A friend of mine recently asked me to record a video to his son who was turning 13. I did video some thoughts but decided that the recorded thoughts needed a bit more expanding, so put it all into writing...
Many younger people today are being seduced. They are seduced to believe that they are merely “teenagers” upon which fall no real expectations except to go to school and enjoy life.
But this lie has at least two hidden dangers. First, the foundations that are being built now into everyday are the same foundations upon which the decisions of later years will be built. Second, “we are too young to have much expectation put upon us!” When in fact, human history reveals “younger” people who did some exceptional things.
The exceptional things of these younger people did not just appear out the air. They were decisions and actions that came from the early onset of spiritual disciplines that were built in their lives.
Such early onset spiritual disciplines prepare us to make some of the biggest decisions of life.
Will we follow Jesus obediently over the whole of our life? This is a decision that is made in the crucible of intense Holy Spirit insight and conviction. But it has to be reiterated almost everyday. Everything around us will battle against it. Even Christian friends who have been duped by the culture around them. But, once the decision has been made and the Holy Spirit invited in to remind me regularly, the right discipline has been set in place to grow a life of joyful relationship and service to God.
Will we build daily spiritual disciplines in God’s word, no matter what the cost? Let no one deceive us. There is a cost. We give up other things to set a daily rhythm into our lives where we spend time with God in His word. This is the needed emphasis. I am not trudging through time in the Bible. I am expecting to meet my Heavenly Father every time I open His word. The Holy Spirit will help me understand, but my objective is to meet my Father.
What kind of a life mate will we choose? There may be no more important personal decision in life than this. We become one with that person. But getting at oneness is never easy. So, take some time to decide the non-negotiable biblical characteristics that this person should possess. One who is not a believer is not acceptable. One who does not want to walk with God and obey Him, is a dangerous decision. Joy and oneness will come easier to two people whose center to life is God and His word. The common ground is a solid place from which to build a healthy marriage and family.
When we enter into vocation what kind of a team will we decide to “play the game with?” This might sound strange. But we do have a choice, not only in what we do vocationally, we also have a choice about the kind of people we will chose to surround us. Those people set the character of everyday. Seems better to me to work with people who make life a bit less traumatic even if I have to chose a less paying job.
How will we decide to steward our assets? From Genesis we learn, who actually owns the earth and everything on it: God! “In the beginning God created.” Solve that dilemma in your heart, and, then allowing God to use all of the assets He places in your hands, for the whole of your life, is so much less stressful and fulfilling.
I am convinced that younger people can learn the role of spiritual discipline in their lives much earlier than we expect or plan for. I am convinced that as they build these spiritual disciplines, they will grow “early onset” obedience to what God says to them through His word. They will make better decisions about the outcomes of their lives. As a result, they will put God, His calling and His assets at the top of their lives. They will make better decisions about education, vocation, marriage, and spending their assets. They will stand stronger against the overwhelming tides that conspire against them.
Down the corridor of biblical and Christian history we are amazed to see young people growing deep lives of walking with God and serving Him.
David was a teenager when God first called him as a shepherd boy. Timothy was a teenager when Paul chose him. Amy Carmichael was 25 when she applied to go to China.
As one who has passed thorough many years, experiences, and seen many things, I say, God wants you to be His woman or man!!!! In order become this, may I give you a few hints?
A. Learn to spend time everyday in Gods word. You will find that you learn to know Him as He has prepared you to know Him....as Father.
B. As you spend time with Him in His word everyday, you will hide His words in your heart. You will find that those words will both protect you from the evil one and will be the way in which the Holy Spirit will give directions in the many decisions that you will make over the next twenty years especially.
C. Learn to acknowledge and submit to the Holy Spirit who lives in you
D. Decide to make following Jesus the most important commitment in your life.
As you can see, life is simple, even while people and decisions tend to make things complex. Build the center of your life around God and His word, and He will make your paths straight, more free of anxiety.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make
straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)