I came home from my first day of college, my head throbbing with ache and my mind whirling as it tried to process the new environment I was diving into headfirst.
What I had been aware of for years and had been told time and time again was finally sinking in and becoming concrete reality. You’ve probably heard it, too: being a Christian in a secular school is not easy.
I was well aware that there would be challenges going into school at IUPUI. I had received many warnings that my faith would be tested and that I would have to stand strong. I thought I was ready -- I have a strong relationship with my church family, I currently live at home with my immediate family there for support and I had made a point of looking into Christian organizations at IUPUI.
However, I was in for culture shock. I am still trying to adjust to this new stage of life, which is especially hard coming from a Christian homeschool environment. I praise the Lord that His Spirit resides in me and is sensitive to the false worldviews and the sin surrounding me. His Spirit keeps me alert and not tempted to conform to some of the harsh realities in the world. However, being the sinful human that I am, my initial reaction is to be angry and discouraged by what I see and hear from unbelievers, rather than hurt for their lost hearts and engage with them in order to further the gospel.
No matter the case, we could so easily be living in sin just like those we encounter each and every day; and in fact, prior to being saved, we were! Ephesians 2:1-3 says,
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience -- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
The only difference between those around us and the sin in which they live and the marked joy and love we have as Christ-followers is God’s Grace, not anything we could ever do:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved -- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9).
Therefore, rather than disengaging and running away from the worldliness around us or conforming to it, we should aim to share this everlasting joy with others so that they can experience the freedom and forgiveness available to them in Christ’s atoning sacrifice!
So as I continue to journey through this new stage of life and trust God to make me more like Him in the process (Romans 8:28-29), I can have confidence in knowing that He always has and always will continue to provide me with the people, strength, and confidence I need to grow in my faith and share the gospel with others.
Praise God for providing brothers and sisters in Christ through the local churches and through organizations like Impact with whom I can live a glorious life with. We all strive to set an example to the world of what the gospel can do, so let’s do it together!
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
Rachel Winkler, IUPUI Freshman