Students, thanks for hanging with us through these First 30 devotionals for college students. I promise the spiritual investment you make in yourself will pay dividends for years to come. As we wrap up this First 30 series, I pray that the spiritual investment will continue. I pray that college will not be a time to simply survive, but to thrive.
As you face the rest of your first year in college (or work, military, etc.), I hope you never forget three things. These three things are so important, I had them engraved on a challenge coin for each of my graduating students. If you are not familiar with a challenge coin, here is the significance…
Challenge coins are a longstanding tradition in the military that builds camaraderie and signifies a person is a member of a special group. Challenge coins serve as a symbol of identity, a source of pride, and a reminder of the support that one has behind them. We have a special challenge coin minted for our graduating class in hopes they serve as a constant reminder of their identity and values.
Let the features of this coin remind you of:
– Your Identity (Cross):
On the front of the coin is a cross (specifically the one we use in our Sugar Hill Church logo). Let this always remind you to find your identity in Christ & what He has done for you.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. – 1 Cor. 15:3-4
Jesus really is the BIGGEST DEAL! What he did on the cross and in raising from the grave three days later are the most significant events in all of history. Because of the cross, our sins can be forgiven (Romans 3:23-25), we can be reconciled to God (Romans 4:25), we can experience abundant life (John 10:10), and our eternal home can be heaven (John 14:1-4).
Belief in the events surrounding the cross of Christ is what separates Christianity from every other world religion and faith system. It is not only the cornerstone of our faith, but also of our identity.
Let your identity always be rooted in:
- The priceless value God has given you (Psalm 139:13-14, Ephesians 2:10)
- How Jesus proved that value on the cross (Romans 5:8)
- How you realize that value & purpose in relationship with Christ (1 John 3:1, 2 Corinthians 5:20)
– Your Support (“Welcome Home”):
Next to the cross on the front of the coins there is “Sugar Hill Church – Welcome Home.” We want you to know that no matter how far you may go, you are always “welcome home.” This is always your home & we always have your back. God never intended us to live life alone.
We were created to live in community. Throughout Scripture, we see that community is a big deal. (Genesis 2:18, Proverbs 27:17, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Romans 12:4-5,10, Romans 15:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Community in context of the church is modeled for us in the Bible. Acts 2 describes the early church,
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
If you are away for college, we hope and pray you make it a priority to actively be a part of (& serve) a local church that makes the Bible a big deal, Jesus the biggest deal, and serving the way you show the love of Christ to your community. If you are close by, we hope and pray that you actively serve and grow in your faith at Sugar Hill Church.
Whether home or away, know that you will always have a home at Sugar Hill Church. You will always have pastors, mentors, and leaders who love you and want the best for you. We want to be friends and family for life!
– Your Foundation (Grounded for Life – Jeremiah 17:8):
On the back of the coin is a large green tree with the words “Grounded for Life” and the Scripture reference Jeremiah 17:8. This verse speaks about those who put their trust in the Lord –
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. – Jer. 17:8
The tree is a picture of the life we want you to live. There will certainly be tough times ahead in life, Jesus even assured his disciples of this (John 16:33). But as you continue to trust in the Lord, you can have a foundation (“roots”) that offer stability in hardship and peace in uncertain times. In fact, even in the toughest days, you can thrive and “never stop producing fruit.”
As you continue to trust in the Lord, & intentionally live according to His Word, you truly can be Grounded for Life; that is, grounded to experience abundant life, and grounded for the duration of your life. You really don’t have to be a statistic of someone who fell away from their faith in college. You can fully enjoy the college experience without the regret, stress and disharmony of an inconsistent or lost faith. God wants the very best for you! This is discovered and lived in consistent relationship with Christ.
Check your pockets…
I encourage you to put your coin where you can see it everyday. Some days, you may need to physically carry it with you, and check your pockets often. (We all have days like that.) Whether you physically carry your coins or not, I pray that they will serve as constant reminders of your faith, family, & friends. Always know that God has got you & we are with you!!!
This devotional is one in Sugar Hill Church’s First 30 devotional series for college students.
To access the podcast of this devotional and the entire series, click here.
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