College students, you made it through finals and are finally rewarded with a much deserved break! Believe it or not, Christmas break is a critical time for you personally in your walk with God. The holiday season is more than a reprieve from school, finals and dorm life. It is more than a time to catch up on sleep, spend extended time with family and get a bunch of gifts.
I TRULY BELIEVE CHRISTMAS BREAK IS CRITICAL BECAUSE YOU HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN GROUND IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.
God has done a lot in you, through you and around you this past semester, and He desires for the seeds of faith, hope, life, freedom, breakthrough and revelation to continue to bear fruit and send you into the year of 2018 with strength and power.
However, there is one who stands in direct opposition to God’s desire and design, and that enemy is the accuser himself, the Devil. Satan seeks to shift your gear from a drive and direction toward God into neutral so you reverse to old patterns, behaviors and temptations. This break, you have the choice to take ground in Jesus or to lose ground to the enemy. “Greater is He who is in you than any power that is in this world” (1 John 4:4). I am confident that this Christmas break, you will be those that do not shrink back but those that press in and take ground.
HERE ARE THREE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO MOVE FORWARD AND GO FURTHER IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS:
- Lean into Jesus and community // Jesus said it best when He reminded His disciples in John 15:5, “for apart from me you can do nothing.” You and I both need consistent and powerful personal connections with Jesus to stay strong in faith, full of hope and capable to fight temptations and serve others. We cannot take ground if we are not grounded in truth every morning. Make it a priority to start each day with set aside time to dive into the Word, set your gaze on Jesus in worship and dialogue with God through prayer. Not only is it essential for us to lean into Jesus, but we also need to lean into community while we are home for the holidays. When you feel weak, isolated, discouraged or tempted, reach out to your community by text or phone calls to strengthen you through prayer and encouragement. As you have learned this semester, light exposes darkness. We will lose ground if we keep sin in the dark from people. This Christmas, be sure to lean in and take ground.
- Be intentional to serve // “Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord (Romans 12:11)”. Taking initiative to serve your parents, siblings, neighbors, and others around you will accelerate your hunger for God and allow the revelations you have gained to take root in your heart. Don’t expect revival and restoration in your family if you are not willing to roll up your sleeves and serve your mom and dad, brother and sister. Make a list of two to three ways you could show kindness to your family by serving. Beat your mom to the dishes, do not allow your dad to have to take out the trash, volunteer to be the taxi driver to your younger siblings. Your family will listen to your words as you display your heart with your actions. This Christmas, roll up your sleeves and take some ground.
- Tackle temptations // “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).” I am sure the sins of your past and schemes of the devil are already crouching at your door (Genesis 4:7-8). Since the beginning, the devil has sought to tempt, distract and disillusion God-lovers from the truth. Decide today that you will not give way to his schemes. Our College Pastor Carl Gulley called these temptations, CORNERS, in his sermon on the, “young man lacking sense” from Proverbs. I encourage you to daily put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6), identify your corners (apathy, ex-boyfriend, binge-TV, pornography, masturbation, slanderous speech, jealousy, etc…) and distance yourself from them. This Christmas, choose to take ground and not return to past corners.
You can do it! This is going to be a transformative Christmas break for you as you seek to lean into Jesus and others, be intentional to serve and tackle temptations. Three to four weeks at home can be daunting for some of you. However, if you try and WIN your first three days by taking these steps, I have faith you will return to school refreshed, refueled and strengthened for all that 2018 has for you! Stay LIT this Christmas: lean into Jesus, be intentional to serve and tackle temptation. We believe in you!
By Maddie Phenix – Associate College Pastor