With many of my students and some of our own children going off to college soon, I try to paint an accurate picture for them as to what awaits. One of the good pieces of news for them is how college students differ from high school students when it comes to personalities. In high school, the one main reason why all of these individuals are gathered under the same roof is geography. The fact that they live in the same town is really the only thing they all have in common. However, college students have chosen to be there based on their likes, interests, abilities, and philosophies. As such, when they get there, they find that they have more in common with each other than they did with the people they were with in high school. Mostly everyone there shares a similar academic history, which again, is both good and bad. Good in the sense that they get to erase their past mistakes, and bad in the sense that everything great they’ve achieved in high school has also been achieved by everyone else at their college. (If you were the class valedictorian, you will be attending school with all the other high schools’ class valedictorians.) College is one of the great levelers of abilities and skills. Whatever you did before college doesn’t matter much anymore, as these people are all now the same; they are reborn as new creations. Much like college students, Christians share the concept of rebirth, but more important is our newly granted status. Just like college, Christianity is the great leveler of achievements since all our previous actions and accomplishments are wiped out at the foot of the cross, and our new status is then established: saved. Once saved, there are two foundations to accept: our achievements are meaningless, and we are all now of the same status. With the first, most of us can grasp that one. However, the one that many have trouble believing and adopting is the second, that there’s nothing we can do to achieve a higher status. In the eyes of God, there is no such thing as a great Christian or a poor Christian, just saved and not. As saved individuals, all status is meaningless, as we are all one. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.28). As part of our human nature, we tend to judge each other’s abilities, especially when it comes to our faith. We measure others against ourselves, attempting to figure out who the most faithful is or who the better Christian is, but the truth is that there are only two levels of faith: saved and unsaved. We may each be able to work towards a closer relationship to Him, but that closeness is not something that can be levied and averaged against others: it’s our own personal relationship with Christ. When we put ourselves up against one another, despite what many think, there is no competition because we are all one in Him. The idea that Christ brings down the mighty and raises up the lowly is repeated throughout the New Testament, and that idea itself should humble us the next time any of us think we are a better Christian than anyone else. The truth is that when we measure ourselves and judge other Christians, we harm the body of Christ and damage our personal walk. Our focus should be on our own walk, for when we knock down other Christians, we put obstacles in front of ourselves, and we stumble in our faith. We must remember that our status is saved, and for that fact we should be grateful, not judgmental. Amen.