As I sit here preparing for college, I feel like Paul in Philippians 1. No, I am not locked in a literal prison…but I am trapped at home. My returned noncontagious pneumonia is taking its sweet toll on my lungs (I say noncontagious to reinforce the fact that you don’t need to pull out the hand sanitizer you just thought about). However, I trust that this is definitely what God wants for me. I wouldn’t have made this connection if I were out today shopping now would I have?
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” -Philippians 1:12-13
“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[d] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” –Philippians 1: 18-20
I am in healing mode- just like before South Africa. However, like before, I see it as purification. It is a blessing to have a legitimate reason to sit and not physically do anything. My mind however, like Paul’s in prison, is at work. The Lord is the ONLY pure thing in me- and I see that more clearly now as I sit here and ponder all that I am about to enter. Like me and any Christ follower, college itself may not be considered something entirely pure…but there is purity within it. You just have to seek it. And that’s what I want to do with this “college survival series” on my blog. We can discover God’s goodness on a college campus TOGETHER.
See, I feel split in half– just like Paul in prison. Half of me feels pulled into all that college has for me and the excitement that awaits. The other half just wants to go serve The Lord overseas and not think about material things and just chase spiritually after The Lord through mission work…and just LEAVE EVERYTHING. It actually gets me emotional. Thinking back to Africa and all the joy I had there…I want to go back. But more strongly, I want Heaven. I want my Savior because I saw in Africa that that was all that matters: The Lord’s Kingdom. And yet, college feels like a whole other kingdom calling my name. Here it looks like Paul was having the same dilemma:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” -Philippians 1:21-26 (emphasis added)
He just wants to go and be with Christ. However, he comes to the same conclusion that I have. Remaining on earth and where God wants you (college for me) is the best way to bring others to Christ and His Heaven WITH you. College may be a “kingdom”, but there is a Kingdom far greater that trumps all others…and it is something that can be BROUGHT to campus. This is because when Christ is inside you, you are bringing Jesus wherever you go. And even though you are faced with secular temptations and new experiences, you are bringing a light into those places and spaces. This is necessary for the gospel to be spread.
Because here’s the thing about college: there are a lot of people around you that NEED what you are carrying. They NEED to know someone loves them. Parents are gone. All that’s familiar is gone. There is no longer someone looking over their shoulder to make sure they are ok. Many feel completely A L O N E.
They need to know that they aren’t.
They need to know that you care BECAUSE Jesus cares. And as a result, a bit of that Christ instilled purity in your heart will begin to show.
And so will their perfect Heavenly Father.
So as we begin this college journey together, I implore you to not feel split in half. Put the two halves together through Christ. Put the joy of chasing Christ with the excitement of meeting new people and trying new things. I promise you that it will make BOTH halves way better. Remember also that I am starting this journey with you. Let’s do this together. So to all of my friends and followers on this blog:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” –Philippians 1:3-11