This Sunday I will be speaking at a youth rally. Speaking to young(er) people, especially teens, always gives me mixed emotions. There is so much potential…for disaster. I might think I am connecting, being hip, and being real, but teens have a way of looking at you with one expression while thinking the complete opposite. So, I’ll have to pray and dive right in.
I wanted to share with you what I will be saying to these young, impressionable minds. So, since I have three points I will divide it up into three posts for your reading pleasure.
I want you to hear some things today that many don’t want you to hear. Satan doesn’t want you to hear them. Your enemies in this world don’t want you to hear them. Your parents don’t really want you to hear them. But they are so important, you need to know them.
First, Your parents are holding you back.
I know because I have parents, and because I am a parent. I know your parents are holding you back because I know what it’s like for parents to worry about their children. Your parents are afraid of what might happen to you. They are glad that we don’t live in a time when Christians are persecuted because they don’t want you growing up in that kind of a world. They are afraid of what people can do to you, that you might lose your career because you are a Christian, that you might get kicked out of college for being a Christian, that the world might see you as weird or stupid if you are too fanatical about being a Christian. I know good, Christian parents who were upset when their sons became preachers because they were afraid of what might happen to them…afraid of how people would treat them…afraid that they might not make enough money.
You see, no father wants John the Baptist for his son. No parent wants his child to be a religious nut living in poverty out in the desert wearing camel skin and eating grasshoppers. And no parent wants to see his child beheaded, like John was. Your parents don’t want you to end up like John the Baptist, they don’t want you sticking your neck out–so they hold you back.
And it is not because they are bad parents. It is precisely because they are good parents, and because they want the best for you, and they don’t want anything bad to happen to you. They don’t want people to look down on you, injure you, or kill you for being devoted to God. But, you have to help them to understand that faithful Christians will face persecution. Period. Paul told Timothy in 2Tim 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” You have to help your parents to understand that persecution is inevitable for a faithful Christian, and that they cannot protect you—only God can. You have to help them help you make your one sole purpose in life to fear God and keep His commandments. Because if you don’t you might have a great life, but eternity won’t be so great.
So, you have to help them learn some things:
–That Bible class homework, service, and Christian fellowship are more important than school work. And if you have to stay up late doing homework so you can go to church, or spend time in God’s word, or go to a youth group function, then so be it.
–That church activities are more important than school activities and sports and art classes and TV and video games and anything else that fills up your life. They will push you to excel in these areas, but these things can make your life so full that you don’t have time to hang out with the youth group, or study the Bible, or serve others.
–And that being 100% fully devoted to Christ does not make you a religious nut, no matter what the TV shows and movies say. That being a completely committed follower of Christ is the most normal, sane thing that you can ever do.
You are going to have to help your parents so they don’t hold you back from fearing God, keeping His commandments, and making that the goal and purpose of your life.