or an activity. Whatever it is, realize that you should protect your walk with Christ at all costs.
I found myself hanging out with people for the sake of just “being around.” Get around people who have your future in mind. You never want to be around people who think about just the “moment” and never the end result. College is about dedicating a set of time to bettering your future. It’s also a time to connect and network with people from all walks of life. Listen to how people talk about their walk with Christ. I found myself at times with people who claimed to love Christ but their walk contradicted their words. I didn’t shut them out from my life but I stopped allowing them to influence my decisions and attitude.
Be Content & Get Up If You Fall
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalm 73:26
The enemy loves for us to dwell in discontentment. When it comes to compromising your walk with Christ, it requires for you to give up something that you “think” is a better choice. That’s what the enemy wants you to think. He wants you to think that leaving the side of Christ is better than whatever you’re feeling about being a light in a dark place on campus.
Here is a hard pill to swallow. Many young adults in college compromise their walk based on a feeling instead of taking a step back and analyzing their trust in God. We only compromise when we’re not content in our portion. It usually comes back to thinking that we’re missing out because of our faith. Think about Eve in the Garden of Eden. She thought that she was missing out on something because God was keeping her from eating of that particular tree. It wasn’t that God was trying to ruin her party. It was that He was protecting her from what wasn’t good for her. She thought that she would be just like God (according to Satan). However, in the end she ended up being “exposed.” Compromising never leaves you with the better hand. It simply exposes you to the truth that it was never worth it in the first place.
God desires for us to see that He is our portion. He sent His son to die on a cross to show us what love really looks like. Each day that we wake up, He is empowering us to spread love and see love through His Word and Spirit. Now that’s something to be content about. So what people don’t like your faith. The Word told us that we would be persecuted. So what people tease you as the “Jesus Freak.” It’s better to be in God and teased than on the path to hell and popular due to sin. There is nothing more beautiful and powerful than walking with Christ. It’s worth more than anything the world can offer. If you have compromised, there’s hope. Ask God to help you and then get serious about your walk with Christ. Close those back end doors in your life that the enemy has been creeping into and focus on embracing this life with Christ!
Genesis Dorsey is a creative based in Delaware who loves to connect people to people and ultimately to Jesus Christ. She is the founder of Girls of Royalty, a Christian-based women's network, and the owner of two digital companies specializing in design and branding. She spends her free time writing and volunteering at her local church.