In general college students are known to be more passionate about things and pursue reform in various states of affairs. Is it because they are young and naïve? Or is it because they have “nothing to lose”. Some may argue it is a bit of both, which, pending the circumstances, may be the case. Let’s look on the plane of “having nothing to lose”. You may have heard many times over “I’m just a poor college student”, which in my experience is very true. Fact: If you don’t technically have anything, it is impossible to lose anything. Therefore, materialistically it is true; a college student has “nothing to lose”. Being in the state of having nothing to lose, naturally you develop a mindset of “having everything to gain”.
Everything can mean a lot of things: For example: It can simply mean “Everything.” Career. House. Life. Family. Dreams. None of these things are inherently bad in and of themselves, but, there is always a but…
Philippians 1:27 says “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ...”
Francis Chan uses a perfect analogy for this: Imagine an old fashion scale that has two baskets on either side of a post with a fulcrum in the middle. Put the Gospel in one of the baskets and put your life in the other basket and let the scale settle. Obviously, If we try to uphold the gospel with our flesh and not by the Spirit of Christ then we will fail miserably and the basket with the gospel in it far outweighs our lives and fleshly attempts at being Holy. But once the gospel truly fills you and your life stands on the truths of the Word, then by His grace, the scale settles evenly. We are living in light of the gospel.
“OK, cool Travis, get to the point.”
The point is this: The fervor of our youth doesn’t have to fade. Those things mentioned in the second paragraph aren’t inherently bad until they become the objects of our “everything to gain” instead of it being Christ. This attitude negates living in a manner worthy of the gospel. In my life I have seen a tendency to want Christ + something else. That something else turns into something else + something else which does not equal living in light of the gospel. Because if I take the gospel seriously we read things like “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and… follow me.” We see the words “follow me” quite a bit from Jesus, my guess is he doesn’t mean only follow me when it’s convenient for you or you’re in a squeeze. Or we pray the familiar prayer that Jesus prayed …”give us today our daily bread…” Living in light of the gospel and this prayer doesn’t mean save up a million dollars for the last ten years of your life so you can “go out with a bang”. This could mean save money until God leads you across the path of someone or something that needs the financial means you have saved. Or if we look earlier in Matthew Jesus says “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.”
Yes, I agree it’s crazy to cut off your own hand or foot physically but what about getting rid of other things in our lives that cause us to sin. All over scripture we have a call to put on the mind of Christ.. Is spending every evening watching a television before we go to bed helping us do that? Or, would a genuine, deep conversation with a spouse or a friend, uninterrupted by television, be more helpful for us to do that. Possibly, the Lord could help us put on the mind of Christ if we spent that time reading a book of substance. Don’t get me wrong television is not a sin; this isn’t about television or retirement. This is about the things that aren't considered sins, but don’t push us toward living in light of the gospel. I am currently trying to walk through what this means in my life and I would also encourage you to as well.
I don’t say these things pointing fingers at anyone but myself. The Lord is showing me that living in light of the gospel is a higher calling than living in self centered convenience. I pray that we are continually in prayer for the Spirit to show us what this means. He is so patient with me. My heart yearns for Him in my life. It’s His power. His grace. Again, Amazing grace.