“I didn’t know who I was. Life was terrible. I couldn’t find myself. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. But I started drinking and sleeping around, and now I’ve got it all put together.” I’ve talked with a lot of college students over the years, but not one has ever said that to me. I’ve never heard anyone say that because life doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, entire generations are being taught otherwise.
I’ve been a pastor, a father, and a grandfather for long enough to know a thing or two about life, and I believe our culture owes our young people a big apology.
Don’t believe the lie.
Our young people have been told a horrible lie. By the time they get to college, many of them have been viewing pornography for years, and they’ve gotten caught up in the idea that college is a time for sexual experimentation, drinking, and drug use. Some of these students want to go to college because they think they’ll find a lot of freedom in promiscuity, carousing, and drinking.
They’ve literally been told that sexual experimentation will help them discover who they are. By the time students learn this isn’t true, their vices have already left their souls scarred and mangled.
We are sinners.
I recall hearing a man of great integrity say recently, “I am a person of irreproachable moral character, who at any moment may plunge into moral oblivion.” He was acutely aware that, although he had lived his life with moral integrity, he couldn’t take his own virtue for granted. He still had a great capacity for sin, and at any moment he might make a decision that would set him on the path to moral oblivion. It’s important for each of us to recognize that fact about ourselves.
Despite what the culture will tell you, drunkenness and promiscuity will not help you become the person God intends you to be. To the contrary—if you rebel against God’s standards for sexual purity, you will become less than human.
What should you do with your time in college?
You will enjoy life a great deal more if you live with integrity. College is not a time for drunkenness and carousing. It is a time to enjoy good friends, good conversations, and great books. The greatest joys in your life will come from being with friends, having good food and good conversation, and talking and thinking about good, true, and beautiful things. These are the experiences that will stick with you after you graduate, so don’t waste your time on anything less. You’ve had enough time to ruin your life already, however young you are. The college years are times of enormous opportunity, testing, and danger—live faithfully.
You will be tempted, and if you’re of college age, you will be especially tempted to act out in ways that will hurt you for the rest of your life. How will you handle temptation?
Listen to the Apostle Peter: “Resist him [the devil], firm in your faith…” (1 Peter 5:9). But how do you do that? What does it mean to “resist the devil”? I’ll unpack that in my next blog post, when I take a look at the painful rebuke Peter was remembering when he told his readers to “watch and pray.”
The previous was adapted by Rachel Motte from Dr. Sloan’s convocation address at Houston Baptist University on August 29, 2012. A video of his original presentation may be viewed here.