It is that time of year! Fall marks a brand new beginning for over 2 million college freshmen. They graduated high school just a few months ago and are now entering college. Increased levels of freedom and responsibility mark the change. I remember how massive the change was. For example: compared to the previous year, I had much more control over my schedule but also much more responsibility to manage it. I could chose when my classes would be, but no one woke me in the mornings if I shut off my alarm. I absolutely loved college. Made lifelong friends. Met my wife. Grew in the Lord. Had a ton of fun. It was a great time in my life.
Before I went off to school, godly people who cared about me, including my parents, offered me wisdom and counsel. I was a new Christian and I don’t remember everything, but I do remember these three messages that radically and positively impacted my college years.
1. Real happiness is in Christ.
Blaise Pascal famously penned, “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever means they employ, they all tend to this end.” Some college students will seek happiness in the learning and some in the accolades and affirmations that come from excelling in their studies. Some will seek happiness in new relationships and some in partying and pleasure. Some will try all those means. And while those things are blessings from the Lord, they cannot ultimately make us happy. God’s blessings don’t satisfy us; He does.
Jesus declared, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” (Matthew 4:6). College students: More than you hunger and thirst for the good things that college provides, hunger and thirst for Jesus and His righteousness. Those other things will be thrown in as blessings as well, but only He will fill you.
2. Choose your community wisely.
Our community forms me and sets the trajectory of our lives. The wisdom writer penned, “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). As you start college, you are at a relational crossroad with the opportunity to choose the friendships that will deeply shape you. Choose to walk with the wise. Walking with the wise is not walking with the perfect, as all fall short, but walking with those who fear the Lord.
3. The difference you can make now is profound.
God has historically used college students to spark revivals on college campuses, encourage churches, and reach people who have not yet received God’s forgiveness. What you can do right away is represent Christ on your college campus and give yourself to a local church. There are local churches in your college’s city or town that would rejoice and benefit from your presence and your serving. College students who invest in kids, students, and outreach opportunities at a local church make a profound impact with their passion and enthusiasm. Don’t graduate college in four years with four to seven different church experiences. Find one your first semester and throw yourself into the life of the church.
For those parents or students prayerfully considering a college that is faithfully and distinctly Christian, perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in Christian higher education is Boyce College. Boyce is the college at Southern Seminary, where I received my master’s and doctorate, located in Louisville, KY. Every major at Boyce features a biblical and theological core to ground future ministers and marketplace leaders in the truth that endures. Learn more at BoyceCollege.com.