Young Christians, Please Be...
We have reached that time of year when commencement exercises are taking place across the country and in this article we will consider some things graduates, and for that matter all other young people, should BE. While these are qualities every Christian should be developing from the moment of conversion, they take on special importance when the time comes that we must venture out on our own. Commencement signifies a beginning and though it has application for everyone of all ages, it is especially dedicated to those beginning a new phase in their lives.
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). While the devil seeks to destroy you from the day of conversion to the day of death (1 Peter 5:8), as young people you face some special challenges and these will intensify when you leave home and the protections parental care and oversight provide. But saying you will face special challenges is not to say that you will fail. If you will put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), you will be able to be strong in the Lord because the power of His might will be with you. Equip yourself with knowledge, faith, and prayer and you can be strong. Don’t ever allow the temptations and difficulties life will throw at you to cause you to waver. With your eye on the goal set before you, be steadfast and immovable (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Can you say with Paul that you know whom you have believed (2 Timothy 1:12)? Have you spent enough time with the word to have a faith that is truly your own and not simply that of your parents (Romans 10:17)? God warns all Christians about the danger of being tossed in different directions by various winds of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) and those who do not learn to study for themselves are extremely vulnerable to false teaching. Those of you with Christian parents should have had a lot of good teaching in your homes and in the local church, but has it penetrated deeply enough to truly become your own. Even while living at home it is important that you young Christians not simply “get your lessons,” but learn to genuinely study for yourselves. However, this becomes even more important when you leave home. Will your faith survive the attacks it will face when you are on your own? Or will you be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine? If you will learn to desire with the fervency of a newborn going after milk the knowledge provided by God’s word, then you will grow spiritually and be able to know with certainty where you stand and why (1 Peter 2:2).
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in …purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Sexual immorality is pervasive in our society, as it was in the first century, but God calls us to a higher standard. He restricts sexual fulfillment to the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4) and declares that those who fail to practice purity cannot inherit His eternal kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10). Immorality can be a temptation at any age, but there are some special dangers for you who are younger. If you would be pure, you need to do the following.
- Avoid conduct that stirs unlawful desires. The Bible uses the word licentiousness (or in some Bibles lewdness or lasciviousness) to describe this kind of behavior (Galatians 5:19-21). If you choose to engage in dancing and making out you will almost certainly lose the battle for purity of mind and you may lose the battle for physical purity.
- “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Don’t be overconfident; know your limitations. Many young people have been overcome by sexual sin despite thinking they were too spiritually strong to make that mistake. Do your dating “in the open” where things are less likely to go further than either of you intended.
- Don’t choose to be entertained by the lewdness of others. Lust often enters through the eyes (Matthew 5:28; 1 John 2:16), so it is imperative that you avoid indecent movies and television, along with the pools and beaches. You cannot completely avoid indecent attire, but you can avoid much of it and you can make certain your dress is not the cause of someone stumbling (Matthew 18:6-9).
- Watch your “coarse jesting” (Ephesians 5:3-5). Things you joke about today may become your practice tomorrow.
Though you are young, you can be pure if you will flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Caution is required at every stage of life (1 Corinthians 10:12), but in your youth you need to be especially careful about your choice of a marriage partner. Marriage was intended by God to be a blessing (Genesis 2:18), but for some it is a cause of great unhappiness (Proverbs 25:24). Not only may you end up unhappy, but failure in marriage may cost you your souls(Matthew 19:6, 9). It is imperative that you make a wise choice in this matter. If you will be pure it will keep sensuality or pregnancy from causing you to make a bad choice, but you will still need to be careful not to fall in love with someone who will be a hindrance to you and your children in the pursuit of heaven. Choose wisely!
Whether you remain with the local group in which you have grown up or move away, wherever you are you need to be actively involved in the work of the local church. Ephesians 4:16 teaches that every member is responsible for doing his or her part in the building up of the body. While age and inexperience place some limitations on the things you can do, those few limitations do not begin to compare to all you can do in the Lord’s work if you are “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).
Be strong, certain, pure, careful, and active. In other words, be a Christian.
All Scripture quotations taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1994, Nelson Publishing Co.