Dear young student, this message of encouragement is for you

Many young people are getting ready to start their first year of college. Know that these next 4 years will be among the most significant and impactful of your life.

Il you will therefore need to be anchored in the Word, in the face of the many temptations you will frequently face: alcoholism, sexual immorality, indiscipline… Jon D. Payne, pastor at Christ Church Presbyterian encourages you to stand firm in the grace of God (1 Stone 5: 8-9, 12), and not to stray from Jesus. He shares 5 ways to stay in God's plan.

1. Find a church

Find a good church is the priority of every Christian because this is how the Good Shepherd protects, feeds, equips and cares for his sheep (John 21: 15-17; Ephesians 4: 11-14), by the “assistant shepherds” called to proclaim the Word, administer the sacraments, pray and watch over the children of God (1 Corinthians 1: 21; 11: 23-26; 6 Acts: 4; 20 Acts: 28). Do not neglect the ministry of the Church during your college years so as not to become a stray sheep vulnerable to the attacks of the wicked (1 Stone 5: 8) and deprived of the wisdom of God.

The church also needs you because, as Paul writes, "when it is well coordinated and forms a solid assembly, the body draws its growth according to the strength that suits each of its parts, and builds itself up." in charity "(Ephesians 4: 16). Find ways to serve. Jesus loved the Church so much that he gave his life for her (Ephesians 5: 25). Love and cherish the church the same way he did!

2. Build a life of prayer

Spending time with the Lord everyday plays a vital role in our life. As you begin your day seeking His face by reading the Word and praying, you put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-17). Jesus himself spent time with his Father “every morning” (Marc 1: 35).

As written in Psalms 46: 10 "Stop and know that he is God". By exposing yourself regularly to the Word and having a life of prayer you will have the grace and the wisdom to resist the temptations of this world.

3. Cultivate good relationships

Friends have a great influence on the way we think and act. That is why it is necessary to choose your friends wisely. (Exodus 23: 2; 13 Proverbs: 20; Psalms 1: 1-2). As you approach this first year, ask yourself the following questions about your friends: will they encourage you on your journey with God or lead you away from him? Will they help you to walk in the right way or will they mislead you? The Lord warns us of "bad companies (which) corrupt good morals" (1 Corinthians 15: 33). Be convinced that Jesus is the only true friend who is “more attached than a brother” (18 Proverbs: 24).

4. Keep yourself pure

God created sex for marriage (Genesis 2: 24-25). It is intended as an expression of love between a husband and a wife (Songs 6: 2-3). When practiced outside of marriage, it produces shame and psychological damage. Sexual promiscuity is 'the norm' on college campuses. But Christians are called to live contrary to this 'culture'. Instead of giving yourself a lot, save yourself for your spouse. Sexual purity is God's will in your life, make it a high priority (1 Thessalonians 4: 3-5; 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20).

5. Let yourself be guided by the Gospel

Only the gospel can help you walk closer with the Lord. We have the good news that God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to fulfill the law (Hebrews 4: 15), has become a curse for us (3 Galates: 13), and risen from the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4), so that we may be saved. Jesus conquered sin, death and hell and he did it for all those who turn from sin and rely only on him for salvation.

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source: The Gospel Coalition

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