The single most life-altering change I made in college was when I finally decided to read the Bible. I became dissatisfied with riding the coattails of others’ biblical knowledge, and I have yet to recover from the transformation that occurred.
I entered college with a dusty Bible. Raised in church, I was very familiar with biblical concepts. I could retain important info concerning vital biblical narratives. I knew just enough to make me dangerously complacent.
When I felt conviction about understanding God’s Word, I often had people make me feel guilty about not spending time with God. A minister would pitch the idea that God is waiting in heaven for his kids to spend time with him, and we didn’t need to leave him hanging. This pitiful concept of a lonely God did not motivate me. It brought me guilt, but it never motivated me to change.
I changed the day my theology got straight. One day, I realized that when I neglected time in God’s Word, God wasn’t the one missing out. I was the one missing out. My complacent attitude towards the intake of God’s Word led me to my mediocre life. The fact that I wasn’t reading the Bible did not make God lonely or unable to run the universe, but I was sincerely missing out on getting closer to him. Make no mistake: if you are ignoring God’s Word, he is not the one missing out. You are passing by the richest of blessings this life has to offer.
In middle school, I played on the offensive line for our school’s football team. I lined up next to a guy who always forgot the play that had been called when we made it to the line of scrimmage. His ADD kept him daydreaming in the huddle, and he would have to ask me on the line what he was supposed to do.
When you are lined up against defenders, it’s hard to guard secrecy from the other team when you have to point in a direction for your teammate to block. Unfortunately, I had no choice. If he didn’t get the play right, somebody got hurt. His lack of focus on the play led to someone on our team taking a hit.
My lack of biblical intake was causing a severe setback. I was not the only one suffering when I missed out on getting the play called daily from God’s Word. As I neglected God’s Word, those around me were suffering. Without God’s Word resonating within my spirit, I was not changing for the better. I was lacking a genuine message telling me how I needed to change.
Then, one day, I finally got sick of it. I got tired of being ungodly. I was worried that conviction was rarely present in my life. I was sick and tired of playing the Bible guessing game as I tried to hone in on a scriptural passage that I should have known the location of by that time in my Christian journey. I knew little of the Bible, and therefore, the Bible had little impact on me. One day in college, enough was enough.
I started reading. I underlined phrases that impacted me. I sought out answers to the questions confronting me during devotional times. Concerning those verses that purely devastated me, I put them on a list of verses I intended to memorize. The more I read, the more I wanted to know. The more I learned about the Bible, the more I loved Jesus. The more I studied his words, the more sure I became about those questions comprising a worldview. The Bible benefited me immensely because I began to treasure it completely.
I read the Bible cover to cover for the first time in my life when I was in college. Through its teachings, I became confident concerning the origin of the world. God created it out of nothing (Gen. 1:1). Everything was made by him and for him (Col. 1:16). My identity was wrapped up in him. While I was made in his image, I rebelled against his standard, and therefore, sin has corrupted me and the entire world (Rom. 6:23). Through Christ, my identity changed into a child of God (Eph. 2:8-10).
I discovered that my purpose is simply to give Jesus glory in every possible way (Acts 20:24). The call to morality was displayed in Jesus’ teachings to love God and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39). If I could follow those two commands, every moral decision would be solved (Rom. 13:9). And through the pages of Scripture, I read of my blessed destiny (Rev. 21:3-4), which was decided once Jesus changed me and gave me a new life (2 Cor. 5:17). My eternity is as secure as the hands that hold it (John 10:28).
As I read its pages, it not only transformed my mind and provided me with a biblical worldview but also transformed my life. The amazing thing about Scripture is its ability to transform rather than merely inform (Heb. 4:12). As I continued to delve into the pages of Scripture, I realized I was becoming like Christ. I loved the things he loved. I hated the things he stated were out of bounds. I wasn’t perfect and didn’t turn into some super-spiritual figure, but Jesus was systematically chipping away at the ugly things in my life through the power of his Word.
I have witnessed too many students begin college following Christ but leave far from Him. In my years of ministry, one particular element makes the difference between those who make it and those who don’t.
Students desiring to follow Jesus in college must decide how they will define truth. If you don’t know what you believe or why you believe it, forces can successfully alter your worldview based on cultural opinions.