How Starting College Restarted My Faith

How Starting College Restarted My Faith

It's amazing the way you can find God in people and places.

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Going into my freshman year of college this time one year ago, I didn't know what to expect. There was so much going on; new campus, new room, new people, new classes. I remember I was most worried about making friends and whether or not I was going to be able to handle my classes. I was a ball of anxious feelings and for the first semester, I felt like I was just getting accustomed to going through the motions. I was definitely having fun and enjoyed this new phase of my life, but looking back now, I think I knew something was missing. Spring semester came up quick and I was as nervous as ever about the same things; keeping my friendships from last semester and adjusting to a new schedule. With all this new stress, the last thing I expected was to be going to church again.

Attending church on campus wasn't something that had crossed my mind. I knew it was an option; there are plenty of churches and religious groups around. I had some friends that were involved in a few different churches and I enjoyed hearing about it but I never thought it was for me. I had already done the church thing practically my entire life. Growing up Catholic, going to private schools, attending Mass twice a week in high school. At that point, I felt burnt out. I still had a relationship with God at this time an I valued it a lot, but I kept it to myself and figured it was as developed as it was going to get.

An invitation to church from my closest friend changed all that for me. The first time I stepped into the room, I felt the energy shifting. The service was everything I had been missing; an interactive, personal, lively, genuine approach to faith and God. I found myself excited to be there, especially with other students who were so committed to their faith. It was different from high school where we were all expected to have our faith life figured out, in one way or another. But Kingdom M'Powerment was different and it was refreshing to feel like I had started anew with God.

After attending this first service, weekends became exciting for me...not because I wanted to party but because I wanted to go to church! Sundays were the best day of the week; I would make it a point to get all my work done on Saturdays so I could enjoy the two-three hour service and join in for dinner afterward. After a couple of Sundays, I started to get involved in Tuesday Bible study classes as well. I hadn't actively read the Bible since probably eighth grade and though I was a little apprehensive about getting into the Bible, I ended up genuinely enjoying the lessons I was learning along with a new understanding of how to view it.

Tuesdays quickly became the best part of the school week. I had not anticipated for my faith life to have changed into something so much more fulfilling and genuine than I had previously known. I had limited myself previously in my relationship with God and I am thankful that He put the right people in my life to lead me to a new one. The camaraderie and love I hadn't realized I had been looking for but had found in Kingdom M'Powerment was the highlight of my freshman year and I am beyond excited to spend another year this way, with my favorite people.

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God's Letter To The Struggling College Christian

Don't give up on me because I haven't given up on you
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Dear Struggling College Christian,

Life can be tough, especially in college; you’re at that age where you’re not exactly an adult but also no longer a child. You’re somewhere in between, possessing just enough freedom to do what you want while still being held responsible for the decisions you make about your future. You're always stressed out. You’re going to get hurt, you’re going to feel like dropping out or changing your mind, and you’re even going to want to turn your back on me, your God, but I want to tell you this: your suffering is not in vain.

SEE ALSO: I Am Christian Millennial And I Do Not Hate You

I want you to know that everything you are going through is a lesson. It’s all building you into a better person, a better you. The things you’ve asked of me, the things you’ve told me you wanted – those are things you have to be prepared for and you still need a bit of tweaking. The future, though bright, isn’t all sunshine and roses. The path has twists and turns, cracks are in it, fallen logs in your way, and most of the time you’re not going to be able to see straight ahead of you. The weather is going to be unpredictable. The hailstorm is going to knock you off your feet and the twisters are going to send you spinning into confusion, exhaustion and doubt, but with the strength that I am trying to build up in you, you'll find that you know exactly where to find shelter when the storms break down your door.

You’ll find that the lessons you learn from trying times are exactly what you need to fulfill my plans for you. You’ve read Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28, and heard them hundreds of times, but there is a verse in the Bible that you may have never paid attention to: Ephesians 2:10. It reads: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The most important part of this verse is one simple word: beforehand. So while you’re crying and stressing about what job you’re going to land after you graduate, if you’re going to marry that person you’ve been with for years, or if you even want to be majoring in what you’re currently majoring in, I already have a plan laid out specifically for you. You are my child, my creation and you have a purpose.

However, while knowing these things is great, it is all pointless if you don’t do. So here’s what I want you to do: do not give up. Have faith in me. You believe in me, so why not believe in me in your darkest moments? That’s the reason you became a Christian, right? Because I'm the one person you know that won't forsake you. You know that I love you, and you know that I’m here for you, so prove it. I know it can be hard when you’re pulled in a lot of different directions by your social life, your academic life and your extracurricular activities not to mention your family life and your own personal sanity, but take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to talk to me. Tell me your fears and your desires. Remember that you can ask me for and about anything. I'm always going to give you an answer, whether it's a yes, no, or not right now. After that, I want you to stop worrying and fight on through the darkness. You are stronger than you think.

My Child, enjoy yourself while you are young: don't stress over the things that you can't see. Don't give in to the depression, the anxiety, or the stress; things that are not of me. Don't let yourself forget about me or believe that I'm not there when I am and know that my plan is set in place for you. All you have to do is walk in it. Trust that this is all for your good. But most importantly, remember that I love you unconditionally–at your worst and your best. Life can be tough, but you are tougher simply because you are mine.

I’ve got you,

God

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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41 Reasons Christians Can And Should Hate Sin With A Burning Intensity

It is good and proper to say that Christians ought to be people of love, but the divine command to be loving is emphatically not a command to love all things, especially not sin.

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Though my heart is imperfect and indeed is still sick with immorality, there exists therein by the sheer grace and compassionate workings of God a bitter, white-hot hatred for sin. I hate the sin left in my mind and in my heart. I hate that my reasoning and my feeling is still imperfect. I hate that I feel things, desire things, and even value things that are opposed to God and His absolute perfection. I hate my sin. I hate others' sin. I passionately hate sin. Period.

But why? Aren't we as Christians called to be loving folks? Decent people who lead kind, merciful lives in a world that is falling apart and in need of some relational sunshine? Why so much talk of hatred and unfavorable disposition?

I cannot possibly give every possible reason, but here is a long list of reasons to hate sin:

1. Sin grieves God's heart, transgresses His law, spits in His face, and disrespects His glory.

2. Sin is both immoral and illegal as it concerns God, our King.

3. Sin enslaves every person and will kill them unless God saves them by His sovereign grace.

4. Sin keeps our minds from the attainment of real wisdom.

5. Sin is the reason why people go to Hell.

6. Sin keeps us from enjoying God as we should always do and should desire to do.

7. Sin is the reason for broken relationships, friendships, marriages, and families.

8. Sin is the reason for oppression in the world and in the spiritual realm.

9. Sin tramples the glory of God underfoot and makes Him seem uninteresting and boring.

10. Sin is opposed to genuine, pure love.

11. Sin is the mirage that boasts of being conducive to the joy we need to have, but it is a sorry, disgusting, mirage that doesn't come through on so much as a single promise it makes.

12. Sin is the perversion of the good commandments and flawless design of God.

13. Sin falls extremely short of what it boasts of. It boasts of giving happiness but leads to emptiness and eternal damnation and torment in Hell.

14. Sin more resembles the demonic realm than the heavenly.

15. Sin is the reason why human suffering and death exist in the world.

16. Sin is the reason for addiction to substances, to alcohol, and pornography.

17. Sin leads us to believe we are good, blinding us to our massive legal guilt before God that keeps us condemned.

18. Sin makes the cross, which is so important words cannot rightly describe it, seem as if it doesn't have any real significance.

19. Sin pushes false teachings about God and His Word.

20. Sin perpetrates blatant, damnable heresies about what God has revealed, distorting the message and murdering people spiritually every day.

21. Sin makes us think we can work our way to having God's approval.

22. Sin compels men to add rituals, good works, law-keeping, and other addendums to the Gospel, claiming them as being necessary for salvation and leading to death rather than the life that was promised.

23. Sin makes us trust in ourselves and in our own wisdom instead of God and His perfect sovereignty.

24. Sin is a bloodthirsty enemy in our own hearts, what Scripture calls "the flesh," a vile cultural and kind of sociological enemy all around us, what Scripture calls "the world," and a twisted demonic enemy that desires that we perish forever, who Scripture calls "the devil."

25. Sin makes us hate God, whose infinite dignity and perfect, unalloyed glory makes Him totally unworthy of our hateful disposition and lack of religious enthusiasm.

26. Sin leads us to reason that we have the authority to define good and evil for ourselves.

27. Sin is the reason for divorce, abuse, sexual deviance, and abortion.

28. Sin is the source of all selfishness, pride, moral filthiness, and relational darkness that exists in the world.

29. Sin alienates men and women from their Creator who made them for the purpose of enjoying Him forever and delighting in His wonder and glory.

30. Sin is the reason why we lust after and objectify each other instead of loving and respecting each other.

31. Sin is the reason why we must lock our doors at night and be afraid to unlock them during the day.

32. Sin is why we are disconnected and alone.

33. Sin hates us and desires nothing that is of godly, holy, pure origin.

34. Sin makes men behave like animals in heat rather than like people with rational, emotional souls.

35. Sin leads men to worship the sun, moon, and stars rather than recognizing their nature as artful creations of God that display His wisdom and glory and ought to lead to deeper worship of Him, not them.

36. Sin makes us content in fake Christianity that lacks repentance and faith in Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and Treasure.

37. Sin makes us think we can do whatever we want with the Bible and treat it like our own word instead of the Word of God.

38. Sin tells us to worry and even climb the walls in panic before we'll even give thought to humble, faithful prayer to God.

39. Sin ripped our beloved Jesus apart, spat on Him, shamed Him, stripped Him naked, and nailed Him to the cross.

40. Sin killed our most beloved treasure, the Lord Jesus Christ.

41. Sin crushed and butchered Jesus.

I could go on and on in such a list. The Christian who has been redeemed by the electrifying, amazing, knock-your-socks-off grace of God should possess within his or her heart a hatred of sin that burns with incredible heat and intensity.

Rather than liking sin and wanting as much of it as can be imaginably obtained in this life, those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Almighty God and who are in a saving relationship of union with Jesus Christ should hate sin and be in continual possession of the serious desire to see the sin that remains in them crumble and topple over as God becomes increasingly beautiful to them.

When Jesus died on the cross for your sin and my sin, He did many things on our behalf. He paid off every last bit of our massive legal debt that we owed before God. He suffered the full penalty that we deserved to suffer for our sin, absorbing the curse and the wrath of God justly poured out. He died our death penalty. He paid our bride price with His infinitely valuable blood. He redeemed us, purchasing us for a new life, good works, and total freedom. He claimed victory over sin, death, and Satan. He gave Himself as a purifying, atoning sacrifice for sinners.

There are numerous motifs at play at the cross, but all of them portray our sin as our worst problem, the wrath of God aimed at sinners for their horrid offenses committed against Him, Jesus stepping in our place and doing what is necessary, and as a result us being reconciled to God. Jesus won, sin lost, and we being united to Jesus by faith live and reign and are open to rejoice now and forever in the divine, heavenly joy that we were created to experience in God.

Friends, let us hate sin with all we've got because we love God with all we've got and count Him as our supreme treasure, most satisfying pleasure, and best friend.

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