What are you pursuing?

“It’s OK – he’s still young…” “Let her enjoy herself while she’s got the chance…” I’m sure you’ve heard both. It seems to be taken for granted today in much of the church that God doesn’t have a job for young people, or if he does it certainly isn’t anything that requires separation from the world, or personal holiness. In many churches it is expected that even professing Christians who are under the age of 25 will look like, talk like and behave just like their unbelieving peers.

But does the Bible tell us to expect the same thing. What does the Bible have to say to young people about pleasing God? We only need to go to the stories of young men and women like Daniel, Esther, David, Ruth, Jonathan and Samuel to get a very different picture. Maybe it’s about time for young people to start ignoring the world’s expectations and living according to God’s expectations.

When the founders of Walking Worthy met to discuss a ‘mission statement’ we came up with this: “Our aim is to encourage young people to devote themselves to the glory of Christ in every area of their lives”. It is our firm belief that the Lord will work and glorify himself through us, young people, and that he requires from us, as much from older Christians, that we seek his ways first and devote ourselves to pleasing him.

If our hearts are set on glorifying God then we will seek to do what he wants us to do. His word comes to us: “Be Holy for I am Holy”. Our Father has given us all the weapons that we need to fight the devil. We need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.

J.C. Ryle says: “Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find his mind described in scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgement, hating what he hates, loving what he loves and measuring everything in this world by the standard of his word.”

Seeking holiness above self-satisfaction will be difficult at times. It will mean receiving mockery, misunderstanding and even hatred from those we work with, study with or even live with. But it’s worth it.

May God equip each one of us with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen

By David van den Broek



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10 comments:

  1. Amen! If we ask within his will we will receive. We can therefore ask with confidence that he will glorify himself through us.

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  2. you said that we should seek holiness rather than self-satisfaction however for a christian self-satisfaction is found in holiness becauls in one sence holiness brings us closer to Jesus and for a christian satisfaction is found in Jesus, however as you said we should not seek it.
    Richard van den Broek

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  3. Richard, thats an interesting thought.
    If our driving force is self satisfaction, we certainly won't find it in Christ. We were not created so that we could be satisfied, but that God would be glorified.
    If we live our lives seeking to know God and become holy, then we will be glorifying him. The Lord has promised to honour those who honour him, so yes, we will be satisfied -eternally, but its not our motive, its a blessing as a result.

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  4. Thanks for the link Phillip.

    What bearing do you think the first answer of the Shorter Catechism has on this discussion? I particularly refer to the second part of our chief end – “to enjoy God” – which I would understand as including a lawful enjoyment of the things of this world in thankfulness, and with the aim of glorifying God in that use and enjoyment of them.

    (Bye the bye, my question is not limited to Philip. Nor is it meant to disagree with anything that has been said above, as far as I understand, but is an added dimension if you like; one that I see a great deal in Calvin's view of the Christian life, and so encapsulated in the Shorter Catechism and other Reformed Standards.)

    G.M.

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  5. David van den Broek8 October 2009 at 22:46

    There is a great deal to be said on the subject of Christian self-denial and I have recently found Calvin's institutes book 3 and chapter 7 particularly helpful.
    In particular, Calvin speaks about the Christian's duty to deny ourselves and make the Lord the 'centre' or 'hub' or 'focus' of our existence. If this happens then to enjoy something is no longer selfish but rather one of the many ways in which we bring glory to God.
    In reply to your comment, Richard, we can then say that Holiness (our becoming more like our Father) and satisfaction, for the Christian, will be inseparably linked -the Holier God makes us the more satisfied we become in Him. And we should seek and pray for this continually.

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  6. But isn't it inherently human to search for satisfaction , however we look for it in the wrong places. But when we know where to look- in Christ- we find full satisfaction.
    So then don't the two -God's glory and our satisfaction go together? coz we go deeper into Christ as we look for greater satisfaction and so God is glorified through that? obviously we should be doing things for << seeking to know God and become holy>> but don't we ultimately do that a)coz of what he's done for us out of thankfulness...but b)coz we know that we'll be blessed by God coz he promises us that.
    I don't know if I'm contradicting myself or completely wrong but- my thoughts usually tend to be half formed so make of that what you will!

    Keziah :-D

    p.s elspeth do you remember me?your dad used to preach at my church in east london loads- "hope baptist chapel" (i've got like 7 brothers and sisters if that helps lol)

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  7. Yes, I do remember you Keziah. That feels like decades ago!! Are you still in London?
    Thanks for commenting on our blog. It's great to have some healthy discussions, and I agree with what you said about God's glory and our satisfaction going together. We should be happy and satisfied when God gets glory, not that we can do anything without Him, but that He works through us and gets the glory. Also, Philip, we have been created to glorify God, and part of glorfiying Him is enjoying Him and being satisfied in Him alone. Does that make sense?
    In Christ,
    Elspeth

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  8. Elspeth, thats very true, and I agree with you. I think what i was trying to get at was that we may not enjoy God simply with the aim of satisfying ourselves. Personal satisfaction is not our end. If that makes sense!

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  9. Regarding the first paragraph^, it stands out how some of the greatest missionary's, etc, were people who died before they even got to 30! McCheyne, Brainerd, etc... But they accomplished more in their lives than the vast majority of people accomplish even if they live for much longer! Think what good can be done in the years up to 25, instead of entertaining yourself, and pretending hard work and holiness comes later!

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  10. David van den Broek17 October 2009 at 23:24

    Philip I get your point (a good one I think) that pleasing and seeking to glorify God should be our ultimate focus and it's almost as if self-satisfaction is a coincidental by-product, because it just so happens to be the way that God made us to be.

    Isn't it amazing (as you said Elspeth) that our very existence is bound up in the fact that we have been created to glorify God -in a sense that makes things so much simpler -we don't need to be trying to work out how best to advance our own interests etc, we just need to look to Christ and seek to please him! I wish it was that simple in practice!

    Keziah, I don't know you but it's great to have you on the blog -don't forget to keep commenting:)

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