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Making College Count

My high school American History teacher, Mr. Sharp, was a laid back, long-haired hippy type who had a comical fascination for pot, out-of-control drug users and bizarre women.  Sitting through his classes were like being on the set of the popular sitcom “That ‘70’s Show.” Honestly, the only thing remotely historical that I can remember from his class was a story about two teenage boys who got toked out of their minds and beat their mom to death with ping pong paddles.  It was a lot to take in for an adrenaline pumped, hormone raging 15 year-old who was about to get a driver’s license.  In fact, his off-the-wall stories were probably one of the reasons why I smoked marijuana for a time as a high school sophomore (likely in the same semester I had his class).

Yet in the midst of all the peculiar stories and odd fascinations, there was a statement that Mr. Sharp made nearly every day that is one of only two big lessons I took away from high school.  It seemed like every class period Mr. Sharp would pause, smile, emphasize his point with hand gestures and say, “knowledge is power.”  Mr. Sharp’s point was the more you know about a subject matter, the more ability and confidence you have to influence your life or someone else’s for better or for worse.

Where Knowledge Matters Most

The same is true in the Christian faith.  The more you know Jesus, the more confidence you have in his ability to influence your life and the lives of others.  The less you know Jesus, the more likely you are to defer to a life of mediocrity, quaint moralism and people pleasing at best or blatant rejection of God and his ways at worst.

What we do, learn and believe in college will likely determine who we become for the rest of our lives.  There is arguably no better opportunity to learn, wrestle with and be changed by the truth of Christ than in college because college is the time when past experiences are challenged, new ideas are introduced and truth is questioned, and contaminated, more than any other time in a young person’s life.

For that reason, it is vital that we come to grips with Jesus Christ and who he is while we’re in college.  The longer we wait, the less likely we are to develop the convictions necessary to become the men and women God intends for us to be.

4 Ways to Make College Count

1. Know, believe, live and share the gospel. God has most clearly revealed himself to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ, which is the heart of the gospel, or “good news.”  Through the gospel, we see God in the person of Jesus as he reveals himself in Jesus’ life, miracles, and teachings.  Through the gospel we see God in the work of Jesus in which Jesus substituted himself on the cross for our sin and rose from the dead to defeat Satan, sin, hell and death so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God by faith in the work that Jesus has done on our behalf.  If you want to make college count you need to begin by understanding that the knowledge of God is received by faith in the work Jesus has done, not achieved by the work that we do.  You must then learn to communicate this truth in your actions and words.

2. Read. God has given us the wonderful gift of his inspired Word, the Bible.  The Bible is our most valuable resource for knowing Jesus because it communicates to us who God is, what he has done, and what he is going to do. In the Bible God reveals himself through images of what he is like, names by which he is known, works of which he has done and attributes that he possesses.  The Bible also records for us the truth of Jesus Christ, in whom is the only power to grow in the knowledge of God. (John 14:6)

You can also grow in your knowledge of God by reading great books.  Find books written by biblically affirmed authors that highlight particular aspects of God that you’re interested in studying.  You can find books on just about any Christian subject you’re interested in and many of them can be extremely helpful.

3. Find a Mentor. One of the best ways to grow in your knowledge of Jesus Christ is to find a mentor, someone who has been a Christian longer than you.  Identify someone you respect who communicates the truth of God in a way you understand and ask them to teach you what they know.  You’ll learn a lot from their experiences and what they have to teach you will likely help you in knowing Jesus and understanding the Bible. You’ll also then be able to continue making a difference by becoming a mentor to someone else in the future.

4.  Attend a good Church. Find a good Bible-teaching church that will communicate the truth of Jesus Christ in a way that is practical and helpful to you.  Learn from the sermons on Sundays, join a small group and get connected with God’s people.  It’s much easier to grow in Christ when you have other people helping you along the way.

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  1. Jim Davis
    March 14, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    Thank you for giving to the Lord and serving in Maryville…good post!

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