The Crucial Years
Good ol’ college. Four (or five, or six, or an indefinite amount of) years to relax and revel in irresponsibility. Like a parenthesis to life’s journey, our culture has essentially conceded this phase and offered college students a free pass on the normal rules and expectations of life.
And, not surprisingly, college students are eager to take our culture up on the offer. Life’s big decisions and responsibilities can wait; now is the time to put everything on hold and live for the moment.
Well I hate to be the one to burst your college bubble, but nothing could be further from the truth. Paradoxically, what our culture thinks is a phase defined by negligence is in reality the most crucial and formative years you will ever live.
Generally speaking, what you are when you leave college is what you will be in life. Of course there are exceptions, but this pattern typically holds true. That’s not to say that you will have found your spouse, decided on a career, know where you will live, or anything like that (in fact, usually none of those things are settled). But college is often the time when you decide (fundamentally speaking) the man or woman you want to be, and the rest of life is a refinement of that conviction.
I suppose you could say that college is the time you stare down life’s most fundamental questions and decide where you stand. This is why campus ministry is so crucial. If you’re not a committed follower of Jesus by the time you graduate college, statistics say you will never choose to follow Jesus. God is bigger than statistics, of course, but I think these numbers speak to a Biblical principal college students in particular need to heed: the principal of Biblical urgency.
If I could choose one verse to give to college students, it would be Paul’s admonishment to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:2: "behold, now is the day of salvation." The call to follow Jesus is an urgent call. Why? Because God’s going to run out of grace? Of course not. Gods grace is boundless and eager to receive any and all who will repent. The danger is that the longer we refuse to repent, the more difficult repentance becomes.
Hardness of heart is a progressive condition that we dare not trifle with. Refusing the gospel is a cyclical choice; the resistance constantly reinforces itself and constantly grows in strength. Because of this, we need to be very careful with the “I’ll get to it someday” mentality that is so common to college students.
If you are unwilling to repent today, what makes you think that more years of hardening will prepare you to give yourself to Jesus down the road? It will never be easier to repent and give yourself to Jesus than it is right now in this very moment.
College is simultaneously very fun and very serious. You will never enjoy yourself more than in your college years, and you will never make more life-determining decisions than in your college years. Resist the lie that college is the time to put off all that is important, and redefine college as the time to decide where you stand on what is truly important. And nothing is more important than Jesus Christ.
Christ is calling. Will you answer? Chances are, college students, if you refuse Him now you will do so for the rest of your life.
Today is the day of salvation.