College is the time of self-discovery. This can take on any variety of behavior from finding someone to marry, to what career path to pursue, to the age old question “who am I?!”, to how many beers can I chug before I pass out? A college student discovers many things about themselves during their few years into emerging adulthood. It is a time of emerging from their childhood, a time where they don’t have to do what mom and dad says, a time to drown the sorrows of their failed adolescence, a time to be “young and free,” and a time to find out what life is all about…however…many look in all the wrong places…
Ecclesiastes is one of what is considered the “Five Scrolls” in the Old Testament writings. In this book Solomon’s wisdom is portrayed as this man who considered and did anything and everything he wanted to do. Basically, he is characterized, at least in my mind, as a college guy who just felt like doing something crazy and fun and did not keep himself from doing anything in life, but lived the famous motra “Live life to the fullest!” This concept is echoed in our modern society. People “live it up” in many different ways, but the most common is to get inebriated on some substance, typically alcohol and do random and seemingly “crazy and exciting” things. Like making a battle ax out of a beer box. Along this journey…not just of frat guys…but all college students…are on this road to self-discovery, seeking freedom after childhood, and unhindered “not keeping my hand from anything.”
Solomon found out later in his life that living a crazy life of adventure and unhindered wickedness does not bring joy or fulfillment at all like he thought it would. In the English Standard Version, in reference to life and the pursuits of man’s heart, Solomon uses the word “vanity” 30 times. “I did such and such and it was vanity…I tried that and it was vanity.” Vanity – unfulfilling, unworthy of time, energy, and affection. All of life is vanity! Everything Solomon found was vain…unfulfilling…unworthy of his time, energy, and affection…that’s very depressing.
He DID find fulfillment and purpose in one thing. Fear God and do what He says. Purpose! Meaning! Fulfillment! Solomon has found the very joy which has enlightened men’s and women’s hearts for millennia. YHWH!! The LORD God the universe is the key to life.
Dear college student who thinks life revolves around the next big party, doing crazy things to have stories when you’re 90 years old, and elevating yourself and degrading others for the sake of your own personal life…hear this word from a former frat guy who didn’t find his stories from his crazy days to be of praiseworthy note. Fear God and do what He says! It’s not that we have too many passions…it’s that we aren’t passionate enough to find what truly brings joy and fulfillment to our lives, it’s knowing Jesus and being known by Him, loving and being loved by a good heavenly Father who will never leave us nor forsake us, who has promised ultimate, unbridled, overwhelming, and uncontrollable joy and life to be found in Him, glorifying Him, worshiping Him, serving Him.
Because of these great and fulfilling words from scripture, college students have faith! You can live your life through college and early adulthood devoted to Christ, and come out on the other side joyful, closer to Christ than when you started, devoted to God’s purposes, drug and STD free, having a healthy body, mind, and soul without guilt or shame. If you have “lived it up” recognize that life is not about these temporary pleasures and find joy in Christ. Thousands of college students across the world choose life everyday. Choose life! Real and true life that will not fail. If you have settled for less than God’s best, turn and run to Jesus, throw open your arms, cherish His grace and mercy, and breath in His word and find joy in the pleasure of His Holy Spirit! Join with millions of brothers and sisters across the world to say “We are going to live life differently! We are going to stand up against a world that teaches a lesser version of what it means to be ‘cool’ or ‘fulfilled.’ We are going to truly live life to the fullest. Honor God and do what He says!”