Have you ever tried to list out all the different dating advice you've heard — even just the advice from other Christians? Here's my golden rule.
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Odds are, whatever denominational background or style of worship you have come from, there will be an on-campus ministry that reflects that. Go to the weekly Bible study. Plug in deeper through smaller groups. Being a student is now your job. You have prepared for this role for most of your life under the support and guidance of your parents.
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Your whole academic life has been leading up to this moment. Be a good student. Learn, grow, and set goals for the future.
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Do the best you can do to please God with your work. Someone once told me that college is more about learning how to think well than about getting good grades. The beauty of all of us being individuals is that each of us are invited to play a role in doing something to make the world a better place. This invitation to do something is known as a calling. For example, I care deeply for orphans. At first, I had no idea what I could even do about it. But in college, I had the opportunity to begin sponsoring a child with Compassion International.
Then, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Ghana, Africa, through the Wesley Foundation where I visited a specific orphanage. Now, I am the executive director of a non-profit that raises support and care for that specific orphanage. All this came to be because I had passion for it. My campus minister quoted Frederick Buechner one night, and it changed my whole perspective on calling: What do you feel led to do? If soil represents life, then everything I do has the potential to plant seeds, which can produce fruit—both good fruit and bad fruit.
What do I mean by this?
Go to the gym. Limit social media use. Learn to argue well.
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Be a good friend. This will produce good fruit in your life now and through the years to come. What kind of person do you want to be? These are important questions to ask yourself before going to college. Honor your values and choices ahead of time. Flee from morally compromising situations, and engage in life-giving things. Protect your reputation and integrity. Select friends with similar values and lifestyles as yours.
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Every year at the Wesley Foundation, I give the same advice to freshmen over and over again: Instead, get to know people—all kinds of people. Dating is less than a century old, and the Scriptures were written thousands of years ago. What the Bible does talk about is sex, marriage, and relationships. Take this opportunity to learn skills in being a good listener and communicator.
Learn how to settle disagreements well. Put the fruit of the Spirit in action every day before you even leave your room: What once defined you for years no longer defines you in college. So far, so good. But then…somehow it comes out…you listen to secular music. Not just Pop music either, but the unfathomable—90s grunge.
Temple of the Dog. And suddenly your spiritual maturity is under question. Jesus loves Kurt Cobain too, okay? So finding love as a Christian can be a struggle sometimes. You probably wonder why God made romantic relationships so stinking hard if he wanted us to have them. Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again. Sign up for the Thought Catalog Weekly and get the best stories from the week to your inbox every Friday.
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5 Ultimate Struggles Of Modern Dating (For Christians)
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