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University Challenge: A challenge to Christian young people beginning at university

September 2002 | by Tim Mills

Welcome to your new life as a student! Welcome to a thousand new challenges! Here are six more. Will you take them on? Away from home and away from school…

Think God

Even before you think ‘degree’ or ‘romance’ or ‘independence’ or ‘fun’ — think Christ. Your Maker, Judge and Saviour demands the first place in your thoughts, your affections and your plans.

Think about this Bible sentence: Romans 11:36.

Think weeks

Away from home and away from school it is up to you, more than ever, to manage your own life. It could be interesting. It could be a disaster.

But God has helped you by dividing your life and university-terms into weeks. How kind of God that our lives are not an endless stream of indistinguishable days, but instead are broken up into seven-day cycles, with one day set apart for the worship of the living God. What a marvellously manageable unit a week is!

Take time to speculate about the whole of your life. How long will God give you in this world? Sometimes plan for a whole term. But fundamentally, think weeks.

Think in weeks because that is the pattern God himself has set.

Think about these Bible chapters: Genesis 1-2.

Think work

To help us manage our lives, God has done more than invent the week. He has told us how to spend it. Six whole days of every week are for working.

The Bible does say that we may squeeze some leisure into a working day. But fundamentally six days of every week are for work. Work is a good thing. It is a gift from God.

Away from home and away from school, it will be easy to sleep in, doss around, and do as little work as you can get away with. But you should be a worker. Work for six days every week.

God says: ‘Six days you shall labour…’ He says we should not keep company with lazy believers. Even when lectures are few, we must still work.

Find something else to do. Clean the cooker. Cut an old lady’s hedge. Not to work is to rebel against God. He wants us to lie down at night tired by our work. Make time to read the Bible and pray. But mainly, on these days, worship God through your work.

Think about these Bible verses: Exodus 20:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,11-12.

Think Sunday

But for one day every week God expects us to put our work down, along with our pleasures and leisures, and devote this day to God and to worship with his people. This is a great gift from God.

It is the first day of the week, the day the Lord Jesus came back from the dead. We know it as Sunday. It ought to have a better name — the Lord’s Day.

Away from home and away from school, it will be easy not to worship God. It will be easy not to go to church. But youshould give one day every week to Christ’s glory — the whole day.

Reserve this day for your Lord and Saviour entirely. Rest from work, for you will return to it refreshed. Have a day clear of your normal duties and pleasures, and a completely clear conscience about it.

But don’t sleep all day. Be more awake than ever. This is the day for concentrating on God. Actually, it is for delightingin him and in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the most important day of the week.

Plan your whole week so that you are ready for the mental, spiritual and emotional exertions of public worship. Give God your most alert attention. Do not fit God and Sunday around everything else. Fit everything else around God and Sunday.

Think about these Bible sentences: Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Isaiah 58:13-14; Acts 20:6-7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10.

Think church

The best way to devote the Lord’s Day to God is to join with other worshippers at church. God expects his people to meet together to worship him in Bible-believing churches. For most of us, one service will not be enough.

Find one church and stick to it. It is sometimes easier to go to one church this week and another church next week. Your first month in your new home, you could experiment with several churches. But after that, don’t be a rolling stone!

Commit yourself to one particular church. Do not think of ‘church’ simply in terms of public services at which you may (or may not) turn up, as you feel. Think of church as a group of people who are committed not only to God, but to one another.

They are limbs and organs of a body, the body of Christ. They love and they serve one another. Don’t pretend that you are serving some invisible, universal church if you are not serving real people to whom you are bound and committed in a local congregation.

Perhaps you are part of a church body back at home. So why not in term time commit yourself to one church near your place of study? And give that church a chance to commit itself to you. It could be the beginning of a lifelong relationship.

Think about this Bible verse and chapter: Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 12.

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