Written by Lydia Albrecht, Lauren Lisak, Abby Sydow, and Caleb Gerbitz / November 2015
At this time of the year, many students feel the weight of papers, finals, and the coming holidays upon them. Personal issues such as job stressors, car problems, money constraints, and relationships become added burdens. At these times, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and lose sight of what is most important.
We may forget to spend time in the Word, prayer, and fellowship. However, it is often in these times that our faith is tried the most, and it is of the greatest importance to keep the promises and blessings of our Lord in mind.
One of the most important ways we do this is by daily reading the Word. Far too often, we find ourselves making excuses to avoid daily devotions and Bible readings. We prioritize other things above reading God’s Word because we have other things to do that seem to be more pressing. However, these issues pale in comparison to the benefits we reap from time spent in the Word. Proverbs 18:10 makes this point clear, “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” The insight we find in God’s Word is vital in every aspect of our lives, and it is especially in trying times that the Lord promises, “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him,” (Proverbs 30:5). For our spiritual well-being, Daily reading the Bible is a top priority. So is attending church. When we attend church services, Christ himself speaks to us, through the Pastor, assuring us of our forgiveness, teaching us, administering the sacraments, and blessing us.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)
Also important is time spent in prayer. Consider Ephesians 6:18, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” God encourages us to pray in every situation and promises that when we do, He listens no matter how big or small the issue may seem. Our prayers are always answered, not necessarily in the way we think best, but always in the way that is most beneficial to us and our faith. When our lives get busy, our thoughts tend to be occupied by our day-to-day responsibilities, and we neglect to spend time in prayer. When this happens we can consider the words of the Psalmist, “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer,” (Psalm 17:6). No matter the situation, let our thoughts always turn to God in prayer.
Another essential aspect of Christian growth is spending time in fellowship with other believers. As students and young adults, we frequently meet people who do not hold the same beliefs or values as we do. Of course, having these people as friends is a blessing, and they present an excellent opportunity for witnessing. However, it is also important that we grow with people who share our faith. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We encourage one another in fellowship by attending church, taking the Lord’s Supper, going to Bible class, and keeping in touch with Christian friends. God uses this Christian fellowship as a tool for building one another up no matter the situation. When we join together in fellowship, we remind each other of God’s promises: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5); “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28); “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). Above all, we remind one another of what Christ has done for us and the eternal life that awaits us. With these promises in mind, we will want to be sure that spending time in fellowship remains a priority in our lives.
We have been told many times that managing priorities is the key to limiting our stress, especially during early adulthood. When it comes to prioritizing time spent in God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship, this could not be more true. Far too often, we see our busy lives pushing these spiritual blessings to the back burner, thinking we will spend more time with them when our lives become less busy. But in reality, this mentality is spiritually dangerous. It is only through the regular use of God’s Word, prayer, fellowship, and sacraments that we endure daily struggles, keep the faith, and will one day be with our Lord in eternal life where all of our current difficulties will be no more. Then, when that day comes, we will say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7a)