If you work in campus ministry very long, you will encounter a wide variety of college students with respect to their religious practices. In particular, many from Christian backgrounds come to the university from Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox families, whose parents have tried to model the integration of a daily faith with daily life. Their hope is their child(ren) will accept, continue, deepen, and pass on their faith.
The reality is college students are free will human beings who are affected by their family, environment of their upbringing (including friends, neighborhood, school, etc.), and are sorting out who they are and what they believe. It does not stop at age eighteen.
I have met many young people raised in a home with parents who were practicing the teachings of Jesus, involved with a Bible-believing church, and living a missional life. Yet those same young people decided to push away from their own faith heritage once they left home for college, the military, or the marketplace after high school.
Many parents ask questions: How could they observe, hopefully understand the values and practices we modeled, articulated, and practiced, and then seemingly throw away their beliefs? Knowing we love them more than anyone else on the planet, and hoping they learn how to make sense of the world from our perspective, why do they disregard such “wisdom” for a “chance to figure out life on their own?” I’m sure we all know someone who grew up in a Christian home but for various reasons, gave up, walked away, or switched sides. Maybe you have become or are becoming someone like this.
Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26.
As young people start to form their own opinions and learn other points of view, they may find it easy to start believing the Bible is strict or old-fashioned. They may think it is not cool anymore to show up at church (with or without their parents), practice holiness, and identify with Jesus. Some other faith or world-view may sound appealing.
The apostle Paul knew the temptations all of us face: evil desires and stupid arguments (2 Timothy 2:22-23). As we learn about the ideas and philosophies of the world, we may be tempted to question the things we have been taught.
But Paul reminded his young friend Timothy to, “Continue in what you have learned and become convinced of, because you know those from whom you have learned it” (3:14). You can trust the faith you have been taught. Your parents, grandparents, pastors, and friends who have experienced the faithfulness of God would not lead you astray.
It may be common for young people to experiment with different religions and faiths. Yet consider that new ideas come and go, but the certainty of God’s Word and His saving grace never change. You can trust Him. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So trust the decision you made to put your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus. It’ll lead you to a life that flourishes on earth and matters, even as your place in heaven is held secure.
Serve globally. How can you keep your faith fresh? Trust the Truth, who is a Person.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz