I had noted in the past couple of posts (here and here) that our students won’t have as easy a time once the opportunities for “good works” and spiritual disciplines are less available and less encouraged. So, I said, it’s important that we build the type of conviction that will push them to seek out those activities, whatever it takes.
But that’s not the only problem our students will face. We can’t just build conviction; we must build hearty, lasting conviction – because even that conviction will face subtle attacks in the post-college years:
- When they’re making a lot more money, giving sacrificially seems all the more… sacrificial.
- When they get busier than they’ve ever been, things like church and daily time with the Lord become very easy to skip.
- The barrage of materialistic temptations, the “quarter-life crisis” issues, new jobs, new relationships, and plenty more can lead to self-centeredness… so an entire world in need starts seeming awfully irrelevant.
- In the mid-twenties, the beauty of chastity can start seeming awfully… idealistic (and very lonely).
- What was zealous, intimate, and healthy community three years ago can be remembered as conformist and passe after a few years without it.
It’s not just lack of opportunity that will cause zeal to wane, there will also be a barrage of assaults on students’ conviction itself. So the question is, Are we building in our students rock-solid convictions about the actions that are right and best? Are we teaching them why chastity really does matter and why zeal for justice should last a lifetime? Are we giving them arguments for the importance of giving or the value of prayer that will stand up even against their own doubts and ditherings?
This is no easy pursuit. But behavior modification that lasts a few years isn’t enough fruit, is it?