ARStanding Your Ground"Caroline realizes that she's overslept again, and she's going to be late to her biology class for at least the fifth time." The chronicle of a Christian's typical day on campus illustrates the challenges of college life. Read how you can learn to meet them.One can face many crucial decisions and questions as a college student. Finally, independence and responsibility comes into play sooner than expected, and three important steps are needed to be taken into action: 1) Read the Bible and other Christian literature on a daily basis. 2) Develop a healthy Christian lifestyle. 3) Publicly acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. By carrying out these very important actions, the temptations that come our way every day will become less appealing to us.
When you browse through a university's welcoming brochure, or check out
the websites for various institutes of higher learning, what do you
typically see? Smiling, wholesome students and friendly, caring
University catalogs and brochures can be incredibly deceiving, much like
those travel brochures that promise you a charming bed-and-breakfast inn by the
beach, when they're really providing a hideous shack by a murky swamp.
Like the deceiving travel brochures, what the university catalogs don't
show you are the all-night cramming frenzies, the disorganized and
disenchanted professors, and especially the constant spiritual challenges
that await a Christian student at every corner of the campus.
While it's true that college life can be, and most often is, a terrific growth experience for many young adults, it is also quite often a
devastating turning point for many vulnerable young Christians. Let's meet
Caroline and take a look into a day in the life of a young Christian away
at college. Let's examine some of the spiritual issues she faces daily,
and let's consider some of the options she has when it comes to standing
her ground and keeping her Christian beliefs and standards throughout her
years of college.
A Day on Campus
A Chronicle of a Typical Christian's Day in the World of Academia
8:00 a.m. (Friday Morning Wake-up)
Caroline realizes that she's
overslept again, and she's going to be late to her biology class for at
least the fifth time. She reminds herself that she's got to stop staying
up so late hanging out with her roommates and get to bed at a decent hour.
8:30 a.m. (Biology Class) Caroline shamefully slips into the only
remaining chair, which is at the front of the class, and Dr. Payton makes
sure that she's aware of his annoyance at her tardiness. She's arrived
just in time to hear her professor's lecture on the Theory of Evolution.
Apparently, there's going to be an exam on the subject, so she really
needs to pay close attention to the lecture.
10:00 a.m. (English Class) This is an easy and enjoyable class for
Caroline, because the instructor, Dr. Schmidt, is such a talented teacher,
and he genuinely seems to care about his students. Today, while the class
is enjoying a break and Dr. Schmidt is socializing with the students, he
begins to talk a little about his partner. It's at this point that
Caroline realizes that this teacher, whom she really respects, is, in fact, living a homosexual lifestyle. She knows
what the Bible says about this issue, but everyone seems to be so
accepting of it, and this instructor is such a great person. She just
doesn't know what to think.
12:00 p.m. (Lunch) It's been a fun year, and Caroline's enjoyed meeting
a great group of friends. Although they don't have the same religious
beliefs as Caroline, they get along wonderfully and spend a lot of time
together. Today at lunch, her friend Rebecca jokingly tells the others
about her romantic experiences with a guy she's been pretty intimate with
lately. The conversation lasts a while, as the others chime in with their
own humorous experiences in dating and intimate relationships. Caroline,
meanwhile, smiles and laughs with them, even though she realizes deep
inside that these sexual relationships they're all joking about are sinful
in God's eyes. Not wanting to correct, separate herself from, or sound
like she's preaching to the others, she keeps her silence and acts as if
she doesn't mind the topic at all. Later on during lunch, Caroline's
friends invite her to go on a canoeing trip on Saturday morning. Instead
of telling them about her Sabbath commitment, she tells them that she's
got some work to do this weekend, and she's sorry that she can't go with
1:30 p.m. (Calculus Class) Since calculus isn't Caroline's favorite
subject, she's been unable to finish the take-home exam that the professor
gave her to work on. It's due today, and Caroline feels that since she
really needs a couple of extra days, she'd better go ahead and skip this
class. She decides to leave a message on Dr. King's answering machine to
let him know that she's come down with a really terrible flu and that she
won't be able to drop the exam off at his office until Monday morning.
3:30 p.m. (Philosophy Class) Required readings lead Caroline to wonder
if Absolute Truth is even a possibility.
What we've just read is not far from reality. Although it may seem that
Caroline is facing an awful lot of temptations and confusions in one day,
she is really dealing with things that we all deal with on a daily basis,
especially in the campus setting. Along with the newfound independence
that many college students are granted comes much freedom. But, as we all
know, freedom opens up many doors to temptations that may be very
difficult to resist.
Quite often there are temptations to become lazy or irresponsible, to lie
or deceive others in order to protect ourselves, to hide our values and
beliefs in God from others, or even to question the validity of our
beliefs in God and His church. Eventually, these temptations are so
intertwined in our daily lives that they become almost invisible and
unnoticeable to us. What's frightening is that we may unknowingly fall to
these temptations in the most subtle, subliminal ways, placing our
salvation in jeopardy.
As we look into Caroline's day at school, we see someone who is
experiencing various tests of her faith. How Caroline sees these
challenges and how she ultimately decides to handle or confront them will
determine the quality and status of her faith at the end of her four years
of college life.
Take Action to Protect Your Faith
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and
are punished. (Prov 22:3)
Looking into Caroline's day at school and even into our own days at
college or in the working world shows that we need to take action in order
to stand our ground as Christians bound for eternal life. If we don't take
action, we will find ourselves falling farther and farther away from our
faith and our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are three actions that we, as Christians, need to take:
- Read the Bible and other Christian literature on a daily basis
- Develop a healthy Christian lifestyle
- Publicly acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ
By carrying out these very important actions, the temptations that come
our way each and every day will become less appealing to us. These
temptations to doubt our faith, to lie or deceive others, or to hide our
beliefs and our convictions in Christ will no longer cause us to stumble
along this bumpy path in life. Instead, we will be able to face and
overcome these temptations, while standing our ground as Christians
capable of bringing souls to Christ and worthy of the calling we have
Immerse Yourself in Christian Literature and the Bible
Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them. The entrance
of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. (Ps
Looking back at Caroline's day, we see how easy it can be for a person to
slip into a life where the main focus becomes mere survival in the
academic and social world. Instead of keeping their salvation and
Christian duty at the core of their lives, what happens is that college
students may begin to see their studies and campus life as the central
part of their existence. How can we keep this from happening to us? Well,
one action we can take is to make Bible reading, along with the reading of
many other kinds of Christian resources, a daily part of our lives.
Without the teachings of the Bible, how will we be able to know where we
stand as Christians? Where else will we find a mirror as clear and
powerful as the Bible to help us view ourselves truthfully, to tell us
whether we are indeed reflecting God's light or, in fact, the darkness of
the earth? We need to remember to fill ourselves up with God's words,
because they will constantly help us to decipher right from wrong and to
deal with the many temptations to our faith that we encounter.
As we saw in the chronicle of Caroline's day, she's dealing with some
classes that lead her to question her own faith, causing her to start
doubting the truth she has been taught all her life. The same thing can
happen to any of us if we aren't careful. When we read the Bible on a
daily basis, the Holy Spirit will work to reveal God's truth to us,
equipping us to handle the various questions we may be asked by others who
want to know about our beliefs. Without a developed knowledge of the Bible
and God's truth, how will we be able to stand our ground as Christians?
Also, it is vital that we continue to read the various Christian
publications that are made available to us. The written testimonies and
encouragements of our brothers and sisters in Christ are absolutely
precious, as they provide us with so many spiritual insights and work to
strengthen our faith in the power and love of God. Without the knowledge
of these testimonies and experiences in our Lord Jesus Christ and the true
gospel, we are left spiritually vulnerable and sometimes unable to handle
the questions, criticisms, and doubts that other people direct at our
beliefs. But through these amazing and moving testimonies of visions,
healings, rescues, and personal transformations, we find our faith
preserved, and we become equipped to handle almost anything that comes our
way, especially when dealing with philosophical arguments or even
arguments of science. These testimonies help to give us a cushion of faith
to fall back on when questions can't be answered with mere science,
philosophy, or earthly reasoning.
Develop a Healthy Christian Lifestyle
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a
shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Sam 22:31)
Who am I? What does God want me to do with my life? And, what will be my
legacy when I leave this earth? All Christians must ask themselves these
questions, and they should try to figure out the answers before they even
set foot onto a college campus. Who are you? You are God's precious
creation. You are the very soul that our Lord Jesus Christ died on the
cross to save. What does God want you to do with your life? In John
15:9-11, Jesus tells us,
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If
you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept
My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken
to you, that your joy may be full.
And He also tells us in Matthew 5:14-16, "You are the light of the
world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a
lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to
all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
These verses tell us that a Christian's duty in life is to strive to abide
in God's love by keeping His commands and to strive to shine God's light
to others, that He may be glorified and that others may be guided to our
Father in heaven. If we follow these commands, we will have very touching
and beautiful legacies—legacies of saved souls, forgiven sinners, and
joyful lives. This is what we will leave behind on this earth when we pass
on to the eternal life ahead.
To lead this kind of life, though, takes careful thought and dedication.
We have to constantly consider our actions and our words, our hearts and
our motives, and we must evaluate our surroundings. In order to keep
yourself in Christ, you will have to decide for yourself, on a constant
basis, whether your actions are Christ—like or if, in fact, they are
worldly and leading you away from God.
Are you living a life in Christ, or are you beginning to engage in sinful
actions that have the tendency to lead souls to drunkenness, sexual
immorality, laziness, rude language, and lies? Is your heart filled with
the love, happiness, contentment, and peace that Christians are easily
recognized by, or is it filled with anger, jealousy, malice, bitterness,
resentment, depression, fear, and worry? And what type of environment are
you surrounding yourself with? Is it an environment of purity, peace,
goodness, and Christian friendships, or is it an environment of
godlessness, shifting values and morals, disorder, strife, and worldly
friendships? These are the things you have to constantly monitor and
evaluate in order to live your life as a Christian, saved and bound for
your eternal home.
Looking back at Caroline's situation, we can see that she's beginning to
lose her ground as a Christian. Her daily life is becoming overwhelmed by
her carefree surroundings. She's living an undisciplined life—which is
pretty evident by the fact that she's been oversleeping in the mornings
because of her late nights out with her friends. And the fact that she
wasn't able to finish her exam shows that she's not prioritizing the
various aspects of her life correctly.
This reckless attitude may be a result of the fact that Caroline has
surrounded herself with too many non-Christian friends and has spent too
little time alone in spiritual evaluation and reflection. This chaos
happens to all of us at various times in our lives, and it's something we
must learn to overcome and prevent. It's not okay to lie to our professors
to cover up for our irresponsible actions, and it's not okay to become
reckless individuals, staying out late and forgetting the behavioral and
spiritual standards we have as Christians. When we see such things
beginning to happen to us, we must resolve to make major changes in our
It may seem difficult, but we must make the determination to work on
establishing for ourselves a healthy Christian lifestyle. But how do we
create this kind of life for ourselves, especially when we are so busy
with school, work, church, family, and friends? How do we find the time?
Would you believe me if I told you that there is one very selfish act you
are allowed and encouraged to make a regular part of your life, and that
this act has God's stamp of approval? You'd probably wonder, "When
was God ever selfish?" Well, whenever our Lord Jesus Christ went off
to be alone to pray, He did it to build up His own strength—He did it for
His own good, ultimately benefiting all of mankind. He knew the importance
of separating from this world, and He knew that this was the only way He
could keep His life's mission straight.
Do this one thing for yourself: set aside time for yourself on a daily
basis. Clear away all of the noise and clamor around you, and just spend
time with yourself and God. Isaiah 30:15 tells us, "In returning and
rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your
strength." Use this time to pray, to meditate, to read Christian
literature, to explore all kinds of edifying classical or contemporary
Christian hymns, or to write in your journal. It's amazing how powerful
these activities are when it comes to keeping your faith and actions in
check. Remember to do this one selfish thing for yourself, and set aside
time for your own spiritual evaluation and growth.
Publicly Acknowledge Your Lord Jesus Christ
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess
before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:32)
After reading the account of Caroline's day, do you get the feeling that
Caroline's friends don't even know that she's a Christian? If they did,
would they talk so casually about their intimate relationships around her?
Would they even bother to invite her on their canoeing trip, knowing that
she keeps the Sabbath? Probably not. The fact is that Caroline is most
likely a quiet Christian and keeps her faith to herself. This practice can
lead to several problems.
First, by not letting her friends know about her beliefs and convictions,
Caroline is keeping the door of temptation open for herself. Not knowing
that she is a Christian who keeps the Sabbath, Caroline's friends will
continue to invite her on weekend outings that involve neglecting the
Sabbath. And their invitations will remain a great source of temptation
for her. It's extremely possible that Caroline will succumb to their
constant requests and slowly begin to break her Sabbath commitment. Also,
because her friends don't know about her religious beliefs, they will
continue to discuss their intimate relationships with her, which may
slowly and unnoticeably entice Caroline into following in their sexually
Second, by not letting her friends know about her beliefs and convictions
concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, Caroline is missing out on great
opportunities to lead souls to Christ. She is letting these good friends
of hers miss out on God's salvation and blessings, simply because of her
need to fit in. In fact, she is neglecting her duty as a Christian, which
is to shine God's light to others.
The last problem concerns what Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:32:
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess
before My Father who is in heaven." How sad it would be for Caroline
to be turned away from the eternal rest that our Heavenly Father has
promised us, because she chose to keep quiet about His incredible
sacrifice for mankind. When I was younger, I never really understood how a
person could simply deny Jesus before men. But now I think I can
understand how easy it is to deny our Lord Jesus Christ without even
realizing that we're doing such an awful thing.
When you are among a group of friends at lunch, do you quickly gather your
hands, nod your head, and blink your eyes, considering this brief action a
thanksgiving prayer for the food you're about to receive? Or do you
solemnly fold your hands, bow your head, close your eyes, and meaningfully
offer a prayer of thanksgiving to our Lord? What about situations when
your friends are discussing their religious beliefs or arguments? Do you
offer your personal testimonies and your beliefs, or do you quietly keep
your faith to yourself, hoping to avoid their criticism and ridicule?
Believe it or not, this is a denial of our faith and our Lord Jesus
Christ, and for many of us it happens all the time. The apostle Paul
encourages us in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through
the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but
of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of
the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in
the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved
us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ
Jesus before time began.
Realizing God's calling, let's make the determination to publicly
acknowledge the love, power, faithfulness, and truth of our Lord Jesus
Christ to the many people who surround us on a daily basis.
Standing Fast in the Faith
The apostle Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13:
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No
temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be
able to bear it.
And in 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul urges us, "Watch, stand fast in the
faith, be brave, be strong."
In our daily lives on campus, we must always remember to carry out the
three critical actions of reading the Bible and other Christian resources
daily, working to build healthy Christian lifestyles for ourselves, and
making the determination to publicly confess our beliefs and our Lord
Jesus Christ to others. By doing so, we will steadily build a powerful and
enormous fortress that will work to guard our spirits and help us stand
our ground as Christians bound for our eternal home with our Heavenly
As you walk the campus of your university and gather with your college
friends and study groups, may you always remember to stand your ground as
a Christian, and may you shine your light to others, that they will see
Christ through you.
"On Campus" seeks to support and inspire an active faith among our youth through candid discussion and exploration of the many challenges facing Christians on campus. Please send comments on this article or questions about student life to