Relationships 1. A Young Person and God

We are a product of our relationships. If that is indeed true then it is vitally important that we make sure that we get our relationships right. Who should we be friends with? Why have friendships at all? Here we begin a series on young people and their relationships. We are going to be looking at four different aspect of a young person’s relationship with others; with God, with Church, with Friends and with Family.

Before we can take even the slightest shuffle down the path of talking about relationship we have to relate the issue to God. Before a young person can relate properly to anyone he/she must relate to God rightly.

Our culture worships youth. Youthfulness is the ultimate good (they say) and if the young people like it, it must be good. Our churches sometimes go the totally opposite way and reject young people from participation in the people of God. Those, at least, who have not swallowed the lies that our culture produces en mass that youth are god. What with the confusion of extremes we may well be justified in wondering what is the position of young people. Are they god, as our culture would say? Or are they, instead, rejected by God from having to do with him until they stop being youth?

When God looks at Christian young people what does he see? Surely if we want to know how young people are to relate to God we need to know how he thinks of them. If you grab a concordance and find the relevant verses you’ll find something like this: Youth are viewed in the Bible in three different ways.
1. Youthfulness is the time of promise, of potential; early adulthood at its most perfect waiting for its fulfillment. (Dan 1:4; Prov 20:29;  Prov 5:18; Mal 2:14; Ps127:4)
2. Youth is a time characterised by waywardness of one sort of another (Ps 25:7; Job 13:26; Isa 54:4; Jer 31:13 Eze 23:21; Eccles 11:10)
3. Youth is treated as the time of establishing of a positive pattern for life. The greatest time of potential for good throughout the rest of life. (1 Kings 18:12; Ps 71:5,17; Eccles 11:9; 12:1; Ps 119:9)

Of these three reasons, number three is the most important because this reason takes into account the lasting impact. How one spends the years of one’s youth will shape the rest of his or her life significantly. In the light of that here are some challenges and encouragements to us as young people.
  1. Realize that God exists and is watching you. When we are young we are really tempted to forget God which is why we get the rebuke from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.”
  2. Seek a relationship with God. The reason that ordinarily we can’t get close to God (without being burned up!) is because of our sin. In Christ, however, God has provided a way for our sins to be dealt with- by repentance and faith in him. Once sin has been dealt with the way is open for an open relationship. God requires that you repent and invites you to become his son/daughter.
  3. Renew your heart in the scriptures then, and only then, will you know God’s will in your life. Read the Bible at least daily; not just once a week/month/whenever-you-feel-like-it. And memorise it, delight in it. “How shall a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to thy word” (Ps 119:9)
  4. Pray Pray Pray. Commit all of your plans to the Lord (Ps 37:5). Look, doesn’t it just makes sense to speak to God about everything? Honour him in your prayers, yes, but he is your Father and he loves you a lot. Look what Romans tells us: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32)
  5. Use the natural passion and energy that you have for good not harm; put it into God’s glory not yours. Find ways you can serve in the family and in the church. I’d like to challenge you to find one way in which you can improve your service for others (in church or family) in the next week, then see if you can keep it up.
  6. Wait on the Lord because you will run out of energy especially if you are working for him. Learn to rely on him. This is especially to us, young men, as we are often the ones who think we can get through stuff on our own steam. Isaiah has a helpful word for us all: “Even youths shall faint and be weary and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint.” (Isa 40: 30-31)
  7. Set an example; of purity, of love, of faith, of hope, of self-control, in conduct, and in speech. (2 Tim 2:22; 1 Tim 4:12; Tit 2:6) What kind of an example do you think Jesus was to the kids who grew up around him? As followers of Jesus don’t you think we should try to be the same?


Youth is the time for building foundations. A young Oak tree is easy enough for a child to bend and train but when it grows up and spreads its branches and it’s trunk becomes old and hard then 100 men couldn’t uproot it. Old habits die hard - good or bad. So if you only have a few years of youth then it makes sense for you to spend time on getting your relationship with God right. Lay that foundations first. Once you do, your relationship with others will follow.

By Thomas van den Broek

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks Thomas

    I loved the Oak illustration. Very powerful and as you say old habits die hard. Challenging...

    Jonah

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  2. Amen. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." (Ecc 12:1)

    Our youth is a time of great potential- either for good or for bad. We can use this time to draw closer to the Lord, pursue holiness, ready ourselves for the future, and begin to engage in the battles around us, or we can shrug our shoulders and say, "Well, I can't do much for God at my age...anyhow, I wanna have some fun before responsibilities kick in."

    Young people these days are mortally afraid to grow up...because if they grow up, they'll have to start shouldering responsibility and being accountable. When you look back in history and see what great men and women of the past were doing when young, and the strength of character they showed in their teen years, it makes you wince to see how low we've fallen.

    Think of Lady Jane Grey, showing amazing faith and courage when she was called upon to take the throne and then was executed at just sixteen, or the early Americans who ran businesses and fought decisive wars at ages such as fourteen and nineteen. It makes you think.

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