1. Contemplate your sin in light of God’s grace and contemplate God’s grace in light of your sin.
When you contemplate your sin apart from God’s grace you end in despair. When you contemplate God’s grace apart from your sin you fail to see the cost of the cross. When you do both you’ll find yourself overwhelmingly thankful.
2. Remain in Community.
Doing life in community can be challenging but it’s crucial. Because we’re relational beings community is inescapable. Even if we check out of church we will end up in community. Also, communities are formative. Every community has certain values and virtues it provokes people to pursue. Remain in the Christ-focused community of the church, it will preserve your soul.
3. Ask your friends about what God is doing in their life.
Has it been a while since someone has asked you “How is your walk?” When you ask that question you are letting them know that it’s OK to talk about Jesus. It might be awkward at first but it’s worth it. This helps to form community and creates accountability—God will use this to preserve your soul.
4. Start tithing.
(and if you’ve started… give more, or in other directions) We know you only make $30 a year. That’s not the point. It’s a discipline, it has to start some time. If you already tithe, find other avenues to give. After all, He’s given you a costly gift.
5. Daily write down things you’re thankful for.
Psychologists have discovered that we more easily recall times of trauma. That means you might need to do some digging, but there are PLENTY of things to be thankful for. Make a list, daily (James 1:17).
6. Be bold about your faith.
Is Jesus really king? Are people really dwelling in spiritual death, going the wrong direction with an eternal trajectory? Does Jesus save? YES. Sure it can be awkward but in announcing God’s saving reign we often see that He does indeed reign and He does indeed save.
Maybe you’re tired of the cliche “leaders are readers” but it’s true. But reading isn’t just for leaders. In reading, we put ourselves in a posture of humility—we admit we don’t have all the answers and consult voices that do. This posture of humility, if cultivated can work its way through our life and help preserve the soul.
8. Cultivate godly confidence .
While the world longs for acceptance and validation Christians should not strive. In fact, Christians should be more confident than anyone else—the Christian should live knowing God’s deep and passionate love for them. Not because of what they’ve done, but because of what has been done for them. Let the truth that you are loved fill your life.
9. Find a rhythm.
Too many students live disjointed, random, ‘ping-pong’ ball lives. Start shaping a rhythm to your life. What do you need to provide personal health and a Godward focus? Quiet times? Yes! Exercise? Yes! Prayer? Yes!
10. Confess your sins.
With sin we often have one of two reactions. We laugh it off, “Can you believe I did that?!” Or out of shame, we conceal it. The first reaction dismisses the sin and the second allows the sin to cripple you. There is another option: confession. When you confess your sins to a friend you essentially say, “I am not where I want to be and I need your help.” This build community, creates authenticity, and is a mark of obedience (James 5:19).
11. Go to war.
While many dismiss language of spiritual warfare (and others seem too interested in it) it remains something the Bible speaks frankly about. The theologian Richard Lovelace writes, “In folk religion, the posture of the Christian towards fallen angels is defensive; in Scripture the church is on the offensive, and the blows it receives from Satan come from a retreating enemy.” Jesus says it this way: “I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you” (Luke 10:19). You have been given a sword, use it.
– Bryan Halferty