Freshman 15

*Posted on The Gospel Coalition on August 22. This post was written by a former Cru staff member and now pastor in Illinois. Jeff Brewer shares 15 ways incoming freshmen (or upperclassmen for that matter) can seek to glorify God as they head off to college this month. We appreciate his wisdom. We pray that the college students stepping on campus this fall work to model these things in their lives. Join us in this prayer. 

1. There is no greater way you can spend your time, energy, and effort than pursuing Christ with all your heart. Education matters. That’s why you’re going to college. But pursuing Christ matters more. Remember, you can make only one thing your central aim in life. Make it the right thing. Ask God for much grace to keep him at the center.

2. Join a church. Find one that preaches the Word, loves worshiping God as a body, and seeks to make Christ known. Once you find it, join it and start building relationships.

3. Make a plan for your first semester about how you are going to be in the Word. If you use a Bible reading plan, put it in your schedule now. If you don’t currently have a plan for reading the Word, make one before you leave.

4. As now so then. Don’t spend your college career talking about how you will follow Christ in the future. Follow him now the way you want to follow him then.

5. Take advantage of the unique opportunity to get to know a wide variety of people from different backgrounds who have all been sovereignly put in the same dorm. Ask people to tell you their story.  Sit, listen, and ask follow-up questions. Tell them you like to pray for people you’ve met and ask how you can pray for them.

6. Seek to radically love others as Christ did. Avoid gossips and gossiping. It’s gross. Loving like Christ isn’t.

7. Remember, following passionately after Christ is not going to be the norm (yes, sadly even at Christian colleges this is true). Look to God’s Word for the standard of what an authentic follower of Christ looks like and seek others who seek him in the same way.

8. Look for opportunities to serve. Serve broadly, serve lovingly, serve faithfully, and serve diligently. Look for where there is a need and dive in.

9. Remember that others are going through the same changes and new experiences. Look for opportunities to speak truth about the gospel to people who want a fresh start in college. Show them the hope in the gospel and forgiveness available to them.

10. Attend every opportunity for biblical teaching that you can. Go to a campus ministry’s weekly meeting and invite someone from your dorm to go with you.

11. Work hard. Remember the privilege that you are afforded and respond appropriately. Fight against laziness by remembering you are seeking to please Christ, not your professor (or mom or dad).

12. When you find someone you are interested in dating, make sure that their one aim in life is the same as yours (see #1 above.)

13. Take advantage of the variety of classes and opportunities that will be available to you only in college. Look for at least one class to take for the sheer love of learning about a subject you have never studied before (or may never have the time to study again).

14. Make a prayer list and pray for the people on it. Start with your roommate and the guys down the hall who don’t give a rip about Christ.

15. Pursue God joyfully. Is there anything greater than knowing Christ? Make the joy of pursuing Christ a hallmark of your life.

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