Pursuing Jesus in College
How can you keep pursuing Jesus in college?
This summer I will be graduating from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. As I reflect on the past four years, I realize that as I entered college I was not sure what to expect, not prepared for how much harder college is than high school, and not sure how to pursue a relationship with Jesus while in college.
Life after high school is full of uncertainty and questions. What college do I go to? How am I going to pay for college? Do I even want to go to college? What am I going to eat? What should I major in? How am I going to make friends? Most importantly… how am I going to follow Jesus?
I can tell you from experience that college is full of opportunity, freedom, coffee, cramming for exams, ramen noodles, late nights, friends, temptations, people with different worldviews and backgrounds, and sadly hostility towards Christianity.
As you enter this next season of life, my encouragement to you is to pursue a relationship with Jesus by prioritizing a campus ministry, local church, and daily time alone with God. I hope you don’t see this as a to-do list but advice from someone who imperfectly pursued Jesus in college. I don’t say these things to overwhelm you, I say these things for your joy. I promise you that the most possible joy you can have in college is found in knowing Jesus and making Him known (Psalm 37:4, Matthew 6:33).
1. Prioritize a campus ministry.
Jonathan Pokluda says “if you want to change your life, change your playmates and your playground.” Life is all about where you go and who you go there with. Community is essential in college. A campus ministry is an excellent place to pursue friendships with people who will help you grow in your faith. While I was at George Mason, I was involved with a campus ministry called CRU. Their goal is to be a multiethnic community captivated by the Gospel, transformed by the Gospel and committed to taking the Gospel to GMU and the world. Through CRU at George Mason, I grew so much by being discipled by the staff, being a part of a small group, and being encouraged to serve. Life isn’t meant to be done alone, pursue Godly community.
2. Prioritize a local church.
Many college students go to church with their friends. While this isn’t a bad thing, I want to caution you that your friends may: 1) not go every week, 2) go to a different church every week, or 3) go to a bad church. Prioritize a local church that is word-centered and Christ-exalting.
Some evaluative questions: Is the Gospel preached? Is the worship music Christ-centered? Do they preach the Bible? Are there opportunities to serve? An excellent resource to use as you look for a good church is Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.
Why should you prioritize a local church? The Bible says to: Hebrews 10:24-25. Another three reasons to prioritize a local church are to weekly hear the Bible preached, have opportunities to be discipled, and opportunities to serve others.
3. Prioritize time alone with God.
We live in a culture that is driven by instant gratification. Slowing down and spending time with God isn’t always fun, easy, or enjoyable. But John Elmore puts it this way, “something doesn’t have to be amazing in order to be sustaining.” Nothing has helped me grow in my relationship with Jesus more than simply spending time with Him every day. By speaking to Him in prayer and hearing from Him through His word.
Dustin Benge said, “five minutes of prayer is worth more than an hour of scrolling through social media.” It is not that we don’t have the time to spend time alone with God, it’s that we don’t prioritize it. Sometimes we just need to cry out to God, confess that we haven’t prioritized spending time with Him, and ask that He would help us prioritize that. If you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus during college, prioritize spending time with Him daily.
In summary, my hope is that you seek to know Jesus and make Him known while at college. I encourage you to pursue Jesus by prioritizing a campus ministry, a local church, and daily time alone with God.
Photo by Avinash Murugappan
Sometimes life gives you a gift that you want to lose but you have to use.
Do you view singleness as a gift? Sometimes we receive gifts that we don’t want to use, don’t know how to use, or don’t even want to possess. I am afraid many of us feel this way about singleness. We don’t know what to do with it, we don’t know why we’re stuck with it, and we just want to get rid of it.
The Apostle Paul saw singleness as a gift. In 1 Corinthians 7:7–9, he says “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Pastor J.P. Pokluda from Harris Creek Baptist in Texas said about singleness “sometimes life gives you a gift that you want to lose but you have to use.” Singleness is a gift from God.
If singleness is a gift, then how do we use this gift?
In 1 Corinthians 7:32–35, Paul says “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
The most important relationship that we can ever pursue is our relationship with God. Singleness teaches us about the sufficiency of Christ. He alone satisfies. Until Jesus is enough for us, no person, relationship, or marriage will ever be. Singleness is a unique time to pursue undivided devotion to the Lord. Contentment in life comes when we find our worth, identity, purpose, and satisfaction in Christ alone.
To the single person reading this, I encourage you to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Singleness is a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the church and the world that Christ is sufficient. Marriage is not the most important thing ever, Jesus is. We exist to live in relationship with Him, enjoy Him, and bring glory to Him.
Whether we are single, dating, or married let us “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). No matter what your relationship status is, we are called to be satisfied in Him, devoted to Him, and abiding in Him. Singleness is a gift, a unique opportunity to pursue undivided devotion to Christ. Let’s use this gift for the glory of God.