Making the move from home into college life gives you the freedom you’ve always dreamed of having, but with freedom comes responsibility. Even Paul understood the exuberance of youth and advised Timothy, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
Even in Paul’s time, the world could make life difficult for a young person choosing to follow the path God had set out for them. Today is no different. College life is filled with temptations, but God promises each of us to provide all we need to overcome any temptation: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The Bible also admonishes us to “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
So how do we avoid the pitfalls prevalent in the college atmosphere?
Band Together with Like-Minded Believers
The second part of 2 Timothy 2:22 states, “… with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Striving to have a pure heart and to serve the Lord, you should become friends with those who choose to do the same. You must surround yourself with others to whom you can look for support and for whom you can provide the same. Jesus never sent his disciples out by themselves but sent them out in teams of two, and Paul always went out in teams, as well, when he went on his missionary journeys.
God intends for us to serve together with others, always encouraging and praying for each other. The challenges college will throw at you should be encountered arm-in-arm, joined together with fellow combatants. Hebrews 3:13 commands us to “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Fight the Good Fight with the Armor of God
Remember, you are constantly in a battle for your life … your eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:12a states, “Fight the good fight of faith: take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”
To win this battle, you must prepare yourself both offensively and defensively using the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Defensively, Ephesians 6:10-11 reminds all of us to “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” And 1 Peter 5:8 admonishes us to “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Knowing the enemy we face and knowing that he is constantly searching for someone to “devour,” God has given us the tools we need to defend ourselves.
Ephesians 6:14-17 instructs us to put on the armor of God — putting on the belt of truth, donning the breastplate of righteousness, shodding our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, appointing the helmet of salvation and carrying the sword of the Spirit.
These tools relate to the principles found in the Bible, and this makes sense since it’s God’s instruction manual and His love letter to us. In John 14:6a, Jesus told Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” and, in John 1:1 we are told that Jesus is the Word, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” To don the belt of truth, we were given the Word.
In Philippians 3:9, Paul shares that he was “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ.” Again, we are pointed to Jesus and our faith in Him to put on the breastplate of righteousness. We are to shod our feet with the gospel of peace, like Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:15: “[you should] always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” This readiness requires us to know what we believe and be able to defend it. Paul also says to don the helmet of salvation. Both the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation are rooted in the Word. Jesus is the Word and through Him, we defend ourselves from the enemy.
The Word also serves us offensively as the sword of the Spirit. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow,” says Hebrews 4:12a. Understanding the power of the Word, Jesus used it when he was tempted by the devil in the desert, prefacing His use of his offensive maneuvers with, “It is written.” We should model our behavior after that of Jesus and use God’s Word to defeat the adversary.
Laying the Groundwork for Your Future
You attend college to prepare yourself for your future life’s work in a chosen field of study. The things you learn now, you’ll use for the rest of your life. Knowing this, you study and do what you need to do to prepare yourself for your life’s journey. In this way, you are preparing for the rest of your “physical” life.
You must do the same to diligently prepare for the rest of your “spiritual” life, which lasts much longer than the physical life for which you currently train and study. The habits you develop now, those of prayer and spending time in the Word, will serve you well as you prepare for your future life with God in eternity. James 4:8a states, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
College is a unique time of intense focus, deep friendships, and profound learning. One of the best things you can do as you search for universities is consider their spiritual training and atmosphere. Ask yourself, “Will this college help me to grow in my faith?” “Will this college train me in using the armor of God in my everyday life?”
If you’d like to learn more about professions that will enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at OKWU, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in any field of study. For more information on how Oklahoma Wesleyan University can help you pursue your goals, please phone us at 918-335-6200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.