Youth! Full of excitement, energy, and life. A whirlwind of changes and opportunities. For the student in junior high, high school looms large. And then the next big step – buying a car, and obtaining a driver’s license. The school-year is packed: volleyball games, basketball tryouts, and chemistry lab reports. On the weekends, forming and maintaining friendships is high on the priority list, and perhaps even beginning life-long relationships in dating.
What does the Word of God have to say about this exciting stage of life? We begin negatively. Sad to say, this age group can employ its energy and life in the service of sin. This is the implication, if not the explicit teaching, of Psalm 25:7: “Remember not the sins of my youth [says David], nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.” We all, head for head, know these sins of youth. They cannot be taken back. We know that we are forgiven – blessed forgiveness! But the scars still hurt. Young people, guard yourselves! Beware of where you go, what you do, and be careful about the friends you have. Grievous sins committed at the time of youth never, never leave.
But this age group can and often does use its strength in the service of God’s glory. The apostle Paul instructs Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” This is what God calls us to in our youth, young people and young adults! There is nothing wrong with the liveliness and energy of the teenage years – this is the way God created us. Challenge yourselves in this regard. How can you serve the church? How can you build up the fellow saint? How can you selflessly give of yourself to others? Prepare for your Bible studies at church – participate often, and ask good questions. Teach Sunday school. Visit the elderly who only rarely can attend church. Start a Summer Bible study with your friends. Bring your parents out to a nice restaurant, and thank them for all they have done for you. Bake cookies for the widow in your congregation. Ask teachers what you can do to help them at school. Encourage godly living among your friends – take the lead in this. Oh, the opportunities that youth affords!