I am just a college girl trying to follow Jesus.
I am aware that there are many of you out there who share the same goal as me. That is why I want to begin documenting what I learn as a growing disciple of Jesus. I want to be able to encourage other sisters out there that you are not alone! Yes, we are in the minority. College is filled with many distractions and struggles, and I am sure that you can fill in the blank as to what specifically makes you stumble. Whether it is the fear of missing out in what the world has to offer or the undeniable nagging feeling of persistent stress levels, I am learning that the college stage of life overflows with challenges. It is a time of development and growth, especially spiritually. I am not perfect. I will not put on the front like I am. But I have made a conscious decision to make Jesus Lord, and that is the conviction that I have promised to upkeep, even in the most difficult of circumstances on campus or in my daily living.
Just a little bit about myself…
My name is Josie. I am currently a student at Iowa State University going to school for my Bachelor’s in English. I am originally from the great state of Texas, but moved to the Midwest after I was baptized at Texas State University. I am an avid hammocker (yes I am aware that is not a real word, but I just made it one) and enjoy writing and singing in my spare time. The best thing to do in my free moments, though, is to LOVE JESUS! Super cheesy answer, I know, but it really does far exceed anything else I do. And hey, that’s a pretty sweet transition to my next paragraph…
I have been studying out godly love within the past few weeks in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
In it, we see love as an action, not an emotion. In reading this passage and parsing it apart for weeks at a time, I have had to read this in two different contexts. 1)This is what I am called to do as a follower of Christ, and 2) This is who God is and what he does. Love doesn’t depend on our own strength, either. This love that we are called to exhibit as disciples is something that our mere flesh is incapable of. Agape love requires us to be dependent on God for our strength. He calls us to express a supernatural response to our brothers and sisters, and furthermore, the world. Love is all of the actions listed in 1 Corinthians 13, not just a select few. I think of Luke 9:23, in which we are called to deny ourselves constantly and unswervingly. Loving in the same manner that God loves forces us to die to our human instincts and emotions, and love, regardless of how we feel or how others treat us. Rather than describe what love is, we get a definition of deliberate actions. There is no room for abstract concepts.
Coming from the world, I can recall trying to reproduce this love in my own life. I was searching for a true love and could not find it in its purest form, so I tried to make love up for what I interpreted it to be. I saw it as an emotion. My understanding of love was shallow, conditional, and dependent on my feelings. It is something every human craves, we are designed to be loved, after all! It is a love that is so desirable, yet so hard to mimic. The world sees this unconditional love, this agape love, and tries to imitate it. It is played out in the media of our society, in the music that is produced, in the personas of individuals that are in the dark. True love is desired by all, but impossible to offer in the flesh alone. Even within the church, people imitate a love that is so much like Jesus that it seems legitimate and genuine. What tends to happen is a checklist is formed, a checklist of all the effects of love but no motivation behind it. So instead of being driven by agape love, disciples trade in a genuine love for a counterfeit one. When this occurs, a checklist of things to do for God is concocted. Read bible today? Check. Reach out to a few strangers? Check. Encourage my brother or sister? Check. They become almost apathetic and forget the reason behind the good deeds, that of which is love. Furthermore, when the checklist doesn’t get checked off, they define their relationship with God as weaker or not as productive. These actions are great, but what is the true, pure motivation behind it all? Strive for a relationship rather than a checklist. Strive for agape love rather a cheap knock-off. Strive to live out love rather than parade it around for show.
I appreciate your time in reading my thoughts and discoveries when it comes to God’s word. I would super appreciate any feedback, comments, or thoughts! Hope that you have been encouraged to radiate love on campus!