College students

College students, what are your New Year's resolutions? To exercise more? To make new friends? To get involved in more activities at school? To raise your GPA?

It's normal to reflect on the past semester and to make goals in order to improve the next. But while exercising more, making new friends, getting involved in activities, and raising your grade point average are all excellent goals, in the greater scheme of life, how meaningful are these resolutions?

I know from experience that getting out of bed in the morning to go to class isn't always easy. Neither is writing that term paper, preparing for that group presentation, or cramming for your third midterm exam in a week. But perhaps even harder is continuing to reflect Christ's light as you go about your busy day. When we're too occupied complaining about how stressed we are, we miss opportunities to share with others the hope we have in Christ.

That's why a New Year's resolution that serves as an excellent reminder during these stressful times is to "do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe" (Philippians 2:14,15). That's right. We Christian college students are to "shine like stars" as we go about our day.

It's tempting to try and blend in and keep it on the down low that we are Christians when we are bombarded with the challenges of a college environment. We are presented with viewpoints that contradict what God teaches us in his Word. It might be evolution, it might be students supporting pro choice, or it might be a student group advocating homosexuality. Peers try to help us relax by persuading us that it's okay to curse when we're frustrated, to entertain ourselves by gossiping about the students down the hall, or to take a break from our hectic schedules by having a drink or two or three. It's hard to stand up against these challenges, especially when we are worn down after late nights of working and studying.

After reading textbooks and studying notes for hours, reading and studying the Bible is tossed aside. Rare free time is quickly snatched up by hanging out with friends, attending the big social event on campus, or simply catching up on sleep. I have found that these activities bring temporary relaxation and satisfaction but only until the next challenge of college hits.

When bogged down with challenges, it's important to have something much more stable and enduring. Gathering with other Christian college students at weekly campus ministry devotions and worshiping at church on Sundays has helped to keep my faith active throughout my time in college. When problems developed, I had the assurance that God loved me and would guide me through them.

We don't have to dig too deeply to notice that college abounds with challenges that test our faith. We notice that many students around us fall into the temptations. But let's be different. Let's remain rooted in God's Word and persistently fulfill our responsibilities without complaining but with joy. By turning to God and his Word when we are confronted with the challenges of the semester, let's shine like stars among those who look for worldly solutions to their troubles.

Author: Katie Ziesemer
Copyrighted WELS Forward in Christ