Being in campus is a season of life we all look forward to. It comes with freedom and some sense of independence that every young person yearns for at that stage of their lives. It can be quite a great season in life if lived well but on the flip side, it can also bring about ruin if lived recklessly.
Having gone through campus, I am grateful for that season of my life and what I have learnt in my field of study but most importantly the growth I have experienced in my walk of salvation. There were many tests and trials but I am grateful to God for guiding me all through.
Being in campus is arguably one of the greatest tests of a person’s character and faith. It goes without saying that many have been derailed along the way and have not been able to finish their studies. Others may have finished their studies but ended up becoming conformed to the pattern of this world, which we are warned against in Romans 12:2.
God’s desire during this season of life is that you would not only excel in your studies but more importantly grow in your faith and walk with Him. He promises to be with you and to guide you (Hebrews 13:5).
With that in perspective, below are some words of counsel I would like to give to anyone joining campus or already in campus. If you are already in campus or done with campus, it is never too late to go back to the crossroads and choosing to walk in the right path.
Treasure God Above Everything Else
I begin with this because I believe it is the glue that holds everything else together and without which all other things become meaningless. What does it mean to treasure God above everything else? In Matthew 13:44, we see one of Jesus’s parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
In this parable that Jesus gave, the man mentioned could never have thought of selling all his property. It had probably never crossed his mind. However, the treasure that this man found made all the difference. Everything changed the moment he realized the value of this treasure he had found.
Jesus uses this parable as a metaphor to refer to eternal life, which is the greatest treasure in all of life. He uses the analogy of a treasure hidden in a field to help us grasp the reality of the value of eternal life which is a gift that we receive only through salvation. Salvation, which simply means being saved from our sins, happens when we confess that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
Just like in the parable above, we can only treasure God above everything else when we comprehend the worth and cost of our salvation. Our salvation comes at a great cost to God- the death of His Son who is perfect and without sin, unlike us. Although we might never fully comprehend this, we get to have a glimpse of the great sacrifice that God has made for us and this changes everything- God becomes our greatest treasure.
When God becomes our greatest treasure, everything else becomes insignificant compared to the much greater worth of knowing Him. All other things become of no value in comparison to God because of who He is and what He has done for us. This is captured more accurately in Philippians 3:8-10 where Paul says:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
When God becomes our greatest treasure, our worldview becomes reoriented and our values and priorities are restructured. The way we live our lives is then influenced by this new worldview which holds God as its greatest treasure. That is why I believe it is very important to have God as your greatest treasure.
As a Christian you should always bear in mind that growing spiritually is your responsibility and not your pastor’s responsibility or the Christian Union leaders’ responsibility. These people play a major role in facilitating spiritual growth but your growth as a Christian is primarily your own responsibility.
In order to grow spiritually, you need to devote yourself to the Christian disciplines just as the early church did. This we see in Acts 2:42 where we are told that “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” These constitute the Christian Disciplines through which our spiritual lives are nourished.
The apostles’ teaching in this case, is God’s word, through which He has revealed Himself. Every Christian needs to read the Bible because there is no other means given by which we can know God except through His word. Just like two friends need to spend time together to know each other, we also need to spend time reading God’s word for us to understand what His will is and what He desires of us.
For every believer, God’s word is the supreme authority as we are read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” All that we need to live the Christian life is in God’s word.
For the Christian, prayer is not merely talking to God but responding to Him. The purpose of prayer is not to get things from God, but to get God Himself as we respond to Him, who has already spoken in His word.
In his book, ‘Habits of grace’, David Mathis says: “The great purpose of prayer is to come humbly, expectantly and – because of God- boldly into the conscious presence of God to relate to him, talk with him, and ultimately enjoy him as our great Treasure.”
Fellowship is a very crucial element of the Christian walk because it is first and foremost a command from God. In Hebrews 10:24 we are told not to give up “meeting together; as some of you are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another -and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The walk of salvation cannot be done in isolation in as much as every believer has a personal relationship with God. Remember, no man is an island.
In addition to joining a fellowship, it is important to be consistent in that fellowship and even serving in the area you are gifted in. Being consistent in a fellowship shows that you are devoted. On the other hand, a lack of consistency portrays a character issue and may be an indication that you have wrong priorities.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
Friendship could well be said to be one of the pillars of life; it is a relationship that is essential and irreplaceable in every human’s life. Without a doubt, the friends we have determine to a great extent who we become. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 we are told, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
When I look back through my campus life, I can clearly see the positive impact that godly friendships have had. I greatly attribute my growth as a believer to the deep and meaningful friendships I forged in campus. Friendships where it wasn’t just about small talk and superficial conversations but sharing life and exhorting one another towards godliness.
I would also urge you as you begin your journey through campus to be careful about the friends you keep because they will have a great impact on all the aspects of your life, especially your spiritual life. You need to be careful and exercise wisdom and discernment. Don’t be in a hurry to make friends but first of all observe their character and conduct.
This becomes much easier in the context of a fellowship like the Christian Union or a local church because you all share a common faith. However, even in such a gathering you need to be cautious because there are always wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Choose friends who exhort you towards godliness. These are the ones you ought to keep close to you and share life with. It is far much better to have a few deep and meaningful friendships than to have many superficial friendships. Find friends who are real and who will be there for you when you need them. However, even more important than having such friends is being such a friend.
Be Diligent in Your Studies
Perhaps you may have been told or heard that in campus there is no much studying; that things are just cool and easy. If you believed this, I am sorry to tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth. Truth is, you will be required to study hard, maybe not as much as high school but diligence is required all the same.
It is given that some courses may require more studying and effort than others but the bottom line is that you will be required to put in effort. Nothing comes on a silver platter. My experience and observation in campus is that most students just strive to attain the minimum mark; just as long as they are in the safe zone and avoid getting a supplementary. At times it might get to this because some units are tough but as a Christian you ought to be diligent and pursue excellence.
Do not be content with just playing safe by attaining the minimum mark but strive to achieve the best you can. Do not settle for average and become complacent and mediocre in your studies. Pursue excellence in your field of study bearing in mind what Colossians 3:23 says: “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
As I come to the end of my few or many words of counsel, I would like to urge you to seriously consider them and heed them, more especially the first one; treasuring God above everything else. I believe it is the most important and the glue that holds all the others in place. May our good Lord guide you and direct your steps.