Connecting with the Lord in College

Dec 27, 2020
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I'm a freshman in college right now and I've been exploring Christian clubs and familiarizing myself more with the religion, hoping to grow closer to God, but I feel like I've just been having trouble getting a deep, personal relationship with the Lord, and I need some advice/pointers for getting to know the Lord better.

For some context, I grew up in a mostly non-religious family. My mom's Buddhist and my dad's atheist, and aside from some occasional mentions of Buddhist holidays and praying at temples when we visit my grandparents, we've never really discussed religion at all. My mom has encouraged me to explore new religions on several occasions, including having me read a simplified version of the Old Testament Bible (I don't remember much about it aside from the story about Passover).

Growing up, I've always believed that there exists a God, or some supreme being beyond the physical world, and I kind of just built upon my beliefs of this God over time through observations. It started with figuring out how the world began, and concluding that a supreme being must've created the world because everything cannot just randomly appear out of nothingness, and the laws of nature cannot just randomly be so perfect. As I grew up and heard about various miracles, including people supposedly dying and coming back to life, people who woke up from a coma speaking a completely different language, and various stories of ghosts, I began to believe in the existence of a spirit/soul that dwells temporarily in our physical bodies, that is released when we pass away. However, unlike Christians, I came to conclude that this supreme being has no interest in our lives beyond judging us after we die, and that we should never pray for things that rely on our own hard work, such as achieving good grades or getting a job.

I think I started getting drawn toward Christianity when I started hearing some people's testimonies about their experiences with the Lord, whether that be drug addicts and criminals turning their lives around after an encounter with the Lord, or people who had encounters with the Lord or angels during near death experiences, or numerous occasions where a church burned down but all the Bibles inside remained in perfect condition. I also volunteered at a local food bank run by a local church for several years, and I just felt so connected with everyone during our prayer times every morning. Around my junior year of high school, I also started having conversations with classmates about Christianity, including talking about various sects of Christianity, such as Catholicism, or just discussing the verse of the day on the Bible app.

Despite all of this interaction with Christians, I never exactly considered myself a Christian, and I didn't have a strong understanding of what Christianity really meant either. Back then I saw the Bible as just a book that taught morals by listing out stories and commandments from the Lord, and truthfully I never actually read the Bible back then aside from the few verse of the days on the Bible app. I continued to habitually sin during this period of time through greed, pride, porn, and masturbation without a second thought.

I wasn't intending to join a Christian club coming into college, but then I was invited to one of the Christian club's Bible studies and I started attending that regularly. Since then I've actively participated in 2 Christian clubs at my college, and I've been able to learn much more about the religion through Bible studies, hearing testimonies of other members of the club, and also connecting with other Christians in the club. I also took the time to read through Matthew and Mark and I'm currently reading through Luke. During this past semester I've repented of several sins I've committed that I've overlooked in the past, and I've made some progress in getting rid of my habits of sinning.

Even though I've made a lot of progress in becoming a Christian this past semester, I still feel like there's a large barrier between me and the Lord. I feel like the rope in a tug-of-war match between the Lord and Satan. Even though I've come to recognize my sins, I'm struggling to completely get rid of my habit of masturbation due to periodic urges. On top of this, I feel like I'm not invested enough in Christianity. One of the Christian clubs I'm part of often has everyone share a moment they've shared with the Lord each week during Bible studies, and while everyone is able to share very detailed, personal encounters with the Lord, even if it's something small, I've never been able to think of any such encounters, and the only thing I could think of is reading the Bible. Even then, I don't feel very connected with God when I read the Bible, and I feel like I'm not spending enough time reading the Bible either. I just feel so disappointed in myself that after a whole semester, I've only read 2.5 chapters in the Bible. Overall, Christianity just feels like another class I've decided to sign up for, where the Bible is the textbook and the exams are my interactions with other people.

Has anyone had similar experiences, and does anyone have any advice for me to be able to gain a deeper connection with the Lord? Any help is much appreciated! :)
 
Dec 5, 2020
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Seattle, WA
Your experiences in the world are like so many of us. They are not unique. It is God who opens our eyes such that we can come to know him because none can come to God unless the Father draws them (John 6:44). It sounds like God is calling you.

The Bible is God's word. It is full of instruction and has been inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16-17). As a Christian it's important to draw close to God. We do this first by listening to God which is reading his word and heeding the Spirit in us as it guides us. It also means talking to God and we do this in prayer.

Most likely their is a church near your college. If your not attending yet, you should find one. Get to know the pastor, seek advice and ask lots of questions. The pastor can help get you ready for baptism as he guides you in the basic knowledge that you need as a Christian.

Feel free to ask questions here as well. Also please join into the conversations regardless of your level of knowledge. This is the only way to truly learn.
 

bobinfaith

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I'm a freshman in college right now and I've been exploring Christian clubs and familiarizing myself more with the religion, hoping to grow closer to God, but I feel like I've just been having trouble getting a deep, personal relationship with the Lord, and I need some advice/pointers for getting to know the Lord better. For some context, I grew up in a mostly non-religious family. My mom's Buddhist and my dad's atheist, and aside from some occasional mentions of Buddhist holidays and praying at temples when we visit my grandparents, we've never really discussed religion at all. My mom has encouraged me to explore new religions on several occasions, including having me read a simplified version of the Old Testament Bible (I don't remember much about it aside from the story about Passover). Has anyone had similar experiences, and does anyone have any advice for me to be able to gain a deeper connection with the Lord? Any help is much appreciated! :)
Hello Kevint;

First off, I want to thank God for your freshman year in college! After reading your testimony I feel not only did you get your foot in the college you are now studying, but you will develop your academic discipline to complete and graduate! Press on, Kevint!

We all have experienced other's heart felt beliefs of other gods, religions, and practices, but none of those gods went to the cross and died for any of us.

Jesus did.

As you and all of us continue to grow in our faith Walk daily with God, please include your academic discipline in your personal reading, Bible study, and your personal time of talking to God, daily and each night.

God bless you, Kevint, for sharing, and Happy New Year!
 
During this past semester I've repented of several sins I've committed that I've overlooked in the past, and I've made some progress in getting rid of my habits of sinning.
I've made a lot of progress in becoming a Christian
I completely understand where you are coming from although you know best what you are going through right now. I tried to see if I could find any hints as to why you would feel you are being roadblocked to a deeper relationship with God. The citations from your post are the most glaring to me. The first question I have is have you repented or asked forgiveness? There is a difference. Repentance is more than "god forgive me for that thing'. It is an agreement with God that what you did or are doing is wrong and that you, with His help, will never do it again and if you do it truly was an accidental sin. Catholicism tells us that as long as you go confess it to another human in a box then you can go back to your life of "whoopsies". Jesus wants more than that. He wants us to commit to and make every attempt to agree with Him about sin and clean house collaboratively with Him. Another point that I saw in your statement is that it seems you are doing all the work. Jesus wants us to come to Him as we are and then we cooperate with Him as He convicts of sin. That often requires the assistance from other people or organizations more than a wow-experience. I would encourage you to ask God to search your heart and let Him show you what He sees by bringing the things that are hindering a deeper relationship with Him to your attention. Don't believe every story you hear about angel experiences or I saw Jesus in a slice of toast. People know that kind of stuff brings them attention and some people need that I suppose. Jesus wants a unique and personal relationship with you; let Him have that. Move over and seek His guidance. Sounds cheesy or cliché I am sure but when you understand you understand. Surrender to Him completely and issues that are hindering that relationship will begin to stare you in the face.

Points to remember:
Stop working so hard on fixing yourself. Search me God and I surrender, I surrender, I surrender. Trust me.
 
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