There is no time like the time of youth in the lifetime of the Christian; each Christian ought to extend themselves in an effort to grow in knowledge and wisdom in God’s service. Some of the wise thoughts revealed via the Written Word encourage young people to get started in service to God early and grow with deliberation and patience, submitting to the wise instruction of the hoary headed ones, according to God’s instructions.
SEEK GOD EARLY IN LIFE
Ecclesiastes 12:1 – “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” NKJV.
Proverbs 20:29 – “The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head” NKJV.
The wise man, Solomon, surely knew of the benefits of early commitment to God. God can use the strength and enthusiasm of the young, youth is the most expedient time in life for the individual to commit to God’s service. Dedication to the principles of righteousness early in ones life does not guarantee accuracy in thought or action, but the young are adaptable, they are susceptible to change, they are willing to learn. The willingness of the young to learn will surely enable many of them to mature in soundness and fidelity to the faith.
THE APOSTLE PAUL’S INSTRUCTION TO YOUNG TIMOTHY
2 Timothy 2:14-26: Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,mand that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” NKJV.
Several items of instruction are directed to the young, also to others:
Ø Not to strive about words to no profit – verse 14
Ø Seek God’s approval in thought and action – verse 15.
Ø Correctly, apply the teaching from God – verse 15
Ø Shun profane and idle babblings – verse 16.
Ø Be confident, the Lord knows you are faithful – Verse 19.
Ø Know this, everyone who claims to be worthy are not necessarily so, some are of clay value not of gold or silver value – verse 20.
Ø Some are valuable to God in His
Ø service – verse 21.
Ø Do not allow your youthful passions to lead you astray, maintain faithfulness – verse 22.
Ø Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes – verse 23.
Ø Do not become involved in quarrels with others – verse 24.
Ø Confront those that are in opposition to God’s teaching in a kind way, seeking their restoration – verse 25.
CONSIDER THIS: These instructions are worthy admonitions to all Christians, yet in this context Paul is dealing with Timothy and his work as a teacher and faithful young Christian. Young people (both male and female) consider the instruction and gauge your lives according to sound instruction, instruction like these revealed to us in 2 Timothy.
HEED THE WISE INSTRUCTION FROM RELIABLE AND FAITHFUL MEN: Age and Experience are a valuable source of Information for the Young Christian.
Ø Leviticus 19:32, ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” NKJV.
Ø Proverbs 16:31, The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness”
Ø 2 Timothy 2:2, And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. NKJV
FOLLOW WISE COUNCIL: INSTRUCTION FOR GROWTH FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE GROWING CHRISTIAN:
Ø Romans 16:17-19, Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil” NKJV.
Ø 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ“
Ø 2 Corinthians 10:12, For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” NKJV.
THE WHOLE OF MAN (Including the young)
Ecclesiastes 12:9-14: And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright — words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books, there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is, man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, Whether good or evil”
CONSIDER THIS: The instructions given by God that we have discussed, have been presented to encourage the young (both young men and young women), to consider well God’s instructions. The editor, while writing this article has considered himself while young, middle aged, and growing older. The thoughts are best digested by the individual while they are young for a number of reasons, as we have noted:
1. Young people have sharp minds and are able to adjust their affections and commitments as they are shown the reasonableness of God’s requirements on their lives.
2. The physical stamina contributes to the endurance of our young people (i.e., teachers, preachers, and young Christian ladies), as the young Christian exhibits their dedication and resolve to continue in the “narrow way” – cf., Matthew 7:13-14, “The Narrow Way” (Also – Luke 13:24): “> Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. > Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” NKJV.
CONSIDER THIS: It is difficult to understand the different level of participation, continuation in difficult tasks, interaction with other faithful ones outside the assemblies, and generally laboring in the work of the Lord for the young preacher verses the older preacher. It may be difficult for the young person to visualize this matter but age makes a difference in strength and stamina for service in God’s vineyard. We understand that this is so after we have attained to an advanced age but while we are still young we do not dwell very much on the realities of this subject, “age” verses the “strength of youth.”
For the young Christians, we encourage continued faithfulness and untiring dedication and untiring service in the Lord’s work. Always be steadfast in faithful service standing always for the ‘TRUTH.” There will come a time in your future, when “… the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” NKJV – (Ecclesiastes 12:1b).