Recently, I was at a party with many of my old friends from high school. I hadn’t seen most of them since graduation two years before. As I made my rounds and heard what new adventures my old high school cronies had undertaken at college, I made a sad realization: many of my friends had not done much with the past two years of their lives.

When I asked my friends what they had been up to, the most common response I heard was: “you know, I’ve just been hangin’ out, partying and working.” (The translation of these words are as follows: hangin’ out = sleeping and or sitting around; partying = sitting around at a friend’s or girlfriend’s house drinking beer and watching TV with more than 5 people; and working = sitting around at a low wage job to help pay for “hanging out” and or “partying”.)

While these responses definitely do not define the lifestyle of all students, many of us find ourselves with a similar attitude at some point in our lives; just sort of existing and doing whatever we want or whatever everyone else wants us to do, without much of an intentional “game plan.”

Now life surely calls for times to relax and cut loose a bit, but it seems like many students primary pursuit in life doesnt extend a whole lot farther than just that, relaxing and cutting loose. “Hanging out” is too often their only source of fulfillment, fun, and excitement week after week after week. The problem is that true fulfillment can never truly be found in these things. Joy, fulfillment, happiness, meaning and the deepest sense of self-purpose come when we are challenged and even more deeply, only come from God.

Life has a deeper meaning when we have a passion that is deeper than our own selfish interests. Endeavors that are rich with purpose provide more meaning as well. As Christians, passion and deep meaning is found only in God’s Word, sacraments and centrally in Christ alone. Our passion is to follow him and our most purposeful endeavor is to witness His Gospel. Our hearts desire fulfillment, purpose, excitement and joy desires that only Jesus can truly satisfy.

So how do we escape the patterns of this world? How do we escape the trends that culture seductively offers into our lives? Left to our own patterns, we don’t escape, but through Christ we, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”. I know that it may sound corny and redundant but the fact is that there is no other way. Any other kind of discipline or obedience simply creates a lifetime of behavior modification in which there is no true change of heart. Only Jesus changes hearts and He will change our minds. He will renew our desire to follow His way instead of caving to pressures of this world. We want to GO and LIVE a much more fulfilling purpose than just hangin’ out.
Veritas: Real teens addressing real problems through the Christian lens of truth.