I have been working on different posts at various times this past week but I felt that this would be the next one I would put up when it was ready. I was pleasantly surprised when I get an email from my Pastor in Ghana touching on some of the things I had been thinking about while writing this… Please read it with an open heart and as usual have a conversation with God about it.
I used to have this fear that my life would be too boring to tell my grandchildren about..lol.. that I wouldn’t have any really exciting experiences to share and I would be that boring Grandma who had no juicy stories from her youth, so had to make up stuff so she wouldn’t look lame :/ I guess this fear came from hearing all the interesting, funny stuff that my parents, aunties, uncles etc did when they were young which involved a lot of the things apart from my faith, my personality is just not drawn to. I don’t club so I wouldn’t have any dramatic clubbing stories about sneaking out of the house or stealing my mothers car. I don’t really like the taste of alcohol, so getting drunk is out, meaning I wouldn’t have any funny drunk stories where I dance on tables… (I did get tipsy once but I don’t plan on getting tipsy again, so that means I have one tipsy story which is not even exciting).
This might seem like a silly question to ask but what exactly are we supposed to do with our youth as people who have decided to follow Jesus? We hear all sorts of things from our families, friends, the media, school etc I don’t know about you but I find that a large number of people especially friends and some family seem to expect me to do all kinds of things to show that I am “living,” that I am having “fun”, that I am young.
There are times that these expectations have led me to do things I saw no point in doing, things I regret doing and things that were clearly out of my character.
I have learned that the only person whose approval I need is God’s. I must live in a way that pleases Him even if others think I am being extreme or boring. The world has a long list of things it wants us to see as “living a full life” and an even longer list of things it wants us to do with our youth…here are a few;
- Lose your virginity with anybody, it is not a big deal
- Have a one night stand or two or three
- Smoke weed a couple of times just to know what it is like
- Go “wild” once in a while, let loose
- Get drunk a couple of times
- Make money any way possible etc.
Some of the things listed above were expected of me during undergrad, I was expected to do them just so I got the “whole college experience,” and could say I was really having “fun” in college :/ The pressure is ever present and it is getting stronger and stronger, if you have succumbed to it grace is available draw on the grace of God and start afresh, if you have not succumbed draw even more grace and remain firm. Whatever your case draw grace :)
What does the Bible say about our youth though? Here are a couple of verses majority from Ecclesiastes
Therefore remove [the lusts that end in] sorrow and vexation from your heart and mind and put away evil from your body, for youth and the dawn are vanity [transitory, idle, empty and devoid of truth]
— It says “for youth and the dawn are vanity”, they are here today, gone tomorrow, the worldly “truth” you think you have for the purpose of your youth will only lead to destruction. The worldly things you do in your youth will not and cannot satisfy you, release yourself from them. You will only be satisfied with God.
Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment
—This does not need much explanation, have fun, enjoy they days of your youth, but whatever you choose to do know that there will be judgment. Simple.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil
— This one is a bit scary, God will bring every deed into judgment, nothing will be hidden, whether it is good or bad. This should scare you a little bit to wake you up to the realities of what living on Earth entails; life here ends, no matter how good or bad it is, it ends. When that end comes, life after death starts and where you spend that depends on you and what you do with your life now so that you are either accepted or rejected by God. There is no other way, that’s it.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
— Do a study on this verse yourself, read every line, think about every word, dig into it, ask the Holy Spirit for help, explore the verse and apply it to your life.
When I started writing parts of this post lines from “Young, Wild & Free” by Wiz Khalifa were ironically playing in my mind -_- I had thankfully forgotten most of the lyrics so I had to check Google:
So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how it’s supposed to be
Living young and wild and free
This is such a feel good song, the first time I heard it I just felt this “easiness” like I could do anything, no stress and I would be fine. I don’t smoke weed or get drunk but the song just makes you feel like your life is yours to do what you want and you are meant to enjoy it how you want to. But that line “that’s how it’s supposed to be” and the idea that the chorus gives is a lie. Your actions have consequences, you might be “living young and wild and free” now but that lifestyle WILL catch up with you. A child of God does not live like this, you are not of this world, you are called to live differently and really do not have an excuse when you live your life according to lyrics from songs like this one.
One of the links I recently put up on the blog is the link to a series on love where the pastor uses Song of Solomon. In one of the videos he talks about how on television we rarely ever hear about the STD’s, the unwanted pregnancies, the abortions, the emotional scars that come from sexual immorality. You see what the advertisers,the directors want you to see, and that is usually that you can get away with living a worldy lifestyle without having to deal with the ramifications..So I did a little research on HIV stats for America, the UK and Ghana..its alarming and sobering…Our actions do indeed have consequences…
- 1 in 5 people living with HIV are unaware of their infection
- Every 9.5 minutes someone in the U.S is infected with HIV
- Gay & Bisexual men of all races are the most infected by HIV
- By race African Americans face the most severe HIV burden
- Young black homosexuals are the most severely affected by HIV
In the UK
- Approximately 22,600 people living with HIV are unaware of their infection
- In 2011 an estimated 30,800 African born heterosexuals were living with HIV in the UK of whom about 23% remain undiagnosed
- By the end of 2011 an estimated 96,000 people were living in the UK including about 73,000 people diagnosed and 22,600 who were infected but undiagnosed.
- 230,000 people are living with HIV
- 200,000 adults aged 15 and up are living with HIV
- 110,000 women and up are living with HIV
- 180,000 orphans aged 0 - 17 due to HIV
In other alarming news in the US, Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider performed a record 333,964 abortions by the end of 2012 making their three year total 995,687 abortions according to their annual report.
I was too sad to go and check the abortion stats for the UK and Ghana. In three years 995,687 babies have been killed. 995,687! I can imagine and I won’t be wrong that majority of these abortions are done by young women, women in their youth with or without the encouragement of the men partly responsible for the pregnancy. I say “partly responsible” because the woman unless she was raped (which is another case altogether) is as equally responsible as the man for the killing of that child. Guys please those are lives, 995,687 lives! I would encourage you to research the effects of abortion on the mothers and even the fathers. It is devastating. Your actions have consequences.
Look at the numbers for HIV! These are people with families, dreams, aspirations…simply people with lives, people like you and me. Can you imagine the regret, the guilt, the condemnation? the hopelessness? I believe that God can cure any disease including HIV but would you toy with your life and your relationship with Him, just for a few minutes of pleasure, a few hours of being part of the in crowd, a couple of moments of “peace” because you were high? Your actions have consequences.
The time of your youth is a pivotal time in your life, the things you do now will have ramifications that will affect you for the rest of your life whether you like it or not. If you decide to live how you want you will deal with the consequences of that lifestyle, if you decide to live how God would have you live you will deal with the benefits of that too.
One of the major lies that we tell ourselves when we are young is that bad things can’t happen to us, that they happen to other people, like the people in the HIV stats, we cannot possibly have anything in common with them. But what makes them so different from you? Do you think there are no Christians amongst those people? Do you think because you call yourself a Christian grace just covers everything and you can do what you want when you want? If you think that way you have seriously misunderstood the grace of God. Romans 6:1-2 says “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
You decide which course your life is going to take. Your father’s classmate who begs in Osu can be you, that aunty with 4 children from 4 different men can be you, that cousin, that friend who got pregnant so early can be you, that friend who got caught smuggling cocaine and is now in prison can be you, that boyfriend who got drunk and killed someone could be you. You decide.
The picture at the beginning of the post says, “If something is important to you, you’ll find a way, if it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.” When it comes to what we do in our youth we have so many excuses on why we can’t live right, why we have to do certain things, why we can’t fully commit to God etc. This simply shows that our relationship with God is not important to us, we have put other things above and before Him. Listen you are either investing in eternity with the devil or with God. There is no other way, start investing in God in now.
Let me leave you will this; you are not invisible so stop thinking that you are, because you have been sliding through life with one foot in the world and one foot with God you think you can continue going “unaffected and undetected.” It is purely the grace and mercy of God that is keeping you, change while there is still time. You are visible to the devil and even more visible to God. Live like it and please don’t waste your youth.
Grace abound to you to remain firm in this walk with Him…
* Stats from aids.gov , nat.org.uk , unaids.org and examiner.com