As some of you may know, I am a devout Christian. If you don’t know this yet, here I am telling you! I love to hear people’s coming to Christ stories, because I think each one is beautiful and unique. My coming to Christ story is pretty safe and neat… I grew up in a very religious family, my mom is a “P.K.” or pastor’s kid, her mom was a choir director and pastor’s wife, my dad’s cousin and my godfather is a pastor, my dad’s grandfather and much of this side of my family are Catholic. I grew up in a very rural community so our church was small, but very tight-knit and supportive. I attend a church camp every summer where families gather with other families around the country and worship God, and learn about him and his son Jesus for one week, and it is one of the most beautiful experiences ever. I was baptized when I was 9 years old because I knew that Jesus died for my sins and I wanted to serve him for the rest of my life, and follow wherever his father God would lead me. Let me tell you, sometimes it’s really hard to follow someone else’s directions if you don’t always agree, but the life of a Christian is not meant to be easy, and that is what this post today is about.
As I’ve said, my family has been and continues to be a large influence on my faith, where it started and how I’ve “stuck with it”, and some of my favorite memories are worshipping with family, or singing prayer before dinner with my family. Another great memory, is every time I see my great-grandfather, he always says, “Keep The Faith.” It’s always been a great sentiment, and I’ve always kind of dismissed it or brushed the saying off, like “of course I’m going to keep the faith, I haven’t really strayed too far before.” I’m realizing that isn’t all too true. I have believed in God and his son Jesus for a long time now, I don’t remember a time not believing in God, but I have strayed, not in ways one might think though. I still do believe in God, and I know that Jesus died for my sins, and I know that I have hope for eternal life, and that I want to live for God and glorify him in what I do. That’s all the bible says about keeping the faith, right?
Wrong. It does say that, yes, however there is so much more to “Keeping the Faith” than just believing in God and his Son; there is so much more to it than committing your life to God; to be a Christian and to keep the faith, does not mean being alone in this. I’ve never been “alone” before going to college. Here in college, I live 4 hours away from my family, and 3-3.5 hours away from some of my closest friends. They all support me, and they are here for me and with technology it is so much easier to send people a text, or an email, or Facebook message, or pinterest message, or a phone call, but it still isn’t having someone right here, right next to me, on the same path.
You’re probably wondering how I’ve “strayed from the faith” seeing as I just told you faith in God and his son, and what I want to do for them has not wavered. I have strayed by not working for fellowship with other believers. I go to a weekly meeting every Thursday evening (unless I’m on duty for work, but I’m rarely on duty on a Thursday night.) and this weekly meeting is like a worship service with hundreds of other Christian students on campus, but just going to a service is not enough. This semester I have turned a new leaf and I am working harder to build better community and fellowship with other believers. I now attend an on-campus church on Sundays (that I am in town, which is most Sundays) and I have joined a bible study. This bible study is more than just a bible study though, it is a group of people who are willing to walk with me, and question with me, and study with me, and encourage me, and challenge me. This is a “revival” of my faith in a way, because I am being reminded that it is important to have fellowship with other believers.
We have been studying 2 Corinthians, and this book is a very interesting book, that truly does talk about the importance of fellowship. The very beginning talks about how God is there for us in our suffering, and he comforts us, so that we can comfort and support other Christians who are suffering. Living a life surrendered to God should not be easy, but God has lead other people into our lives who have gone through what we are going through, so that they can help us. This right here is the importance of fellowship, and I believe that fellowship is essential to “Keeping The Faith”.
So college Christians, if you feel alone in your walk with God, remember God is there, but also look around your campus for organizations to get involved in that will help you to strengthen your faith.
New Christians who feel alone, reach out on social media, or attend a local church and don’t just go to that church service, get involved and serve in the church.
Old Christians who feel alone, Get involved with the youth in a church. They are hungry for your experience and your advice- they might not always act like it, but your stories and the time you spend with them will be some of their most treasured memories when they reach your age.
Young Christians- younger than college age. Ask your parents or friends, or church leaders about local youth groups. If there isn’t one, ask about starting one, so that you can start building relationships now, that will help you in your journey.