7 Tips for College Students

An email question has come in from the West Coast: "Hello Pastor John. My name is Nathan and I'm a college student in the Bay Area, California. In my first year of college, I've found your sermons and books quite helpful on the journey for joy. Thinking back to your early days at Wheaton College and your annual involvement at the Passion Conferences, what advice would you give to college students today?" Well, I jotted down seven pieces of advice. And there could have been a lot more, but I know these podcasts are supposed to be manageable. Here they are:

1. Be Loving God

Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. It is the first and the great commandment (Matthew 22:37–38). That is, use your mind, your college-educated mind, to feed the fires of the heart with the fuel of truth. Let everything you study function as a means of inflaming the heart. Put all of your intellectual and physical effort into guarding and fueling your heart. Never give in to the emotionalism which neglects thinking or the intellectualism which neglects the heart.

Loving God with the heart is the great essence of why the universe was created. Treasuring God over all things. That is what loving God means. The mind and the body — when it says love God with all the heart and the mind and the body — the mind and the body are the servants of the heart. And then the passions of the heart become visible through the mind and the body. That is number one.

2. Be Loving Others

The second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). Be a servant in college, not a self-preoccupied, self-exalting egoist. If you want to be happy, want others to be happy as much. That is what “love your neighbor as yourself” means. If you want to make good grades, want others to make good grades. If you need help with math, give Jim, give Jill help with English. If you want to be in a home for Thanksgiving, help someone else be in a home for Thanksgiving. Loving your neighbor as you love yourself doesn’t start after college.

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