What I learnt from my freshman semester
Chantel Tay // December 11, 2018, 9:49 am
Before I entered university, people had told me stories about the culture and academic rigour there.
Now, as the first semester of my freshman year draws to a close, there are several things I’ve learnt that I want to share with you.
THREE LESSONS FROM THE CAMPUS
1. WE ARE WITNESSES
As Christians, we are the salt and light of this world (Matthew 5:13). Jesus doesn’t give us a choice here. He tells us that we “are” the salt and light. This, to me, is a command to be witnesses for Christ.
Our actions and attitudes towards our community should reflect Christ. University is a time when we cross paths with new individuals, many of whom have not come across the Gospel. It is our duty to proclaim His glory to the community around us. It is a time for us to reach out to the people He has put around us.
Most importantly, we ought to pray and let God guide us in the process of sharing the joy to be found in Him. What I found invaluable was having a group of close-knit Christian friends to dwell in His word, while spreading God’s love to the people around us.
2. WE MUST MAKE TIME
We need to intentionally make time for Jesus.
With assignments and midterms piling up throughout the semester on top of social and recreational activities, we spend a large majority of our time with the world.
We must be careful that our friends do not distract us from the most important Person in our lives.
God has a plan and purpose for us, and He never gives us more than we can handle.
Throughout the past 13 weeks, I have realised how crucial it is to continuously stay in touch with God’s Word.
Psalm 51:10 is a good reminder for us, where David asks for God’s grace to renew a right spirit in him. We fall short everyday, and we need forgiveness. The only way to remain steadfast in our faith is to consistently study and meditate on His Word, and allow the Spirit to work in our lives.
We need to be renewed each and every day of our lives, not just when we are feeling down. We need His grace always.
3. WE ARE NOT IN THIS RACE ALONE
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
God has a plan and purpose for us, and He never gives us more than we can handle. God also specifically calls us to rest.
The grind in university can get heavy at times, but it is exactly in such circumstances that we need to remember to look to the giver of strength, that we may press on. It is easy to forget Him during dry seasons, when the fight for Him becomes difficult, but we ought to persevere all the more.
We need to remember that education is a gift from God to glorify Him, not something to turn us away from Him in our busyness.
University brings a lot of freedom, but this freedom should never be a reason to stray from Him. We need to remain rooted and steadfast in our faith, even if it means saying no to our friends.
How easy it is to be led by the desires of the world and disobey Christ. For example: Missing lectures because just like everyone else – we want more hours of rest.
Christians must take pride in the duty God calls us to.
Whenever we face temptations, we need to fight against allowing our desires to hinder His purposes. It may be an extra step for us, but we ought to remember that our purpose ultimately lies in glorifying Him.
We need to always remember that while we are a student, we are always a Christian first. This means putting His Word ahead of everything we do, even in school.
My prayer is for all of us who are undergraduates to make the most of our time in university – having a heart that pursues Him and His purposes more than anything else.
How greatly we all fall short of His glory. But as long as we are willing to be constantly refined, we will come to experience His overwhelming patience and grace towards us.