When Going to a Christian College Makes Faith Hard

I grew up in the church. I was in church as many times as the doors were unlocked. I served, volunteered, interned, and even pastored, with most of you either being a fellow servant, leader of mine, or under my leadership. It’s in my DNA to be in church.

Not only that, but God has saved me miraculously through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus on the cross and glorious resurrection 3 days later. He brought this dead soul to life and put breath in my lungs.

My whole life is because of Jesus. It’s not only what I’ve grown up living out, but what I’ve experienced and has become real to me. It led me to choose a Christian university over a secular school, or even just community college, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

But, being at a Christian college is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Almost everything we do is Christ-centered, so you’d almost rightly assume that it would make being a Christian easy. That isn’t the case though. I feel like it’s made being a Christian harder. After being in the career world for 3 years before going back into academia, I can honestly say it was easier to develop and grow my relationship with Jesus than it has been while at school.

It’s hard to explain, really. Logically, it’s almost contradictory to say that following Jesus is hard to do at a Christian institution.

The fact that everything is so saturated with Christianity makes actually consciously choosing to follow Jesus that much harder.

Three times a week we meet in convocation, worshipping and hearing from mainly Christian leaders. All of our classes are brought back to the point of Jesus. There’s very little margin for personal, driven, and active pursuit of Christ, since it’s all already chosen for you.

And it can be downright depressing. Since authenticity matters to me, I want to be honest with you. I have never felt more spiritually drained than the past few months of being back here, at a place where Jesus is truly worshipped and honored. I have never felt less passionate about following Jesus. I have never felt less interested in growing close to God.

Maybe it’s my own fault. I’ll own up to that. I have no problem recognizing it could be my issues that are in the way.

But I would be ignorant to assume it’s just me. Maybe you feel that way too. You’re at a highly religious school, maybe even Liberty with me, but you just feel like it’s harder than ever to grow. Maybe you feel like there’s too much knowledge and not enough faith in your own life after spending time in a Christian classroom.

Maybe you’re not even in school anymore, but you still feel like your knowledge, or possibly lack thereof, is hindering you from feeling close to God.

You’re not alone.

Sometimes we need to take the academia out of our active pursuit of Christ. Sometimes we need to take the education out of obedience. Sometimes we need to take the knowledge out of simply just knowing God.

Brothers and sisters, I know. I know the emptiness. I know the pain. I know the struggle. I know the ceiling that it feels like your prayers are hitting. I know the hardship of walking around and feeling like you’re the only one who doesn’t feel connected to Jesus.

I would love to tell you a five-step plan on how to overcome that. I would love to give you a detailed list of instructions on how to deepen your walk with Christ. But, I can’t. I don’t know the full, 100% foolproof answer.

But, I do have suggestions to offer. My only advice is to seek to know Him. Stop letting your professors, however wise they may be, define your prayer life and your relationship with Jesus. Get alone with Him, and get to know Him. I don’t have a formula. I don’t have a way to do this at all. It’s different for everyone. But it starts with you seeking. It starts with you digging in and getting to know who God really is.

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