I have heard it said that making the decision to follow Jesus is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make, but by far the best one you will ever make. I find this statement to be true in many ways, and it totally applies to being a Christian college student.
I consider myself a pretty serious Christian, and my relationship with God is very important to me. My faith has grown enormously since being here because there are people with such strong faith surrounding me, and there are so many more opportunities to worship and learn about God than I ever had in high school. There are still, however, plenty of people who do not have the same values I do, which is to be expected no matter what school you go to. There are still challenges that I face with my faith. What I have come to know is that being a Christian in college is not always easy, but always worth it.
As for the difficulties of being Christian in college, making decisions that glorify God is definitely one of them. When someone invites you to a party, what are you supposed to say as a Christian? There is definitely going to be alcohol there, and a whole lot of not-so-Christ-like behavior going on. I ask myself whether it would be fine for me to go, as long as I did not do “that” kind of stuff. I tell myself I could just talk with people and make new friends! But then, what happens when someone asks you if you want a few drinks? You could say no, but still, just being in an environment where everyone is drinking is probably going to have an impact on you.
Someone once told me that God wants us to have fun and that drinking is not a big deal to Him. As a Christian college student in those types of situations, it is so easy to start questioning yourself and what you believe in. Also, there's always the worry of feeling like if you don't go to something you're invited to that you are going to feel left out, and miss out on something super awesome. Making excuses to go is really easy to do too.
My friends are Christian too, and they're doing it, so is it really that big of a deal? And I'm in college, it is totally normal to party and drink a little, right? God, however, does not care what everyone else is doing. He calls His children to be set apart. Making the decisions that you know God would want you to make is not always the easiest, and it definitely takes some sacrifice. The sacrifices God asks us to make are nothing though compared to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.
Parties and drinking are not the only challenges I have faced so far as a Christian in college. College is a time filled with emotional struggles, and that is something that I figured out pretty quickly. Whether it be drama with friends, feeling left out, missing home, being stressed about grades, or something completely different, there always seems to be something problematic going on. In the midst of those struggles, sometimes it is hard to feel God's presence.
It is easy to just turn from God, and wonder why He would allow those struggles to persist. A lot of time when I pray to God about whatever I'm going through and I still feel the same unhappiness I felt before praying, I start to wonder what the point was. It is a constant battle for me, and sometimes I even get mad at God. But the truth is, praying is always worth it, and doing what you know in your heart God wants you to do is worth it too. And God is always good, whether it feels like it or not.
While following Jesus is not always a simple, and it isn't always smiles and rainbows, following Him is infinitely better than life apart from Him. What I am realizing is that when we as Christians do what we know is right, we will never regret it. God will convict you if you allow Him to, and He will give you guidance on what He knows is best for you. If God doesn't want you to go to that "awesome" party, He is only looking out for you.
God would never tell us not to do something because he wanted us to miss out or not have fun. He is preventing us from getting even more hurt emotionally, and from possibly drifting away from Him. Life with Jesus is amazing because He really is always there, whether we realize it or not, and He is always looking out for us. Through every mistake and regret, as well as every moment of joy and laughter, God is there. He will not leave or ever love His children any less. I am learning to find joy in Him in the darkest of times and to turn to Him in times when I am tempted to do something I know He wouldn't want me to do.
Being a Christian, at any age, brings is a life that is full of so much meaning, love, and hope. At the end of the day, I know that I would not trade my relationship with Jesus for anything this world has to offer. I cannot thank Him enough for how far He has taken me, and all that He has done for me. Nothing will ever come close to being better than Him.