The Christian life is a lot like the instructions on the back of your shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, and repeat. In the ordinary rhythm of life, as the word of God is heard, received, and applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we gradually grow in Christlikeness. Our hearts are challenged, idols are revealed, affections tested, and faith strengthened. We go under the waters of baptism and witness others do the same. We share in the Lord’s meal, eating and drinking in remembrance together of what God has done in Christ to form a people for himself from every nation, tribe, and tongue by grace. And we rejoice together that the King of the universe brings rebels like us home, into his family.
What’s God’s will for your life as a college student? While there are countless mysterious facets to the providence of God, one thing is abundantly clear from the Bible: God intends for you to be fully mature in Christ. To put it another way, God’s will for every Christian is that they would consistently and progressively grow to be more like Jesus.
That’s why the Apostle Paul singled out this as his great ambition for the believers in Colossae and shaped his ministry the way he did: “We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me” (Colossians 1:28-29, CSB).
If you’re a college student, this is God’s good plan for your life not only in the future, but right now, where he has placed you. So how can you actively pursue this? How can you wisely and faithfully pursue godly spiritual formation in this unique season, so that when you complete your studies you’ll not only be a credentialed graduate, but a more devoted and mature disciple of Jesus?
First, Genuine Christian Spiritual Formation will be Biblical.
To put it plainly, you cannot grow as a disciple of Christ without the word of Christ.
As a kid, I remember singing the simple song, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you will grow, grow, grow” countless times. And while we could say more about the ingredients of Christian development, we certainly cannot say less.
If you are not feeding on God’s Word, you will starve. Why is that?
God uses his word to birth and to strengthen our faith: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, ESV).