Chris·tian (ˈkrisCHən/) adjective
- 1.of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings. "The Christian Church"
- informal having or showing qualities associated with Christians, especially those of decency, kindness, and fairness.
- 1.a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and His teachings.
What happens when two completely opposite worlds collide? We get confusion; Christians and college.
We all have this basic idea of what college is supposed to be like, skipping class, drinking, constant partying, and hookups. Then we switch to our basic idea of Christianity: Sunday school, reciting of Bible verses when someone does something wrong, and old fashioned ways of being that tend to reject secular ideas.
So then what does it mean to be a Christian in college? That, in my opinion, is when we need to understand the difference between religion and Jesus.
You see, religion is a set of rules: you can't wear this, you can't say that, you must go to church, and you definitely can't do this. But don't college students already have enough rules and stereotypes they feel like they have to meet and fulfill? For example, grades, making our family proud, and finding the right friend group?
But that is where Jesus comes into play. He already knows we are going to make mistakes. Jesus does not necessarily require us to fit a mold that He will reject us for when we do not fit. That is not how Jesus works. He wants all of us, every piece, no matter how broken we may feel that we are.
Jesus will not turn us away if we go to a party. Surprise: Christians in college can go to a party. Christians in college can actually drink too (responsibly of course). Christians in college can even get tattoos.
Somewhere along the line, signals got crossed, and said that Christians are not allowed to practice what would be seen as "worldly" or "modern" behavior. However, Jesus never said that we would be any less if we did practice those behaviors, and He never said we would be viewed as any better if we didn't.
Nobody is ever going to hell just because they drink, or have tattoos. The only reason you are going to hell is if you don't have eternal salvation, which sin does not take away. Jesus created us knowing we would sin. I am not in any way saying the above actions are not sin. Jesus will not stop loving someone because they do sin.
Religion is about self-righteousness, while Jesus is about grace.
Christians in college are normal people. We may be seen as a rare breed but we are normal people. We can do all the "normal" college things, if you get what I am saying. Just because we chose to follow Jesus does not mean we have to live under a rock or in a box. We are not hypocrites if we do chose to partake in normal activities, or make us any less Christian. College aged Christians do not live easier lives and they are not necessarily sheltered or stupid. College aged Christians are no better or worse than anyone else.
We are all human. Jesus designed us all to lean to Him during everything in our lives. Jesus has gone before each and every one of us, perfectly crafting our paths. He molded and painted each and every one of us with His own two hands. The same Jesus who placed all the planets in perfect alignment created all of US.
At the end of the day, it is essential that we learn the difference between Jesus and Religion. When we do that, we will learn that many of the ideas we have about Christians are actually ideas about religion, not Jesus.
Jefferson Bethke said it best in Jesus>Religion:
"When I was trying to earn Jesus by being good, I missed the real Jesus who wants us to love Him and serve Him not for what He gives but for who He is--dangerous, unpredictable, radical, and amazing."