Finding My Way Through New Beginnings Day 2: College Years
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, ESV)
When you are a teenager, something you look forward to the most is having freedom. You get your license and can suddenly drive yourself places. You get a job and make your own money. You start college and experience freedom on a whole new level. Now that I’m almost 40, I realize how good I had it when I was eight years old, not 19. Eight-year-old me didn’t have a care in the world. Life was good and my only worries were what games to play with my friends after school. Nineteen-year-old me had to worry about juggling work, difficult classes, crazy schedules, and complicated relationships. Freedom is wonderful, but it also comes with many responsibilities and many temptations.
Have you ever had poison ivy? Or a bad bug bite? When I was 14, I had both on my cheek—at the same time. Talk about unbearable itching! You know you’re not supposed to scratch at it because it only makes the problem worse, but we just can’t seem to help ourselves. It feels so good to relieve that itch, if only for a moment. Temptations to sin are very much like a persistent itch that plagues us. They are constantly presented to us, making them hard to ignore. Temptations will come, but it is important to remember that they do not come from God. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). God would never tempt us to sin—remember that He sent Jesus to die for our sin! The temptation itself is not sin, but giving in to the temptation is what leads us to sin. For a young Christian in college temptations are everywhere, and your newfound freedom presents ample opportunities to give in to them. Just like poison ivy, giving in to temptations will cause the poison of sin to spread. You don’t need to dive into an entire patch of poison ivy to get a rash. Just simply getting close enough to it, without even being fully immersed, will still cause damage. The same goes with temptations to sin. Even giving in just a little can cause irreversible damage.
In order to heal the poison ivy/mosquito bite fiasco that was happening on my face, I had to get help from the doctor. He gave me a prescription that would heal my face and take away the itch. We also have a prescription for temptation: the Bible. God’s Word is healing, and He longs to help us resist temptation and keep our focus on Him. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
In order to avoid more contact with poison ivy, you get rid of the entire plant or stay away from the area where it is located. If there is something in your life that encourages you to fall into temptation, you need to get rid of it or avoid it completely. Focus on the things that encourage you in your walk with God. Find groups of friends who motivate and inspire you. Be diligent in spending time reading God’s Word. Discover ways in which you can serve others. This is where you will find true happiness and contentment. College will provide you with opportunities to grow in your faith in God by allowing you to stand up for what you believe in and to dive deeper into God’s truths. Embrace these opportunities wholeheartedly, as they will help you to “walk humbly with your God.”