6 Challenges Christian College Students Face
Here are six challenges that every student will probably face at one time or another.
Not Departing from the Faith
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Christian college students is the flood of secularism in college campuses and courses and in the professors that teach them. The last thing on the minds of colleges and professors is God and they love to brow beat Christian students who believe in Him. The Christian college student is sometimes openly challenged in the classroom be teachers and students and pushed into providing evidence for God’s existence but God is Spirit and is invisible to the human eye. Paul warned that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (1st Tim 4:1-2) and we should be “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires” (2nd Pet 3:3). Those days have come.
It is so hard to go off to college and leave all your family and Christian friends behind. To be surrounded by strong Christians and then left to themselves must feel like they’ve been delivered into a lion’s den. There is a lot of positive peer pressure for the young Christian to avoid sinful practices from both parents and like-minded children, but once the college student is isolated, they might feel surrounded by hostile forces where few will be sympathetic about their faith in God. In fact, it might be an embarrassment to reveal your faith on a college campus. What I would suggest is to seek out a Christian group or club that meets together and make friends with follow Christian college students, not because there’s safety in numbers but there is Christian fellowship and support among the brothers and sisters in Christ. If there isn’t one, why not start one?
An Invisible Enemy
The student must understand that he or she may fall under a spiritual attack from the enemy since “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). It’s one thing to be fighting a seen enemy but an invisible one, now that’s not possible to battle because we can’t even see them. That’s where we need to armor up and the Christian college student who is more isolated than believers back home in their church, are more often than not left to themselves. The enemy will plant doubts, fears, and hopelessness but the Spirit of God reminds them that they are not alone in fighting an enemy that is too strong for them because for God, no one can oppose Him because if God’s for us, who would ever be able to be against us (Rom 8:31)?
How can freedom be a challenge to a Christian college student? When the student formerly lived at home, they had a schedule to follow and didn’t have to discipline themselves as much as they now have to since they’re on their own. This freedom might tempt them to skip a class or sleep in when they’re supposed to be in a class. Having complete freedom, they might also be tempted to run with other college students, stay up late, experiment in drugs, alcohol or premarital sex. Freedom brings with up a lack of accountability in the mind of the student. They reason that if they miss a class, they are the only ones that have to deal with it. When left by themselves, instead of studying, they might be tempted to surf the Internet or watch TV or DVD’s. Self-discipline is one of the most difficult things for any of us to do, particularly a newly launched Christian college student who has no accountability with parents anymore. The structure and regular routine of the Christian home is now gone and only the freewill choices of the Christian college student determine their course for the day.
What happens if a Christian college student gets placed with a non-believer and has to share a dorm room with them? At least it’s an opportunity to witness to them but the other side of this is that the non-believing student will be doing things and watching things and even listening to things that are anything but Christian. Some roommates might be placed with someone who only plays violent video games, watches pornographic movies, and uses all kinds of profanities that the student’s never been exposed to before. Just as water and oil don’t mix, neither does light and darkness so this might be one of the most difficult challenges that the Christian college student will face. The non-believing roommate probably thinks that Christianity is a weakness or they use it as a crutch so they might look down on the believer and be hypercritical about what the student does or doesn’t do. This might be a case where you’ll have to try and find another Christian of the same-sex to study with and to spend time with so that they can still have Christian fellowship amidst a sea of paganism.
Famine of the Word
Because students are under severe time constraints and they might not have the best skills at time management, the very first thing they will leave out of their schedule will be studying and reading the Word of God. This might be the first thing to go but it’s the very first thing they need. The Christian college student that neglects and even stops reading the Bible loses a value source of faith and strength. The Christian can’t go long without the intake of the Bread of Life, and that is Jesus Christ and the Word of God. Just like we don’t eat a meal once a week, like on a Sunday, neither can we skip our Bible reading and study and only open our Bible’s on Sunday. That is a case of spiritual starvation…a famine of the Word, and it will make everything more difficult for the Christian college student.
There are certainly a lot more than six challenges for the Christian college student but there will be no less than these; they’ll be entering a hostile, non-Christian environment; they’ll be more isolated; they’ll be battling a powerful, invisible enemy; they’ll have the freedom to make both good and bad decisions; they might be placed in a room with a non-believer who’s hostile to the faith; and there might be the temptation to neglect the Word of God and that will result in a famine of the Word. That’s why our Christian college students need our prayers and support because they’ve got a great set of challenges facing them.
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman