Opinion: By the Grace of God

Jason Robert Rich

In life, many folks look for the path of least resistance. Numerous people do not go to school because they see the difficulty of finishing a degree as insurmountable. This could be due to a learning disability or the culture they grew up in.

The path of least resistance would say, “Find a job. It can be any job. Do not get student loans. They are too great a risk for information you can find online.” The path of least resistance always ends up the longest route to success.

There is no lifehack to becoming successful. The pursuit of a ploy to make life easier, without effort, will always make it harder. The challenge of completing a college degree can be a conduit for great achievement. The hard road leads to personal enrichment. This is true for both education and for the spiritual. In education, you gain knowledge, skills, and perseverance. Perseverance is a most necessary character trait for victory in Christ.

Perseverance is the extension of faith when there is no sign signifying the end of misery or struggles. It is persistence after the impulses of motivation have all but abandoned you.

Anyone can take the road to success. It is not easy. That road demands everything you have to give. All must be sacrificed to the will of God. What we have is not ours.

The road of perseverance is the road to Christ. The Bible puts it, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV)

This means to take the difficult path is to struggle and plead with God to take the bondage of sin away. Test if what you know is true by the standard of God’s word. Seek a daily path with God. A person’s power alone will not succeed. It is with the power of God that we can take the difficult path. Measure what you are learning in class against the word of God. True knowledge is not in facts. Rather, it is in the ability to think critically. Going to college is a great blessing and privilege. It provides knowledge and a platform for success. There are a few things that are needed for education to be complete. These things should be the tools people leave Southwestern with.

  • Perseverance
  • Humility
  • Discipline

Southwestern should teach perseverance in faith, education, and work. Change does not happen overnight. It is important for anything you set your mind to that you do not give in at the first sign of difficulty.

Persevere in humility. Life demands that you do things you do not want to do. There are things you must do even if you think you should not have to. These things habitually transgress your ego.

Your first job after school may be one that is humbling. Do all things to the best of your ability. Staying humble and doing unpleasant jobs will open doors to greater opportunities. Discipline is taking control of your life by letting go of self. It is gaining freedom by letting go of the slavery of your sin. Sin is bondage. The grace of God is freedom. Sin is death. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice is life. What is SWAU doing well? How can it improve?

Southwestern Adventist University seeks to teach students about the Adventist faith. This is a beautiful faith. Everybody has to take religion classes. This helps students persevere with God by showing them different aspects of God’s love.

Along the same lines, many professors have devotional thoughts or another spiritual opening to each class. Worship credit, putting controversy aside, helps students develop discipline and a relationship with Christ. There are spiritual events and small groups. There are corporate worship opportunities. What a student gets from all of these opportunities can depend on their humility, perseverance, and discipline.

SWAU seeks to connect students with opportunities for internships and work. There is always room for improvement. Professors could connect each day’s lesson to a biblical lesson that illustrates the lesson well. They can also try to establish a spiritual comradery within each department and Southwestern as a whole. This would help each student maintain these traits.

Southwestern should develop an atmosphere of prayer. While the papers the business department implemented did not pan out as planned, they should be adjusted to better fit the student body. There are many things Southwestern could do to boost spirituality. If we put our heads together, God could lead us to be the spiritual Adventist university, not just the most affordable.

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