Faith Unashamed: How to Keep Your Convictions Strong In Difficult Circumstances - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Faith
January 18, 2018

Faith Unashamed: How to Keep Your Convictions Strong In Difficult Circumstances

Americans profess religious acceptance, but sadly, many Christians suffer ridicule on a daily basis. Those who regularly attend church or avoid the party lifestyle may experience surprising backlash. Even when others appear to accept different lifestyles or belief systems, it can still be difficult to go against the grain. Ultimately, exercising faith in these difficult times takes courage.

Not sure how to build and express pride in your faith? Getting started can be tough, but with a little guidance and motivation, you can make the most of any situation. Read on for inspiration and actionable suggestions:
Think Long-Term
At the moment, pushback from fellow students may seem unbearable. Before you succumb to peer pressure, take the long view. In 10 years, how will you regard your current struggles? Take action now with confidence to build a stronger relationship with Christ.

In times of turmoil, look to the Bible for perspective. For example, Proverbs 3:6 advises, "In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your path." Romans 12:2 may also offer solace: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."


Look to Christian Figures for Inspiration
You might currently feel alone, but that's far from true. Throughout history and even today, many Christians have faced considerable pushback. The ultimate example? Jesus, who faced rejection on an extreme level. Several others highlighted in the Bible suffered or even died for their beliefs. The apostle Paul was both responsible for persecution (as Saul) and the sufferer of it. Peter advised fellow believers, "Be glad that you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed."

In addition to rereading Bible stories, seek inspiration in recent history. For example, many Christians faced persecution in Nazi Germany as they protested and even hid innocents, at great risk to their own lives. During the Civil Rights era, Martin Luther King, Jr. called upon theology to explain the need for an end to discriminatory practices.


Find Supportive Friends
This suggestion may seem obvious, but it's easier said than done. Thankfully, like-minded individuals can be found even on the most party-heavy campus. Faith-based organizations are a great place to start. You can also find kindhearted people in your classes, in your residence hall, or in a variety of other settings. Don't be afraid to bring up your faith and the role it plays in your daily life. What's the worst that can happen? You can handle a negative remark or two, but in all likelihood, your efforts will result in new friendships.

If you're currently exploring colleges and you're worried about the prospect of being dragged into a party culture, consider attending a university that emphasizes faith in all walks of life. Surrounded by others who prioritize their relationship with Christ, you'll thrive while still enjoying plenty of opportunities to share your faith. Keep this in mind if you're currently attending college but unsatisfied with your university — perhaps transferring to a school with a better environment would serve you well.
No matter where you attend college or which field you pursue after graduating, fellowship with other believers will help you feel less alone in a secular world. Humans naturally crave acceptance, and as a person of faith, you're most apt to find it in a local church.

Find Common Ground
While those who share your beliefs can lend valuable support in times of turmoil, you'll eventually need to interact with those who hold a radically different worldview. Yes, certain situations are worth avoiding, but there is no need to shy away from all those who express skepticism towards your faith.

Remember: you hold more in common with skeptics than you think. Yes, others may attend wild parties or scoff at Christianity, but when they're not posturing for others, they could feel just as alone or pressured as you do. At surface level, it's impossible to truly understand the scope of another person's daily struggles. Forgive those who speak ill of your faith and pray for them; they may need your empathy and support the most.

As you converse with skeptics, listen carefully to their point of view. True communication is not possible if you focus on shouting down the other side. Rather than dismiss the other person, consider his or her arguments before formulating an empathetic response. By challenging your faith, you can actually strengthen it.

It's only natural to feel lost or alone in today's chaotic world. Look to fellow believers and the word of God for support as you strive to live your faith.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in the field of human services. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your ministry goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.