The last few days have been quite busy for me – trying to keep up with work and catch up with other commitments. Right now, I am just going as slow as I can and resting as much as possible. Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking with a few friends on the dangers of youthful exuberance, and I would like to share four points we discussed at that forum; you will find them helpful regardless of your age.
The first point was the most important: knowing and remembering who you are. In life, all kinds of pressures come to us all, and sometimes we are tempted to act contrary to our deepest convictions. Remember who you are. Peer pressure and desire for validation (“to belong”) can cause us to act in ways we may look back on and regret. Remember who you are. As a Christian, I am a child of God. My identity is tied to His existence, and my validation is tied to His acceptance. Nothing else matters in my daily decision-making process. Nothing else.
The second point will be familiar to long-distance runners: be patient in walking with God and pursuing your purpose. Life is not a sprint, and the purpose of God cannot unfold in a day. As we desire growth and progress in life and in faith, we must run our race with patience. The Bible admonishes us to follow the example of those who “through faith and patience obtained the promises”. What God has promised, He will perform. But we must be patient and consistent in observing the disciplines that underpin our life and faith.
The third point needs to be on constant repeat in today’s world: embrace purity and flee youthful lusts. Maintaining purity of heart is a desirable virtue; one which goes hand in glove with self-control and clear-headed decisions. With an impure heart comes impure motives and wicked actions that sow seeds of regret. While today’s liberal media plays down purity and advocates “liberty”, God commands that we flee the passionate desires that come with being young, so we do not become victims of our own actions. Every action has a consequence.
The final point is two-sided and humbling: pursue wisdom and understanding; embrace discipline and correction. These points were bundled together because embracing discipline and correction is one of the ways to grow in wisdom. Those who are blessed to have someone correct and guide them avoid grievous mistakes and gain priceless wisdom. The major way to grow in wisdom is to regularly read and meditate on God’s Holy Word. In the Bible, God reveals His will for mankind and instructs our daily lives so we can experience His goodness towards us.
As I said earlier, these points were shared in a discussion with young people. But I find that they are applicable regardless of one’s age. My personal desire is to live a fulfilling, blameless life before God and be able to look back on the days of my youth with joy and satisfaction. So I pray for you and for me, that God’s grace to put these things to practice will be granted to us in Jesus name. Amen.