Staying Christian in College

By Michal Ortner

David Mathis is a pastor, professor, and executive editor for Desiring God. In his recently published blog entitled, “How to Stay Christian on Campus,” he tackles the difficult task of “popping the bubble” of campus life. In college, a student can easily sink into the simple flow of campus life and forget about the trials of the world.

“But while there may be some truth to the bubble experience, it can be unhelpfully deceptive and give way to a crippling lie: that campus life isn’t real life,” Mathis writes. “My race hasn’t started yet. School is just a scrimmage; the real thing begins after graduation. This is one of the most important myths to dispel for the Christian student.”

Mathis urges students, in whatever capacity they find themselves studying, to “pop the bubble.” He encourages students that this is a special time for growth and personal reflection, but it is not a time to waste or squander. Every decision and action taken has a consequence and an affect on the lives of people.

“Be vigilant to protect class and study time, within reason; if God’s call on your life for now is to be a student, embrace his call and don’t squander this season of preparation for a life of need-meeting,” he states.

It is easy to get caught up in the necessity of study and friendship during college. Rather than place the focus on your university, Mathis says that we should keep it focused on the One who placed you there in the first place.

“You are not a student first, but ten thousand times a Christian first,” he writes.

“It’s important to hear that the life of a student is not a retreat from real life; it is real life. Real faith, real holiness, real warmth and softness of heart, real relationships, real eternity lie in the balance,” he adds.

Mathis reveals that there is no real secret to remaining Christian on your college campus—whether it’s Christian or secular. He says that the goal is to be a Christian “today.” Don’t wait because a heart can harden slowly over a period of time.

“Every course of study is about Jesus, if we only have the eyes to see. And “he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17),” Mathis states. “Biology, physics, business, chemistry, communications, literature, medicine, philosophy, and political science will either draw you nearer to Jesus or pull you farther from him.”