Christian college students have a unique opportunity to live for Jesus at that stage in life at a more intentional and intense pace than previously able. Many fail to thrive during those years, even though the potential is unlike any other time.
The next time you have a bottled soft drink, I encourage you to try a scientific experiment that shows the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy. Take a bottle full of a carbonated beverage, and shake it up for a very long time (put it in the washer, drag it behind your car, throw it down the stairs, etc.). Looking closely, you will see potential energy displayed within that rumbling bottle. The fizz that is displayed through that clear container is telling you one thing: open the lid on this bottle and get sprayed in the face. If that lid is never removed, the drink will always remain as potential energy.
If you dare to remove the lid, you will experience the power of kinetic energy all over your face and all over your dorm room. The potential energy has turned into kinetic energy, and the results are obvious.
The same is true for you. Most collegiate Christians are like a bottle full of potential energy. God has given them so many passions, abilities, and opportunities to do so much for the Kingdom when they are in college. The problem is that they never tap into it. God has stirred them up on the inside to do great and mighty things, but they never allow that to happen. They stay bottled up and struggle with the tension of living for Christ on a godless campus all their years in college.
I have a buddy who is the poster child for that type of living. Josh truly loves Jesus. He got saved in high school and really saw God do some amazing things in his life. Even though he messed up a bunch after becoming a Christian and struggled with certain areas of obedience, he was growing. When he got to college, he was at the best place of his life to grow. He had the foundation, the skills, and the people around him to help, but he got sidetracked.
He actually got sidetracked quite often. His rededication cycle was more frequent than his changing of majors (and that is saying a lot). He sought happiness in girls, sports, fraternity parties, and everything else college had to offer. About every six months, his pursuits would lead him to another dead end; he would feel convicted, seek counsel, rededicate his life to Christ, progress for a few weeks, and then he would start the cycle again with some moral lapse on his part.
His story is a lot like the story of Solomon. He enjoyed every type of pleasure the world offered and discovered that it led nowhere (Ecc. 3:9-11). At the end of his experiment in attempting to find satisfaction, Solomon eventually stated that the whole duty of man should be summed up by fearing God and keeping his commandments (Ecc. 12:13).
I tried to tell Josh that fact over and over. If he could only grasp that making Christ his one thing in life is not limiting him. It is not taking away his fun. If anything, making Jesus your one thing in college is the only way to experience the abundant life God promised (John 10:10). He has such potential energy, but he has never truly learned how to harness all that God wants to do and watch God at work within him.