Written by Jonah Albrecht / October 2017
One of my biggest fears in life is finding out that someone I care about dearly has fallen away from God. Knowing the truth of the Gospel message and seeing them reject it would not be easy to bear. I care deeply about my Christian faith, and I also care deeply about other people’s saving faith.
Attending college at Immanuel Lutheran College doesn’t present me with the same trials and temptations that my friends, who go to public colleges, face on a daily basis. This makes it difficult to understand the pressures put on their faith from professors, secular friends, or even random people on the street. What can I say then to encourage them in their faith?
As Christians we know God is with us wherever we are in the world, especially when we gather with fellow Christians. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Christians are to be strengthened by each other, edified in love through the church. But maybe there aren’t always fellow members of the CLC where they are, maybe there isn’t a church close enough to their school to attend on a weekly basis. That doesn’t mean, as their brothers and sisters in Christ, we should leave them there alone.
Paul reminds us of the importance of prayer in Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Prayer can go a long way in strengthening your fellow Christians. God promised to hear our prayer and to do with them according to His will. His will is for all mankind to be saved, He will send His spirit to strengthen those who need it.
There are still going to be temptations and there are still going to be those that hate us. The question is: Will we be willing to stand up for our faith when temptations are brought our way?
Law. One of the biggest temptations facing young adults today is spiritual pride. Any Christian at any point in their life can face this temptation. You may think that you are strong enough to face whatever the devil throws your way. God reminds us that we aren’t. We are still sinners and when we rely on our own reason and understanding in these matters, it sets us up for failure. “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. Our hearts are evil and infected with sin. We can’t trust our old Adam. Our old Adam wants to go away from God and the devil exploits that. Remind your fellow Christian of the dangers of spiritual pride and that they too are susceptible.
Gospel. Again, as Christians we know that we cannot be left under the pressure of the law. Matching our lives against the law will only lead to despair and a loss of hope. God knew we couldn’t keep His law, and that is the reason He gave us the New Covenant through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. When your faith is being bombarded, it is essential to remember where to keep your focus: On the Cross of Jesus. That is the core of our faith. 1 Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” Comfort your fellow Christian and remind them of the joy we have through the death and resurrection of their Savior.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, there are going to be those who hate Christians. Jesus said in Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Public college, private college, secular college that bashes Christianity, or Lutheran college that surrounds you with God’s Word. There are still going to be temptations and there are still going to be those that hate us. The question is: Will we be willing to stand up for our faith when temptations are brought our way?
That brings me to my last point of Witness. This is probably the hardest thing for someone facing criticism of Christianity to do. No one is exempt, we all will deal with people bashing our faith. Encouraging each other to stand up for their faith is no easy task either. I can remember playing sports for the public school in Okabena, Minnesota. Countless times kids would swear or take God’s name in vain. I didn’t say anything because I was afraid of what they would say, what they would think of me. Even in high school, at a Lutheran High School, I didn’t always stand up for what I knew was right according to God: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
God gives us many different methods to help our brothers and sisters when they face temptations. Pray for them and put their well being in the hands of the Lord. Remind them that they are sinners daily and are in need of a Savior. Call them back to the cross. Give them the encouragement that the Gospel so richly provides. Remind them that their Savior died so they may live. Encourage them. Encourage them to stand up for their faith even if people will stop talking to them for it, or hate them for it. The salvation that is theirs is more important than what other people think. As Paul proclaims in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”