Monday, March 3, 2014

The Youth

The Youth in Today’s Society 

In this week’s article, the Lord is specifically addressing the youth to come to Him, that they “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22 KJV).

“Youth” is classified in society as being 15 to 34 years old. The youths between these age ranges know right from wrong. Instead of looking at the ills of today’s youth, we will concentrate on what the Word of God instructs the youth and how the youths in the Bible responded to the fear of the Lord. In today’s society, youths are being encouraged by money-hungry advertising agencies to behave braggingly and act superior to others. The products they present to the youth are to promote “class” and independence. They offer the youth freedom, but in reality they make them slaves to their products and services. The world is drawing the youth deep into HELL itself by offering them every kind of worldly desire and appetite for sin and power.

In our current society, one of the greatest influences on the youth is the mass media. While it brings us information, it has undoubtedly changed the way we live in society. Furthermore, while this is not a discussion about the role of the mass media in today’s society, it is necessary to trace youth problems to the very thing that influence their behaviour. Psychologically, we are a product of the things we are exposed to, whether good or bad, and that will determine our behaviour in society.

How Do Youth Keep Pure from Worldly Influences?

The Bible has the answer and here it is right away: “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your Word” (Psalm 119:9 NIV). In another verse, the youth are also reminded: “Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, "Life is not pleasant anymore" (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NLT). By honouring God and by living according to His word we are promised a pure and blameless life (Psalm 84:11). King Solomon also issued a stern warning through the Holy Spirit to the disobedient, rebellious and lustful youth by saying “Young person, if you spend your youth only having fun, if you use your early years just to entertain yourself, if you follow your heart as you live your life, and let your eyes be your guide; understand that for all these things God will bring you to judgment” (Ecclesiastes 11:9 CJB).

Kindly allow me to share a conversation I overheard recently. I recently got into a taxi, and being in close proximity, I could not avoid listening how two young ladies spoke. The one young lady whom I perceived to be a born-again Christian was telling the other one how hard it is to be a Christian, while explaining some of the troubles she was going through. At first I thought, “Poor lady, this is exactly what we all complain about; it is indeed hard”. However, later that day the Lord told me that what makes it hard to be a Christian for many believers is our appetite for sinful worldly desires. The Lord said we don’t have His peace within us because we invite worldly desires into our lives and that makes us unstable in our walk with Him. The ways of the Lord are not burdensome (1 John 5:2-4) and we should not magnify the desires of the sinful nature by saying the ways of the Lord are hard. It is not hard at all; we just must not give way to bodily passions (1 Peter 2:11), and instead as youth we should have appetite for the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2).

Faithful Youth in the Bible

In the Bible, there are accounts of God-fearing youth who chose the path of obedience and submission to God. These youths separated themselves from bad company to remain faithful and obedient to God (Genesis 39:21). An example is Daniel, a young man who feared God; he set his heart to obey all the will of God and to serve his nation before God in prayer instead of following his selfish desires (Daniel 9:20). His friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, being also youth who loved God and right doing, took their stand against the King of Babylon (Daniel 3:16-17).

Furthermore, there is Ruth who was a young widow when she chose to dwell with her mother-in-law, and for her faithfulness God made her a great grandmother of King David, and through whose ancestry line Christ our Lord was born (Ruth 1:16-18; Matthew 1:5). Her obedience and love for truth resulted in a lasting dynasty for her. We also have Esther who in her youth obeyed everything she was taught by her uncle Mordecai, who was a just and God-fearing man, and through her obedience and fear for God she was elevated to become Queen and this resulted in her saving countless innocent lives (Esther 2:20, 4:14). The lists can go on: there is King David who killed a giant in his youth (1 Samuel 17:42), Jeremiah became God’s prophet when he was only a child (Jeremiah 1:7), Josiah who followed God since he was only 8 years old (2 Chronicles 34:1-2) (and some people had a problem when I told them I led my daughter Charis to the Lord when she was only 8 years old).

In addition, there is Mary the earthly mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. She was a young virgin when God chose her. She feared God and being humble she pleased God and that resulted in her delivering the Saviour of the world Christ Jesus (Luke 1:26-33). Also there is Timothy (1 Timothy 1:1-2), Titus (Titus 2:6-8), and Stephen the martyr (Acts 6:8); they were all devoted young men who lived for truth, righteousness and for the salvation of their generation. These youths did not run after the cravings of their sinful appetites, but they followed truth, righteous living and purity. In their zeal for God and their love for humanity, they lived to save others from the way of error and they are promised by God that they will shine like the stars (Daniel 12:3).

I therefore challenge the youth: don’t you want a change? Accept Christ Jesus into your life and live to work for souls, for only this brings true joy to the Lord and this joy He will pass on to you for eternal Glory and bliss in Heaven (Romans 2:7).

The Past Cannot Hold You Back; Look Forward

While it is good to share with you just how others lived for God and through their lives we draw courage and inspiration, I deem it necessary to share something out of my own youth days. This I do to make our message not just a mere talk with Scriptural evidence; I do so to show you how I applied the Scriptures in my life. I have repeatedly mentioned how I was involved in wrong things as a youth. This was largely due to a lack of Godly guidance in our home. My father and my mother drank like typical parents; they were just satisfied to supply the normal family needs—food, clothes and shelter—but no moral guidance through the Living Word of God. Without going into much detail, their drinking led to more trouble in the family and it resulted in them neglecting us. As we grew up, my sisters and I learned how to survive by lying and stealing. Paul encourages us to forget about past mistakes (Philippians 3:3). Sadly, because I learned about God when psychological damage was already done in my life by being exposed to wicked things in the past, I only have the Word of God and His holy promises as security not to escape to the hurts I caused and the pains of abuse I suffered. I learned to trust in Christ and cry silently to Him when I am being reminded about the past for my complete healing is in the future when God will wipe away all my tears (Revelation 21:4-14).

Don’t allow the devil or others to hurt you by referring you to your past; they want you back there to ridicule you so that they might tell you how you failed. Stand on Christ’s promises (Psalm 103:12). Don’t become a person who is worrying and being influenced by bad friends; wake up youth and take control of your life. God will Judge you alone in the absence of your parents or friends.  Don’t give up on eternal life; Christ has it! COME TO HIM!

Let me encourage you parents: a shortage of God’s Word in the lives of your children results in rebelliousness and if you don’t teach them at home, Satan has a plan for them through their social grouping. As a father and God fearing man myself, I encourage Godly living in my house and the Scriptures govern our relationship with one another (Joshua 24:14-15). This is a compulsory rule and all who come and dwell with us enjoy the benefits and protection of God.

My youthful brother and sister, don’t escape to drugs, bad friends and cell phone addictions.  Don’t become involved in chat/gossip groups; these are evils that the enemy uses to ensnare you; ESCAPE TO CHRIST TODAY and hide from the coming wrath and you’ll be saved (Luke 21:36). As youth, we tend to be self-centered but like the youth in the Bible, they laid down their lives for what is right and praiseworthy to God.

Therefore “brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

Be blessed in truth and righteous living.

Your fellow brother and redeemed sinner,