Before coming to Northwestern, I was a seeker. I sought knowledge, fame, fortune, everything for myself. I could say the Our Father, Ave Maria, and Glory Be prayers in three different languages. But they didn’t touch me in English any more than they did in Latin or Greek. I read the Bible, but only scholastically. I was “always learning yet never able to come to the full knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3:7). I knew of Jesus, but I did not know Christ.
In high school, I gave the Lord one hour of my week. I went to Mass on Sunday. My body was physically in the church, but my mind was thinking about the lab report or essays I had to write when I got home. I would stand up and sing, “Oh Lord, You are the center of my life.” But I couldn’t help feeling like I was lying to myself – lying to myself, and lying to my God. When I get to college, I thought, my relationship with the Lord will deteriorate completely.
Then I got to Northwestern, and my second Friday night on campus rolled along. “Come on Renee, you’re going with me,” my friend and hallmate commanded me. “Going where?” I could only ask. “Some Christian fellowship. There’s free food.” “Okay,” I agreed. My first thought: YES! Free food!…And I was a Christian… right?…
That was almost 8 months ago. Now Friday is my favorite day of the week.
If I can say this without sounding cheezily corny, meeting the Christians on Campus saints has changed my life. As soon as I walked into the Friday night fellowship, I realized that I was among believers. These were not merely Christians; these were CHRISTians. These were people who loved the Lord and wanted to share that love with others. When we sang that first song, an indescribable, contagious energy filled the room.
Compared to what I was used to when I thought of “religion” or “Christianity,” my first fellowship meeting was a shock. These people prayed differently – they said “amen” a lot and even got worked up and passionate for God. I’ll admit I was a tad bit scared, but the Lord didn’t let me stray. I kept going back, and now there’s nothing I would rather do. When I look at these people now, I not only see my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. I see an expression of Christ.
I have come to realize that Christ isn’t just a bronze man hanging on the cross at the front of a church. Christ is alive and Christ is with us in our spirits. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”
God gave me a spirit – not a spirit of cowardice, “but of power and of love and of sobermindedness” (2 Tim 1:7). I now use that spirit to seek the truth – no longer the truth I could get from the textbooks, but the truth that is Christ, the truth that is God’s Word. For our Savior God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
In short, I’m still a seeker. But now I seek Christ, the living God. To combine the lyrics to my two favorite praise songs, “Jesus, living One, flood me thoroughly. Be so real to me. I want to know You more.” I think I can finally say, “Oh Lord, You are the center of my life.”