Being a young Christian. As in literally a young Christian, not just spiritually. A youth--someone who came to the Lord early.
The first thing that pops into my mind would be 'flee youthful lusts'--an exhortation in 2 Tim 2:22 which is easy to remember, not just because of all the 2's (which make it an awesome memory verse) but also because of its relevance. The lusts we face have such strong holds over us because they appeal to our youth. Our craving for thrills and excitement. The appeal which the future holds for us as a vista of opportunities. Love. Fame. Adrenalin. The allure of popularity and the influence of friends. And list goes on and on...
Sometimes it may seem like we have extra challenges as young Christians--we lack the maturity and life experience that 'adult' Christians have, and we seem to have so many more challenges specific to being young, so many 'youthful lusts'.
2 Tim 2:22 is a good reminder, but 1 John 1: 14 is a quiet verse we tend to overlook (especially because it comes right before the significant, powerful 1 John 1: 15. Or maybe because it lacks the nice, snappy alliteration of 2 Tim 2:22..)
What should characterize young Christians--in a good way?
Weaknesses aside--what should the strengths of a young Christian (the 'young men' John addresses) be?
"I have written to you, young men, because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one."
As young Christians we have been blessed with strength. Energy. The excitement so characteristic of youth, in this case, can be a powerful motivation when combined with a passion for Christ. We possess all this energy and strength to serve, to strive, to charge out of our comfort zones once we are touched by God. I can't help but think of Isobel Kuhn, and of course Jim Elliot--amazing examples of what God can do with your youth, your life, when you dedicate them totally to Him.
And the word of God abides in us. Should. Our minds are at their sharpest now, our memories at their best. They should be busy reading, studying, meditating on God's word, reflecting how we should apply it to our lives, how it applies to the decision or situation we're facing right now.
The word of God should abide in us. Constantly. Always there whenever we need it, whenever we are given an opportunity to share it.
And finally--we have overcome the wicked one. I myself was rather surprised at this. Aren't young Christians supposed to be constantly struggling with the Devil over youthful lusts and the like?
But that's what we should be doing with all our youthful energy and drive.
Youth is the time to be a fighter. It's the time when we are drawn to throw ourselves heart and soul into a cause, to fight for it and give our all to it.
There is a passage in Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamozov which struck me, because it portrayed such a strikingly different perspective of what we dismiss today as 'teenage angst''--somehow always hurtful to the owner or to others.
In contrast, Dostoevsky--very aptly defining this emotion as "seething youth"--describes it as a form of self-sacrifice:
"...He was partly a young man of our time...demanding the truth, seeking it and believing in it, and...demanding immediate participation in it with all the strength of his soul...with an unfailing desire to sacrifice everything for this deed, even life."
There's a reason why so many pop songs all harp about fighting, defying, rebelling. I used to dismiss all this angst-hype as nonsense, but the truth is, this emotion is a reality. Do nothing with it and it will turn you just plain angsty-emo.
Do something with it, however and it becomes truly powerful. It becomes one of the great driving forces with which youth can accomplish so many things.
Fighters. We should be doing battle in our souls with all the passion we possess. We should be overcoming the evil one, if we truly believe him to be the evil one. Doing battle for the King, and serving Him with fierce, life-blood-pitch loyalty--if we truly believe He is our King.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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