1. Spiritual Foundations: A Close Personal Walk with Jesus
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For students to keep their faith during college, they need to have a personal faith in the first place. They need their own relationship with Jesus, their own desire to know God, and their own biblical worldview. That means youth need the discipline to approach all of life from a biblical perspective, basing their everyday thinking and decisions on God’s Word. This kind of Christ-centered lifestyle isn’t a Sunday ritual but an active, vibrant walk with God that impacts every part of life.
How can churches and families help inspire youth to pursue this kind of deep, holistic relationship with God? Looking back, I can see a couple of elements that played significant roles in my own spiritual foundation-building.
First, while walking with God is a personal choice that parents cannot make for their kids, I appreciated how my parents modeled their own walks with God in a way that created a family culture of discipleship. When we’d start each weekday with worship and Scripture, end each day with devotionals, or serve others as a family, I knew my parents weren’t going through hollow motions but pursuing life as it’s meant to be lived: a life of love for God and others. Second, my family encouraged my faith by reading missionary biographies. As I began consuming these stories on my own as a teenager, I wanted to know God like those believers did. Tales of ordinary people who walked with an extraordinary God inspired me to take my own devotional and prayer life more seriously, driving my faith to the next level.
Once students are inspired to build spiritual foundations, how can they continue strengthening those foundations throughout university? As with strengthening any relationship, the answer lies in consistent communication. Reading Scripture lets us receive communication from God, while worship and prayer let us communicate to God. Here are a few tips for students seeking to bolster these disciplines:
Prayer: Because we belong to a God who cares about us completely—right down to the details of everyday student life, we can constantly turn our worries, thoughts, and feelings to him in prayer. Along with this ongoing attitude of prayer, remember to set aside some daily time specifically to pray. You’ll likely find that by doing so, you wind up with more time for other pursuits as God gives you wisdom to navigate the day. (See also: 10 Ways to Amp Up Your Prayer Life.)
Worship: As Christ-followers, we can approach every task as worship by completing it out of love for God (Colossians 3:23). With this mindset, school becomes a form of worship too. Other ways to embrace a worshipful lifestyle include kicking off the day with praise, keeping worship songs playing in your mind throughout the day, and taking study breaks to sing or play an instrument.
Scripture: By filling ourselves with God’s word, we become equipped to recognize lies, resist temptations, and live as lights for Christ—all vital practices for surviving and thriving in college! In addition to taking daily time to study God’s word, you can soak up Scripture by listening to audio Bibles or Bible-reading podcasts while you cook, clean, commute, or exercise. You can also post verses where you’ll see them for encouragement throughout the day.
Photo credit: © Unsplash/Nathan Dumlao