BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; you have to answer to God for every last bit of it” (Eccl 11:9 TM).
You can’t be young twice. The devil knows this very well and that is why he is catching human beings in their youth. He knows that if he can catch them young, he’ll be able to disciple them for evil thereby frustrating the purpose of God for their lives.
But God has His own plan for youths. He knows that the most potent stage of a person’s life is his or her youth and God wants to give everyone a vision to be pursued in life. Both God and the devil are interested in you as a youth. There is a battle that is going on over your destiny as a youth. Satan is contending with God over your life but you have the power to overcome (1John 2:14b). Will you allow satan to win or will you yield your youth, the most important stage of your life, to God?
God wants you to pour your youth into your destiny and not to waste it on pleasure or vanity. Life is too short to be wasted, and too important not to be invested in what God has created you to do on the earth. You don’t have to waste your life doing wrong things under the pretext of youthful exuberance. Focus on God’s purpose for your life and pour your life into it. Divert your youthful energy into productive ventures. British prime minister and writer, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), says, “Almost everything that is great has been done by youth.”
But it’s sad today what the devil is doing to youths all over the world especially in our nation. Satan is giving youths wrong focus in entertainment, drug, cultism, sexual immorality and all forms of crime. But these are not what God created these fearfully and wonderfully made youths to do on the earth. (Ps 139:14). God couldn’t have wasted His time to create someone to become a prostitute, drug addict, cultist or kidnapper. No, He has a better purpose in mind but satan has perverted the destiny of a lot of youths giving them wrong focus very early in life. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11 NKJV).
Avoiding life of vanity
The clock of your life is ticking; you have a duty to discover and pursue God’s purpose for your life as a youth and stop being deceived by the fantasy of life that satan is peddling. “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned to me” (Acts 20:24 NLT).
Your youth isn’t to display your beauty around and engage in nudity. Young lady, how long do you think, you’ll remain a beauty queen? The Bible says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Prov 31:30 NKJV). No matter all the cosmetics in your vanity-case to look young and beautiful, you won’t get younger. Why don’t you invest your youth in what won’t make you regret when you’re no longer young? Why won’t you live your life as a youth such that later when you reflect on your youth, you’ll be happy?
Paul told Timothy: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:12 NKJV). I say the same thing to you: Don’t despise your youth with ungodly lifestyle and don’t let anyone despise it by luring you to do what is evil; don’t let anyone entice to live a life of sin (Prov 1:10-19).
Youths are often deceived to think that they must first live their lives to do the wrong things, which they call enjoying themselves, and later in life they can come back to do more serious things meant for those more mature in age. What a lie of the devil! Who tells you that you must first waste your life in “infantile indulgence” (2 Tim 2:22 TM) – youthful lusts – before you begin to find your way back to God later in life? Today is your day! Don’t continue to sow seeds of regrets. That sin you say you’re enjoying now, will rob you of real enjoyment later in life.
Roadmap For Maximizing Your Youth
Let me share with you briefly some key points that should guide you to live a great life in your youth.
1.Love the Lord with devotion; follow him and his purpose for your life. And the starting point is to give your life to Jesus – be born again in your youth. The rich young ruler in Luke 18:19-23 loved his wealth more than following Jesus, and he went into oblivion – no mention of him in the Bible. Before you finish reading this message, I shall be inviting you to be born again. Make sure you surrender your life to Jesus. Eccl 12:1. “Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living” (NLT). That chapter goes ahead to list some things you won’t be able to do when you’re old. Remember your Creator now while you’re young. Solomon warned that you may do whatever you like in the name of enjoying yourself as a youth but you’ll face God’s judgment one day (Eccl 11:9-10). Whoever lives in pleasure is dead while he or she lives (1 Tim 5:6).
2. Worship the Lord in your youth. Offer yourself in entirety to God as a living and holy sacrifice (Rom 12:1). Sing to the Lord, adore him. “…She shall sing there as in the days of her youth…” (Hos 2:15 NKJV). Don’t worship the devil. Start worshipping the Lord in your youth and continue till old age (Psalm 92:14).
3. Obey God’s Word from your youth and avoid evil. The people of Judah didn’t obey God from their youth (Jer 22:21). The same was true of the children of Israel. You must not emulate them.
Avoid anything you’ll be ashamed of later in life or that will bring disgrace to you. Don’t enjoy doing now what won’t make you enjoy in your latter years. “I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days” (Jer 31:19 NLT). Remember that there are consequences for all actions of man. Eccl 11:9 says God will bring a young man into judgment for how he lives his life. And that also includes a young woman.
4. Keep your body holy – don’t abuse your body; don’t let anyone defile you in your youth. Beware of sexual sin. Your body is the temple of God; don’t defile it (1 Cor 3:16-17). Flee youthful lusts (2 Tim 2:22). Beware of what you eat; don’t destroy your body with alcohol, drug, junk food, etc. These are associated with different ailments that affect humans; they will defile your body too. Ezek 4:14 says, “… Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now…” (NKJV). Let this be your testimony too. If you’re already exposed to any of these, stop today and secure a healthy future for yourself.
5. Submit to God’s discipline. Lam 3:27 says, “And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline” (NLT). The yoke of discipline includes His commandments and correction. Obey God’s commandments and embrace His corrections. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:29-30). Follow God’s teachings and leadership to enjoy true rest in life.
6. Grow up; don’t be complacent, lazy or at ease. Are you growing up in Christ or you’re growing old? Don’t just grow up in age but grow up spiritually. Psalm 144:12 says, “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars” (NKJV). “Grown up” there means flourishing. “May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants…” (NLT). 1 Sam 2:26 says the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men. According to Luke 2:40, the Child Jesus also grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Your growth should also be all round.
Jer 48:11 says, “Moab has always taken it easy – lazy as a dog in the sun. Never had to work for a living, never faced any trouble. Never had to grow up, never once worked up a sweat” (TM). Woe to them that are at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1). Don’t live for pleasure. Some things are better done when you’re young.
7. Live your life such that no one will despise your youth. Paul told Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1Tim 4:12 NKJV). What is your manner of life now? Is it something worth emulating? Looking at the way you’re living your life, will responsible adults respect you and recommend you?
8. Make your youthful energy and strength available to God while you’re young. Don’t yield your strength to the devil. The days are coming when you won’t be as strong as you’re now. That is the time Ecc 12:1 calls the evil days. Prov 20:29 says the glory of young men is their strengths, so invest yours now in profitable and productive ventures.
9. Choose your company wisely. This is important whether the company has to do with business, social, marital or any other. Success in life is determined by, among other things, the quality of the collection of relationships you have. Wrong relationships in your youth will only ruin your life. Prov 12:26 says, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (NKJV). The company you keep determines a great deal what comes into your life and what you become eventually. Prov 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (NKJV).
10. Pursue your God-given dream. Don’t be idle. Invest your youth in the pursuit of God’s vision for your life. I’m not talking about an illusion. Don’t just live to earn a living. You’ll never know fulfillment or joy unless you discover and pour your life into what you were created by God to do in life.
11. Use your God given power of imagination positively from your youth. Somebody has rightly said that the most powerful nation on earth is “I-m-a-g-i-n-a-t-i-o-n.” God Himself tells us early in the Bible the power of human imagination. He said about the sons of men building the Tower of Babel, “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Gen 11:6 KJV). And you can use your power of imagination either positively or negatively. Gen 8:21 says, concerning man, that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Let not this be God’s testimony concerning you. According to Luke 1:51, God scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts. Don’t deploy your power of imagination to pursue evil.
12. Prayerfully choose a spiritual father. You must know who your spiritual father is. You should know your spiritual father’s house in your youth and stay there just as you do your biological father’s house (Num 30:3, 16). This relationship has obligations and benefits on both sides. Don’t wander about without a spiritual father’s input into your life but be careful not to make a wrong choice.
13. Get married and have children in your youth. The youths I’m talking about are youths that are mature for marriage spiritually, physically, emotionally and even financially and don’t have the gift of singleness (1 Cor 7:7).
Mal 2:14-15 speaks of the wife of your youth and Joel 1:8 speaks of the husband of her youth. Prov 5:18 talks about rejoicing with the wife of your youth. According to Psalm 127:4, children born in one’s youth are like arrows in one’s hand.
Unfortunately, when some youths who are mature for marriage are supposed to marry and start their own families, they waste their lives thinking they’re enjoying life engaging in serial sexual relationships – fornication. They think settling down in marriage will rob them of enjoyment! What a delusion! I’m not talking about the serious ones who’re still genuinely trusting God for a husband or wife. The Lord shall answer such people and put an end to their waiting.
Conclusion: Dear young lady, young man, let your desire in your youth be satisfied by God – don’t pander to drug, sex, alcohol, cultism, etc. These will never give you true satisfaction. Psalm 103:5 says, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”(NLT). Renew your strength always in GOD, not in DRUG! Follow the roadmap above, and your youth will be unmistakably maximized.
If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching, soul-winning church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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