Navigating adult life can be tough for our young people. They are passionate about making a difference. They soak up information from the world around them like dry sponges! They develop strong opinions about trends of the day and are eager to share them, with or without fear of what others think.
At times, amidst their voicing of these opinions and beliefs, others will challenge and even criticize them openly. They then have the obstacle of opposition to overcome. They may respond in many ways, including taking to social media to share their experience. I’ve seen this sharing lead others in their life to rally to their support, and rightfully so. We should be a voice of support for our young adults.
One thing that I have observed during these times in the development of the minds of our young people is the invariable adult who makes the following (or similar) statement: “You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!” As a father, pastor and friend to young adults, I cringe when I see that. I can understand the motive of the individual in wanting to support their loved one or friend, but it bothers me on two fundamental levels. One, it is simply not true. Two, it may be encouraging the young person to rebel against a God-given authority in their life.
Let me tackle the first issue. I realize that negativity in life is not desired. It is not fun. In many instances it may not be warranted. However, it is needed. How can we truly be a help to those around us by sharing truth, if what we are sharing isn’t actually truth? In the case that what our young person is sharing is not true, they would need to be corrected and shown the truth. In the Bible, Job shares this thought on chastening: “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:” (5:17). Solomon, the wisest man to ever live said “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” (Proverbs 3:11) When someone takes the time to speak truth into your life, resist the urge to turn them away. Rather, examine their correction and see how it can make you better. If we do that, the writer of Hebrews tells us “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (12:11)
On the other note, we need to be cautious when encouraging our young people in their endeavors. What we mean to say to them and what we are actually saying can be two entirely different things. The statement “You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!” can be taken as an encouragement to rebel against those who are trying to speak truth to them. This can be their parents, a godly pastor or mentor, or a loving Christian friend. If taken the wrong way, you are tearing them away from those who love them enough to help them.
Finally, I want us to consider other ways of encouraging our young people when they experience criticism. This is where you come in and join the discussion! Comment below with alternative methods or phrases that can challenge our young adults. How can we help them see the benefits of negativity? If we are successful, they can further mature into the productive adults that they want to be, and then make a lasting change in their world
Rose Hill Baptist Church
Let God Shape Your Desires - Psalm 37:4,5 & I Samuel 8-10
Samuel is growing old, his sons are worthless, and the people of Israel want a new form of leadership. The Israelites have decided in their heart what type of leader they want. They want a king! A king “like all the nations” I Samuel 8:5. A man to lead them into war and triumph! This request represents a rejection of God as their King. God often allows men the freedom of choice, but not freedom from the consequences. God in his grace warns the Israelites of the consequences of an earthly king, but they will not be persuaded. They want what they want! I Samuel 8:19, “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations…”
What type of King will Israel get? Good looking, strong, and tall? Yes. But how about godly, wise and mature? The first coronation of the king of Israel takes place. Saul has become king. The people are jubilant and excited! I Samuel 10:24 “And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” All the dreams and desires of Israel seem to be fulfilled through their new king. But is this truly what they wanted? Time reveals…
Although Saul had a few successful moments, his life is a complete and utter failure as king.
How did this happen? How did this joyful and exciting beginning to their Monarchy come to such a tragic end? Did God give Israel the desires of their heart? He did. Where did those desires for a King come from? From their communion and closeness to God? From them loving and treasuring the Lord above all else? Or, did those desires come from a desire to be independent of God? From doing that which was right in their own eyes?
Your delights shape your desires. To delight means to find complete satisfaction, to commune, to desire above all else. God wants to shape our desires. Psalm 37:4-5.
One of the worst things that can happen to you is for God to give you the desires of your heart, if that desire came in a time when you were not delighting in God.
Everyone has desires, wants, and ambitions. Those are not necessarily bad. But before you act upon a desire, make a decision, pursue an ambition, and go for what you want - honestly and carefully ask yourself: Where did that desire come from? Test the desires of your heart, and pursue only those that were born out of your delight in God.
Southwest Baptist Church
Church Planting Missionary to Sri Lanka
Many of the thoughts and ideas conveyed in this lesson came from a sermon preached by Bro. Sam Davison at Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, in 2003.
DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE - JUDGES 13
You are young. You have potential! Potential does not guarantee success though. Potential is only a possibility: you have the capacity to become or develop into something in the future. It is something not yet achieved. No biblical character shows more potential than Samson.
The biblical author of Judges highlights the birth narrative of Samson throughout chapter thirteen. Why? I believe the author is pointing to the potential of this child. The angel of the Lord visits Manoah, and later his wife, twice. He instructs them about their son’s Nazarite vow. Samson’s Nazarite vow is unique. It is divinely imposed, unlike the normal voluntary vow. A Nazarite vow would usually be a temporary token for a period of time to show dedication to God, but Samson will have this vow from conception until death!
Don’t forget what the author highlighted in the opening verses: Manoah’s wife’s barrenness. They could not have children! So, the announcement of a child was a BIG deal. Those must have been the longest nine months of their life. Finally, Samson was born!
Judges 13:24, 25 “And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him...”
Samson’s potential is off the charts!
After reading chapter 13 of Judges you naturally would ask yourself these questions.
For the next three chapters over and over again Samson will find himself facing a tug-a-war in his heart between – living for God and living for self.
Chapter 14 Summary:
Samson is disrespectful to his parents, uncaring toward his Nazarite calling, disloyal to his own people, compromising his morals, rude to his wife, flippant with his tongue, driven by his lust and appetite.
Chapter 15 Summary:
Samson is self-centered. Although it may appear exciting, he is violating his calling. Life is all about Samson and his pleasure.
Chapter 16 Summary:
Samson treats his call like it is a game. His eyes end up plucked out, and his last days are spent grinding grain. Instead of fulfilling his life’s potential for God, it is wasted by living for himself.
You too have great potential to live a life for God. But that potential will be wasted when your life is spent on yourself. Those who refuse to embrace the special life of a Christian end up losing the blessed life. Determine, by God’s grace, to live out your fullest potential for Christ.
Southwest Baptist Church
Church Planting Missionary to Sri Lanka