I was recently pondering the plight of our youth as a mother of two teens and a twenty something. (Not to mention as a Jesus follower, who is concerned with the fact that many die every day without making Jesus their personal Lord and Savior…)
Teenagers … You see them all around us. They used to be us. So many grow up without proper role models, morals, manners or the ability to become responsible, independent adults. The Bible says, “A child left to himself brings destruction.” (Proverbs 29:15)
The thought occurred to me that – “You cannot lead where you have not been.” As a society and particularly as believers, we must be the examples and mentors of our youth. The need is great for all believers to remain counter culture, follow Jesus’ teachings with our whole hearts and model Christ’s love at all times. The standards are high. But, with God’s grace and strength we can do all things! The standards are high, and so are the stakes. You see, eternity hangs in the balance for many. We must be that city set on a hill, that shining light for all to see Christ’s love through us. (Matthew 5:14) No, there is nothing good in ourselves, but when we allow God’s love to flow through us, we become an awesome vessel that God can use! We have a high calling to lead others to Jesus. “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6)
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.” ~ I Peter 2:9-11
What exactly does it mean to be counter culture? It means that we have a different set of standards, lifestyle and desires than that of those who do not follow Jesus. It means we remember daily that this world is not our home and do not set our affections on the things here. We should fill up our souls with the Word of God in such a way that we naturally walk in God’s love and share it with others.
What holds your affections today? Don’t hold too tightly to the temporary. For, you see, one day it will all vanish. There is coming a day when what is seen will be no more. One day, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:10)
Our witness as Christians can only be as effective to the degree we follow Christ’s commands. If we live our lives parallel to the world, our testimony becomes dilluted and of no effect. “And if the salt has lost its flavor, it is no good, but to be trampled on.” (Matthew 5:13) We are the salt of the earth, folks! We must be the difference makers. We must reflect Christ in all we do and say.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” ~ I Corinthians 13:11
It’s time to grow up spiritually. Stop acting like those who have not heard the Good News. Stop walking in the paths that were never meant for you as a believer. It’s time to rise up and walk with God. Let Him lead you into the amazing future He has for you. He has only good things planned for you. It’s up to us line our lives up with the Word of God and put ourselves in position for the blessings of God. He cannot bless sin. So, we must submit ourselves to God. Blessings follow obedience. (Deuteronomy 28 — one of my favorite chapters!)
God’s laws are not to siphon all the fun and enjoyment out of life, but to steer us clear of sin and its torment. “The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and in the end destruction comes.”
If we, as believers, conduct our lives with utmost integrity and in alignment with the Word of God, think of how great our influence for the kingdom of God could be?