The Days of Youth
It’s Friday night; the smell of rain is in the air and the first weekend of summer has come - energy and excitement envelop you. A feeling of invincibility pulsates through your body. You’ve made plans to meet with friends. The stress from school and worries of young life disappear as you anticipate the night’s festivities.
You rummage through the closet and locate your best outfit. A night like this, calls for nothing less. The music plays loudly and freely as you shower and dress.
A familiar ringtone signals a welcoming text: “We’re outside,” the message reads. Your friends have arrived. You smile and take one last look in the mirror. Closing the front door, you make your way to the car that echoes the same loud music left behind. The engine roars and your adrenaline surges as you anxiously await the destination. It’s going to be a night to remember…
How many times have you lived and relived this exhilarating, “night out” moment? You’ve enjoyed the company of friends and alcohol, dancing and flirting without so much as a care in the world. You lived in that moment and longed to relive it weekend after weekend.
But what if something happened?
What if you were out with friends and there was a sudden catastrophe: a terrorist attack, a shooting, a car accident, or an urgent phone call that a family member had a life-threatening injury? Would any of your carefree feelings matter at a moment like that?
What if you were to die today? Would you be ready for what lies beyond your earthly life? Isn’t the answer to this question far more important than anything a Friday night could offer?
I don’t want to ruin your weekend plans. There’s nothing inherently wrong with taking a timeout. I myself appreciate one as much as the next person. By all means enjoy a night out, in fact, enjoy many nights out!
As a young Christian, however, you cannot simply live your life on the sidelines. The Bible is very clear; you must take an active role in living out the Faith. The choices you make now will determine how you spend eternity. Whether you’re an active member of your parish’s youth program or spiritually on the sidelines, here are some things to consider in your journey of faith.
Why is this so urgent?
We are living at the end of time. Over and over Scripture reminds us that our Lord will soon return to earth. We are constantly encouraged to spread the faith and live the Christian life.
“The night is almost gone,” the Apostle Paul wrote, “the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”1
Paul’s words were spoken to the church of his time; yet his command is more critical to our generation. What we are facing at this time in history is far more important than a night out with friends. There is a war of moral beliefs taking place in our world. Every young person today is at the forefront of experiencing the cultural change that will usher in the end of the world. The Book of Timothy gives a detailed description about the nature of society in the end times.
“Remember this: There are some terrible times coming in the last days. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud and boast about themselves. They will abuse others with insults. They will not obey their parents. They will be ungrateful and against all that is pleasing to God. They will have no love for others and will refuse to forgive anyone. They will talk about others to hurt them and will have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. People will turn against their friends. They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. They will go on pretending to be devoted to God, but they will refuse to let that devotion change the way they live.”2
Is any other explanation needed to prove our society is living like this now? Is this not signs of the end?
Why can’t I wait until I’m older to get serious about my faith?
Many adolescents feel their time to be responsible will come later in life. They feel young age gives them a license to enjoy a carefree lifestyle. This idea is in complete opposition to Scripture. The Bible records the words of King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. Solomon was a teenager when he became king.
“I am a little child,” he prayed to God, “grant your servant a discerning heart to judge between right and wrong.”3 Pleased with his prayer, God promised Solomon he would have more wisdom than any man to ever live.
Endowed with the gift from God, Solomon set his heart to observing all the experiences of man. From his teenage years to the end of his life, the wisest man to ever live recorded his knowledge in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes. With all the wisdom, wealth, belongings, friends and women he could have, Solomon wrote that the meaning of life was to:
“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…before evil comes upon you…4
Honor God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil.”5
It is dangerous to think you can live young and reckless and settle down later in life. In the above Scripture, Solomon is encouraging every young person to live out the commandments of their Creator early in life before, “evil comes upon you.” Obedience to God will ensure you are living the full life God has intended for you.
I go to church sometimes with my parents isn’t that enough?
Sitting in church does not make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car. If you’re just a pew warmer you’re not a Christian. The Bible says, “Faith by itself is dead if it doesn't cause you to do any good things.”6
Your Christian faith cannot be lived halfway. Daily Christian living is necessary to show evidence of your faith and God working in your life.
“I know your deeds,” Jesus told the church of Laodicea. “You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm —neither hot nor cold— will I spew you out.”7
Jesus Christ has asked us to completely commit ourselves to Him. You have a choice to make. Will you follow Christ or give yourself to the world?
Is it worth it?
“YOLO” is the acronym used by today’s adolescence to justify wild actions such as drinking too much or taking life threatening risks. YOLO means: “You Only Live Once.” The idea that you should have all the fun you can because you can’t take anything with you when you die is a delusion.
Scripture assures us that righteous actions will follow us when we die. At the end of time everyone that follows Christ will receive rewards depending on what they did in their lives. Nothing in this lifetime can compare to the blessings God has in store for those that love Him. Scripture says:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”8
Five months before his own death, CS Lewis, the great Christian author wrote, “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
How Do I Begin?
Your first step is to pray. Examine every area of your life where you’ve rebelled. Then ask God to forgive you through His Son Jesus Christ. Next, secure eternal life by reading and confessing what is written in Romans 10:9. Finally, ask God to guide you in strengthening your faith and Christian commitment. This prayer WILL NOT go unanswered. If you do your part, you can be sure God will do His and change your life. The Bible says:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt…”9
The Christian life is filled with blessings, however, every Christian (especially those who have just made commitments to Christ) will face persecution in this lifetime.10 Our Lord faced persecution and trials throughout His earthly life. You will too. Remember that God calls us to a life that this world cannot take away and to a treasure that cannot be stolen.11
Above all, be comforted in knowing that in all the difficult moments of your life you are not alone. Christ will never leave you or forsake you. Our Lord’s last recorded words in the Gospels were:
“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”12
1 Romans Chapter 13:12
2 2 Timothy Chapter 3:1-5
3 1 Kings 3:7-9
4 Ecclesiastes 12:1
5 Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
6 James 2:17
7 Revelation 3:15-16
8 1 Corinthians 2:9
9 James 1:5-6
10 2 Timothy 3:12
11 Matthew 6:19-20
12 Matthew 28:18-20