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Practical Guidelines for Christians in College

Assuming that we are making a conscious effort to comply with biblical guidelines for our lives, we are all instructed to “do business” until the Lord returns (Luke 19:13). Some of God’s twice-born are specifically called into a ministry field, but many more are called into professions that require other specialized training—thus, the need for further education. There will always be tension felt between the desire for righteous environments and the prerequisite for the skills necessary to function in the world until Christ returns.

As our culture drifts away from its Christian foundation, the need grows greater for more godly men and women in technical and intellectual fields—scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, professors, business entrepreneurs, and, yes, for politicians, artists, musicians, English teachers, coaches and film makers! Here are some practical suggestions:

  • Be sure of your “calling”—but remain flexible. A genuine calling to a “full-time” ministry is surely significant, but some seek employment among churches merely to avoid the pressures of secular careers. God’s call to “do business” is just as spiritually fulfilling and biblically sanctioned as calling a pastor to a church. Charles Spurgeon is said to have given this thought-provoking advice: “If you can do anything else, do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.” Often, the Lord will lead a person through stages of education and experience for a hidden purpose only realized later in life. Consider the lives of the patriarchs and the long, difficult educational trials many of them endured.
  • Get the best education that your station in life affords. While not many of us can get accepted into a Harvard or Stanford or West Point, if such an opportunity is granted, take advantage of the open door that the Lord has placed before you. The more widely recognized your education is, the more available opportunities for witness and ministry will become. Some Christian schools provide an excellent education for a liberal arts degree, but few provide training for technical careers. Advanced degrees are crucially important for those who seek leadership positions, and you may very well be led to a secular graduate school.
  • Ensure a constant circle of godly Christian friends. This would apply even if you are going to a Christian college—maybe even more so. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). This requires a solid, Bible-preaching church as well as a Christian campus group. They exist in every college town—make the effort to seek them out.

Life training is a lifelong experience. Many have made the mistake of assuming that a particular degree or job is the end of educational responsibility. God’s Kingdom requires a much longer view. College or professional training is more than likely just the beginning—but it is a very important beginning. Whether one seeks a ministry career or a secular job, both should be seen as the calling God Himself has commissioned. Preparation for work in the Kingdom is tantamount to honoring the Lord as you “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

All of the above advice could be summarized by this perspective: “Do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Not many of God’s adopted children are “mighty” or “noble.” Most of us are ordinary folks whom God has called into His Kingdom with the overall commission to be “an epistle of Christ” in the “midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (1 Corinthians 1:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Philippians 2:15-16).

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