In Order To Live, You Have To Die

In Order To Live, You Have To Die

The importance of dying to self in order to gain life in Jesus.
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I was so excited for what God had for me at college. I knew that He was going to use me in extraordinary ways and that He would give me the ability to led others to Him. For about two weeks, I was waiting patiently for the opportunity. I was ready to meet my new best friends who would lead me in the right direction and hold me accountable. I was ready to start singing in a local church and form relationships there. I was waiting.

Pretty soon, I discovered another side of college. I found my new best friends but instead of going to church with them, I was going out to bars with them. I was so eager for the weekend to come so I could live my new life of freedom. I got further off the track that I had worked so hard to build in 3 months than I knew was even possible. The shame and regret that was built up inside of me was overtaking my life. I had the opportunity to represent Jesus and gave it up for things that were unbelievably lesser.

I felt like the God that I once knew so well wanted nothing to do with me – and I didn’t blame him. It felt like the movies where a girl ditches her true friends to be popular. I imagined God standing outside watching while I was at parties and enjoying my new lifestyle. But the thing about the movies is that the true friends never leave.

As much as I try to fight it, God has called me higher. He has placed a longing in my heart for something much more than what this earth can offer me. He was with me while I was forging my own path and He is with me while I try to find my way back. The devil tried to use things of the earth to make me forget why I am here but His spirit was stronger.

In order to live, you have to die. You have to lose your life – your interests, your desires, your comfort – in order to receive life from the Father.

Dying to self. Denying yourself momentary happiness to find everlasting joy in Jesus. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and him with me.” He wants us. He desires us. He is constantly reaching out to know us deeper.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” Isaiah 40:8. We have been placed on the earth for one life with one purpose. He will equip us to do what He has created us to do. Our bodies are grass and flowers that will diminish upon His return. The best thing we can do with our lives is give them completely to Jesus.

As important as it is to do well in school or to work hard to get the promotion, never forget why you’re here. Whether you accept the call on your life from the beginning, or you have to get so far off track that you need Him to lead you back to His path, I promise that He won’t give up. His love is fierce and uncontained.

So take a minute in the midst of the busy season and reflect on how much room God has to work in your life. I used to get so frustrated when I wouldn’t see Him working but in order for him to come in, I have to take my own selfishness out of the equation. The verse doesn’t say, “Behold, I break into your house and eat with you.” It says, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” Let Him in.

In order to live, you have to die.

Cover Image Credit: Whitney Weldon

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I Wish GCU Cared About Faith As Much As They Cared About Basketball

Students at GCU come and go and it would be a shame if all they got was the hype of a basketball game instead of the hype of the Trinity.

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You see advertisements for them everywhere: Snap Chat, Instagram, posters around campus, billboards even, all telling you to go buy your HAVOCS pass or to make sure you secure your ticket for every single basketball game or for those in the surrounding community to get their season tickets. With countless of t-shirt, GCU swag, Purple Pre-Game Parties, Grand Canyon University spends a lot of time, energy, and money making sure their arena is filled for every single basketball game, but not Chapel.

For a missionary school, GCU lacks in reaching out in ministry to their students. The only time a student hears about Chapel that is not a student leader is the first day of classes and at Chapel itself. For how mundane a basketball game is compared to eternal salvation, GCU is missing what is really important at a Christian University.

Why is there no advertising for Chapel, t-shirts giveaways, or any hype for the event that happens every single Monday? Is not praising the one who delivered us from eternal damnation, who gives us peace in the midst of the chaos, who gives us our identity, who created us, who gives us purpose, not worth the same amount, or even more hype than a basketball season that will always come and go? Is not sharing the good news of the Gospel more important than basketball?

If GCU wants to truly be private, Christian, and affordable, they need to step it up in their spiritual life and give equal attention, if not more, to the amount of attention they give to Basketball. GCU needs to approach Chapel attendance in the same urgency they approach basketball attendance. Make the Instagram stories, make the posters, make the facebook events, make the Snap Chat stories, make more of an effort.

Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with attending a basketball and there is nothing wrong with GCU creating a strong sports-fan community. There is something wrong when a sporting event is placed on a higher priority than a ministry opportunity to reach out to students who may not know the Gospel.

To be fair, this past semester, GCU has attempted to make Chapel more intriguing by having outstanding speakers come and talk to the students like Jodi and Friends, Scott MacIntyre, and so on. However, these guest speakers included more plugs for their mission organizations rather than plugs for how the miraculous power of Christ helped them in their journeys.

For a time that is supposed to be set aside to biblical teaching, plug-ins for organizations are not appropriate for the Chapel hour. Save it for another time GCU. Getting students in the door and teaching the true gospel message is more important than having extravagant guest speakers who are going to put more emphasis on their organization than sharing the good news of Christ in that allotted time.

Do not get me wrong, the organizations that have been mentioned at Chapel are fabulous organizations, that do wonderful work for the continuation of the kingdom. However, Chapel is for biblical teaching, not what organizations do.

GCU needs to rethink in what areas may be overlooking the One above and focusing more on worldly things. Basketball comes and goes, guest speakers and organizations comes and goes, but more importantly, students at GCU come and go and it would be a shame that all they got was the hype of a basketball game instead of the hype of the Trinity.


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Here's How To Deal With Comparison In College, And Why Your Struggles Are Important

With a little help and guidance from Esther 4:14, frantic phone calls with my mom, and a whole year and a half of college experience.

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When I first stepped foot on the University of Georgia's campus, I felt very small. (Ok, at first I was thinking "wow this place is amazing", but I digress). College is a humbling experience. You are thrown into the waves of independence, socializing, and growth all at once. While all these things are exciting, the process of adjusting to college life can be tough.

Of course, there are those that automatically thrive when they get to college. It's like the town instilled some sort of superpower into these people, and everything clicks for them without a hitch. For the rest of us, there are growing pains involved. This usually entails quite a bit of tears, phone calls to mom, and angry rants.

The "growth spurt" of becoming a college kid is tough. And in the midst of adjusting to college, it's easy to look around and compare oneself to those around them. Some people look like they have their lives together: they joined a bunch of clubs and are super involved, or maybe they made a whole new friend group and are posting a million pictures with them.

Nevertheless, comparison runs rampant in the early months of college. It's easy to get caught up in it, and to then believe your self-worth is less than those who are "thriving". It sounds silly, but the trend is a common struggle.

I fell into this comparison trap. I thought that I was falling behind because everyone around me had made so many new friends, were getting involved in lots of clubs, and balancing school on top of everything. I was deceived because after talking to these same people a year later, none of us had it all together.

The truth is that adjustment is not a quick process and that you will get to where you need to be in due time. There is a reason you are standing where you are, it is by no accident that you ended up in the specific place you are in.

Looking back, I see God's hand through it all. In the moments where I dreaded getting out of bed, hated college, and was just so confused as to why I wasn't having a great time, God was simply molding my character. I am protective over the person I am today because it took a lot to get me here. And I wouldn't have traded any of my struggles for a simpler entrance to college life, because I love the person I am today.

The person I am today is much stronger. She's brave, confident, and ambitious. And I am proud of this. I am proud of my growth, and this past season of life has taught me that growth is not easy or glamorous or simple. Growth is complicated and painful.

Hindsight is 20/20, and that is why now, my struggles make sense. At the moment, nothing made sense, but looking back, everything does.

Our life experiences mold us. We are taken through our own individual struggles, and these create the person we need to be to carry out our life's purpose. My struggles are behind my personality, my major choice, my values, and my life.

My favorite bible verse is Esther 4:14, which says, "Perhaps you were born for such a time as this." The verse is from when Esther was chosen by a king to be his bride but was soon faced with the difficulty of standing up to him to save her people. Esther was Jewish and King Xerses I had given the order of the annihilation of the Jews. At this point in time, it took a lot of courage for a girl of Esther's age and background to stand up to a king. But she did and saved her people.

This became my favorite verse in high school, just because I thought it made life make sense. In college, I gained a whole new appreciation for it. Esther 4:14 gave me hope. It told me that I was here for a reason, this season of life had a purpose, and that in due time, my life's purpose would be revealed to me.

It's easy to compare and believe our lives to be worth less than those around us. But it's simply not true. Each of us are here for our special moment, purpose, and calling.

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