One of the highlights of the fall semester for Chi Alpha chapters is the annual Fall Retreat. Each state offers a statewide retreat either in the fall or the spring for all of the other Chi Alpha chapters for a weekend. Typically, these events take place at a campground suited for wonderful fun activities, community-building, good food, Bible teaching, and worship.
Every year I hear reports of students who decide to put their faith, hope and trust in King Jesus on a Chi Alpha retreat. It is always so encouraging to know that the Lord is working in the lives of college students. They leave campus for a weekend and put themselves into a posture to be able to hear Him and respond. Those who attend and do not yet know the Lord, have divine encounters that transform their lives. We believe the Lord not only wants to make disciples in and through our Chi Alpha groups, but He wants followers of His to catch the vision of disciples who make disciples who make disciples!
Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.
I was talking to a student named Jon who recently converted from no faith to faith in Jesus. He told me he was not what you would call outgoing or extroverted. He said he really was a quiet, introverted guy who was now on a spiritual journey, or an adventure that he was thrilled about.
As part of getting anchored in his new faith in God, he was doing a “new believer’s study” given to him by a fellow student on a recent Chi Alpha retreat. One day he was reading through 2 Corinthians and came across chapter 5, verses 15-20. Verse 17 grabbed his attention, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
For the first time Jon realized what that verse meant. Then he said he was impressed (or inspired), or challenged by God to demonstrate that verse about his new-born life to friends on campus. He answered God’s whisper and tried to become what a new creation should be – in his relationship with his dorm mate, how it affected his classwork, even his part-time job at the campus library. He paid attention to what his roommate was interested in, began smiling more in and around the dorm and in classes, and strove to honor the Lord with a better work effort on homework and at work study in the library. Jon was beginning to understand how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in presenting the fact that he was a new creation.
All of us are wired uniquely and have different personalities. Whether or not you are a follower of Jesus, who you are is who you are.
But when we accept His Lordship and He becomes our Savior, everything begins to change. We used to hate God and love sin. Now we love God and hate sin. Our personality and actions should begin reflecting Jesus. We should become more loving, caring, and interested in others, and less pre-occupied with ourselves. Becoming more like Jesus happens at a different rate for each person. But you can be sure God will keep working on you as His new creation (see Philippians 1:6), with Chi Alpha friends helping, and along for the journey.
How does God want you to change as His new creation? Do not allow the sins you may still struggle with (even though Jesus is still Lord of your life), to discourage you. How can you depend on God (and Chi Alpha pals) for help to walk out and feed your new-found faith?
Grow devotionally. Becoming a new creation comes with salvation. Growing to maturity is the next part of the process. God wants you and I to pass on His message of reconciliation.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz