Sunday, February 8, 2009

Echos Coming Back, What's This

So I've been contemplating this week, everything it means to be a high school student (junior/senior) and a college student. Who we are at this stage in our lives. Here in America when we are juniors and seniors in high school, we are considering where we want to go to college for the next four years. We sometimes tour multiple colleges, in hopes of finding the "right" one. Most of the time we don't even ask God what he wants. Sometimes we do. Once we get to college, we have so many decisions to make, Are we going to stay in church? Are we going to turn away? Are we going to party? Are we going to succeed in college?

There are two types of students. The one who sticks by the faith and grows spiritually, and the one who doesn't.

The person who chooses to turn away from the faith isn't a bad person, they have just lost their way. What happens is the youth gets caught up in wanting to be accepted, wanting to have friends, and so they do what they think they have to do to obtain this. If the person was a strong person of the faith, they will notice a very empty feeling. This is because they are not going the way that Christ had planned, and the person realizes it. When the person comes to this realization, they can either choose to return to the Lord, and seek forgiveness, or they can harden their heart and turn even further away.

2 Kings 2:23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

I thought that was an interesting bit about youth who weren't on the right path with the Lord. Then there is King David praying to the Lord.

Psalms 26:6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.

David is praying for God's mercy and forgiveness for all the times he rebelled against him, for the times he wasn't walking the path that God had ordained for him to follow. This is something that all of us have had to do at one time or another, the question is whether or not we actually meant it when we prayed. Then there is the wisdom of King Solomon from Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 11:9
Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.

Enjoy life! But remember to do all things in Christ. I really had an "enjoy life" moment last night, after Winter Jam we went to Krispy Kreme and ordered donuts, eight people in the car, drive thru only, separate tickets, it was amazing, we spent over twenty minutes at the window getting our orders. While I was at Winter Jam, I was thinking of all the other times I had been, the first year, with Newsboys, meeting Andrew, then the year with Relient K and Audio A, making the radio show before we left, with all of us on there, Justin, Trevor, Zach, Andrew and I, then driving all the way to Little Rock singing Relient K songs. Including "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." These were truly "the days" I have never felt so alive than in moments like that. These are the times to cherish, but there is another side to the story; you have to see the second half of the verse. For all these things, God will bring you judgment. This is something that we forget all too often. Now I can say that last night, and at the previous mentioned Winter Jams, there was nothing negative the God would judge us on. But during the time between, the times when we aren't at church functions, we have to think of the things that we have done, and how God will judge us. Then we remember, he saves! and forgives all sins! Then we have what its like to follow Christ all your life:

Psalms 71:5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.

We grow up in church, we "rely" on Christ all our lives, we praise Him in church. But have we ever given Him everything? When we are growing up in church do we ever think that things will be different? Do we ever realize our need to be following Christ whole heartedly? I mean, some of us have, but very few can say that their entire life, they have given it all to Christ. So Solomon writes again in Ecclesiastes to remind us what to do:

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them."

Remember God! There is a vast majority of youth who forget about Christ once they are in high school and college. Remember Him, so that you will not say "I find no pleasure in my youth." If we forget about Christ as we are growing into the adults, we will loose valuable time for His Kingdom. We won't live to the full potential that he needs us at. So many people say "if I had thought of it, I wouldn't have done ____________ in college and or high school." I'm the same way, but what if we had been living for Christ? The impact for the Kingdom we would have had!

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

Timothy here is just reiterating the wisdom that Solomon and David imparted to us. I love the verse that comes next though. Avoid stupid arguments. I could just go on about that one, maybe some other time.

Why is it though, that they say avoid the evil desires of youth? Why is it that youth are constantly battling between drawing close to God and disowning the faith. There are several keys to this; we are growing in so many ways during this time, that we really don't know what to do. If we aren't shown the greatness that can be had in following Christ and staying with Him, we won't want to do that. We'll want to do what is fun, and because of our inherent sin nature, sin is "fun" and so we have a tendency to lean towards sin, instead of being "sold out" to Christ. The person who is "sold out" for Christ throughout their entire life is truly blessed, they have such a great story to tell, of how they never strayed from the path of the Lord; sure they've sinned, everyone does, but they have been forgiven. Then there is the story of the one who has turned away from Christ, one of sorrow and pain, but also one of redemption, one of Christ's saving grace.

What you will find is that I refer to myself as straying, I do have to say that I have never stopped going to church, but that I found myself distant, and questioning why I was even going. I was the definition of "lukewarm" and hated it. I was one who hadn't fully lived for Christ his entire life, until a few months ago, when I surrendered all to Him. Now I am truly free.

What will it take to get youth and college students today to see it's sooooo much better to stick with Christ?

(Title from White Lights by Deas Vail)
Look forward, for the Son to rise on a new day

1 comment:

  1. Great Picture! Nebo? It is obvious that you are searching the scriptures, but are you allowing the scriptures to search you?

    A young man in his youth who stays the course, will in his old age have a grand story to tell. I truly believe that your teen years determine your twenties, and your twenties determine the rest of your life.

    Stay the course. Sell out to Christ daily.

    Remember always, that Christ must increase, but you must decrease.

    Praise God in the morning for who He is and thank God in the evening for what He has done.

    Till Next Time