|Volume 22 Number 4 April 2020||
Today’s young people are overwhelmed by the humongous number of choices before them. What is one of those choices? Sin, in its various forms, is a serious choice confronting young people (Galatians 5:19-21).
Youth is a time of explosive exploration, and thus young people must be given the right guidance and tools in order for them to be successful at overcoming temptations that may ultimately lead to sin (1 Timothy 4:12). Technology has and is continuing to advance, and the average child is hooked on it.
We are all well aware that there are always advantages and disadvantages to things. If you give your child an electronic device from the time he or she can walk and talk without proper management and supervision, most likely 13 years later, it would be practically impossible for you to get that child to put away that device. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15 NKJV). Parents must exercise their duties in a timely and trustworthy manner. Children should not be exposed to toys, habits and situations that would cloud the choices they make later in life. “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
The pivotal role of parents becomes strategic in the lives of youths, specifically teenagers. Ecclesiastes 12:1 reinforces that turning to God when one is young is more beneficial and advantageous compared to later in a person’s life; “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.’” Young people must be taught to love God and how important it is for God to be active in their lives.
Parents must become proactive in the lives of their young ones so that they can be left with a heritage like Timothy. “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Parents, if needs be, must enlist the help of others so that young people are given the best opportunities to live for God. Godliness must start with the simple things. It can never be stressed enough how important family devotions, Sunday School classes, VBS and such like are, because they give children a spiritual platform on which to stand as they continue to grow.
In addition to the Scriptures, young people must have visible examples who they would want to emulate. In Acts 10:1-2, Cornelius, even though not yet a Christian, was practicing Christian principles. Parents of young people and fellow members of the church must be observed by youths as generous, kind, hospitable and compassionate, whether it is to members or non-members. Not only must they see the examples of adults around them, but it is important that they are encouraged and given the resources and opportunities to do likewise.
The guardians of the young should be able to say what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1—“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Today’s young people want to be noticed, to feel worthy and appreciated. What better way to satisfy these needs than to teach them to have the Good Samaritan attitude? We know that what we do can never be compared to what the Lord has done for us (Psalm 105:2), but we need to imitate Him anyway. One of the mistakes parents make today is telling their children what to do instead of making provisions where the child can see what they ought to do by observing their parents. Parents, what are you really laying up for your children? Material things are only for a time (Matthew 6:19-20).
Parents, are you truly cognizant of the company to which your children cling? As an adult, you can guide your children in choosing the kind of friends with whom you would like them to associate. You can do this by your good influence. This necessitates constant interaction with your children.
Children are smart, and sometimes they think they are smarter than you. That’s why it’s imperative that a line must be drawn between you being a parent and doing your duties as a parent. The reason Timothy was such a strong, faithful Christian stems from his godly mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Paul knew that Timothy was a young man of moral and godly substance. Therefore, parents, we too can raise children who are trustworthy, faithful and dependable.
Your children’s friends should share morally and biblically suitable interests in recreation, faith, social events, etc. because they are going to influence and to guide each other. Today’s children are interconnected because of technology. Therefore, monitoring friends and activities is an uphill task. Thus, the inherent influence of godliness ought to be foremost in the minds of parents, especially when their children start to associate with friends. “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Young people, God wants everyone in His kingdom, and, yes, that includes you. You’re the greatest asset He has to continue the work of His Son, which is to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). You have everything going for you with God right at the helm. You can do every suitable thing you want to do, and yet, you can also do the work of the Lord. It will bring you joy, accomplishment and fulfillment amidst this world that is filled with uncertainty and sinfulness.
There are so many painfully high statistics concerning young people today—statistics that could have been a lot lower or not at all if young people would but for a moment put God first, think about Him or strive to live godly. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
Alcohol, illicit drugs, lewd music and all kinds of ungodly sexual activities are the going things of the day. However, there is a much better and eternal beneficial course to follows. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
God is pleading with you. Don’t imitate your worldly friends! Their lives exhibit hypocrisy if you as a child of God were to do as they do. They may think they are having a good time now, but what about their lot in eternity—and yours if you follow their sinful ways? Their farcical living will harm your soul if you act as they do. Their riotous conduct mocks you as a Christian. Look to God! He’s the only one Who counts and by Whom you ought to be guided. God is waiting for your service. Give it to Him, now!