Browsing Tag

young men

Commentary, Spiritual Growth, young adults

To You, Young Man

August 24, 2016

 

 

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
– 1 John 2:14

 

You Are Strong

Young man, you have been given physical strength and energy. You can handle pushing yourself. Don’t waste that energy and strength on video games and entertainment. Don’t waste your strength on pursuing and impressing women (or, worse yet, forcing yourself on women). Instead look to Jesus who used his strength to serve, love, and bear the burden of his Father’s honor.

You also have mental strength and fortitude. Push your mind to learn and grow now while you are young so that it has capacity as you grow older. Engage with deep issues, don’t avoid them. Read. Write. Think. Jesus “grew in stature with men and God.” You do the same. You are strong.

The Word of God Lives in You

Paul says that physical training is of some value, but training for godliness is eternally valuable (1 Tim 4:8). Your strength is good, but it must be directed towards an eternally valuable end. Train yourself for godliness by cultivating the word of God that lives in you.

Soak in passages of scripture, yes, but most importantly let Jesus, the living Word, abide in you and you in him. Stop focusing so much on the fact that you need to read your Bible more. Instead, trust that the Word (Jesus) has indwelt you through his Spirit. He lives in you. What more do you need?

If Christ and his Spirit live in you, you have knowledge of God’s word and will. You don’t need to be passive and act as if you don’t have anything to contribute. Be humble, yes, and learn from your elders, but also be bold. In Psalm 119 David says that he had more understanding than all his councilors because he meditated on God’s law. Be that guy.

The Word lives. This isn’t some dead knowledge. It is a living force that will compel you to obey and move in faith. It lives in you; a foreign power has taken up residence within you. Submit to it.

You Have Overcome

You are strong. The Word abides in you. As a result have and will overcome the evil one. Your overcoming is so sure that John had to put it in past tense. Because Jesus defeated sin and Satan, you too overcome the evil one.

You, young man, get to walk around in victory over Satan. You get to laugh at his attempts and attacks. His deceits and temptations have already been overcome. He doesn’t get to have any power in your life.

That overcoming doesn’t stop with your life though, just like Jesus’ defeat of Satan didn’t just result in freedom for him personally. In the power of Jesus you can help others overcome the demonic forces in their own lives. Step out boldly. Take risks and you’ll see the kingdom of God break in and overcome beautiful ways.

You, young men, have great potential in the kingdom of our heavenly Father. The Apostle John thought so. I think so. I write to you because I want you to step into the full reality of that potential. Don’t settle for being anything less than you are. You are strong. You have the word of God living in you. You are an overcomer. Live that today.

 

 

 

Christian Life, Commentary, Spiritual Growth

Bearing The Yoke

January 10, 2014

 

 

 

I’m a young man. Many of the people I minister to, give advice to, and spend the most significant amounts of time with, are young men. There’s a problem with most young men. It’s been bred into us since the fall of Adam and strengthened by a culture that promotes comfort, pleasure, and ease – we don’t like difficulty. We’ve been trained that challenges and hardships are things for movies and video games. We watch them, play them, and want to be powerful, disciplined, and strong like the heroes we see, but few and far between are those who have actually taken on themselves the work that is needed to reach those heights. More often we sleep in, stay at home, and coast.

When something hard does happen – a breakup, loss of a job, someone pointing out our shortcomings, life not going as planned – we’re crushed. We lay awake late into the night, minds rushing with how we’re going to solve the problems and get out of the hard times. We turn in on ourselves and bemoan the cruelty of the world and question what God is doing. How could, why did something like this happen to us?

The Lord is Good

To my friends who are young men, if we’re operating that way we’ve got it all wrong. Yesterday I sat down and read through the book of Lamentations which, from front to back, is about seriously difficult times. A nation being destroyed, men and women being killed, and famine so bad that women were eating their own children. Your breakup, your loneliness, your worry about the future has nothing on that.

But in the midst of that terror and trial, the writer of Lamentations makes the amazing declaration,

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth. ( Lamentations 3:25-27)

If we are to be men who God can use we need be men who, by faith, proclaim that kind of truth in the midst of our hard times. When difficulty arrives we must steel ourselves, strengthen our resolve, and declare “The Lord is good to those who wait for him.” It’s that truth, regardless of what is taking place in your life, that will sustain you.

It Is Good

But the writer of Lamentations doesn’t stop with God’s goodness in trial. He goes on to say that “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” Not only is God good in the midst of difficulties, those difficulties in and of themselves have some sort of good for you.

Bear the yoke in your youth, young man. It will strengthen you for decades to come. Stop shying away from difficulty. Stop bemoaning the pain in your life. Embrace it. Stand up under the yoke with manly force of will.Your trembling legs and aching heart are signs that you are growing. Our God is a Father who disciplines those he loves. Every burden you have now is crafted by the hand of our loving, sovereign Lord to shape your character and prepare you for his blessed future.

Let go of the pride that causes you to question and search late into the night for any way to escape the pain. Instead, humble yourself and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. As Job said, shall we receive good from the hand of the Lord and not trouble? (Job 2:10) He is the one in charge. If he has seen fit to lay a burden on you, he has done it for good reasons, because “The Lord is good to those who wait for him.”

Bear the yoke, my friend. Wait quietly in faith, for the Lord is good. Let your soul seek him in trouble, endure hardship as a good soldier, knowing that our King has already won the war and is preparing us for glory.