OceanSide church of Christ
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AN EXHORTATION TO YOUNG MEN
Victor M. Eskew
Individuals often obey the gospel in their teen years. These years are filled with growth, opportunity, and fun for the young Christian. After this period of life, one enters into those years known as Young Adulthood. Much goes on during this section of life: graduation from college, beginning a career, marriage, and children. In these years, one’s Christian life does not seem to occupy a front-burner. For young man, however, this needs to be a very important time in their spiritual development. In this article, we want to give an exhortation to our young men. There are things they need to be doing to improve their Christian lives and to prepare them for future service.
One area that young men need to give attention to is additional knowledge of God’s Word. Young men need to take time to ground themselves in the fundamentals of the doctrine of Christ. Paul desired this for the saints in Colossae. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7). Young men need to have a handle on the gospel plan of salvation. They need to understand the distinction between the covenants. They need to grasp the essentials of truth worship. They need to grasp the church, her mission, and her organizational structure. They need to familiarize themselves with the basics of all sixty-six books of the Bible. This knowledge will cause them to grow personally (II Pet. 3:18). It will also enable them to properly guide their homes (Eph. 6:4). Too, it will make them ready to assume leadership positions in the future.
Young men also need to train themselves in the practical aspects of their Christian lives. They need to learn how to pray. They need to learn how to wait on the Lord’s Table, how to read Scripture in public, and how to lead singing, if possible. They need to learn how to visit the hospitals, the shut-ins, and the erring. They need to learn how to conduct home Bible studies. In essence, they must become doers of the Word of God (James 1:22-25). Doing is the exercise of one’s Christian life. It strengthens a person. It builds one confidence. It sets an example for others to follow.
Young men also need to follow the lead of the older men. Sadly, many youth today feel that they know more than the previous generation. They laugh and scoff at the “old guard.” This is not wise. Young men need to shelter themselves beneath the wings of the past generation. They need to become Timothy’s who walk in the footsteps of Paul. They need to be John Mark’s who are willing to learn from the example of aged men like Barnabas. In the Old Testament, Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, and he divided the kingdom of Israel. Young men need to understand that old men have knowledge. They also have experience. They have fought the battles against the enemy. They have overcome rejection, depression, anger, frustration, and a host of other obstacles that young men will experience. They have learned how to fight temptation. They know how to lead and influence others. Following the examples of the past enables one to speed up his learning curve and causes a person to miss many of the potholes and pitfalls that young men face on their journey to spiritual maturity.
Another thing young men must do is learn from their mistakes. Youth will usually make more mistakes than those who are older. Many reasons for these mistakes exist: lack of knowledge, lack of experience, impetuousness, pride, etc. The key for young men is to learn from their mistakes. It is not good to make the same mistakes over and over and over. When this happens, one loses his credibility. John Mark may have made a mistake when he left Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). His departure caused the apostle Paul to refuse him on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:38). Fortunately for John Mark, an older minister took him under his wing (Acts 15:39). It appears that John Mark learned and grew from his experience. At a later time, he was requested by Paul. Paul said he was now “profitable” unto him for the ministry (II Tim. 4:11b). Again, young men WILL make mistakes. This is common. The key is to learn from these mistakes and grow from them.
The last point that we want to emphasize involves focus. The writer of Proverbs exhorted his son to be focused in Proverbs 4:25-27. “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” When we emphasize focus, we are talking about the development of spiritual focus. Young men often focus on school, their careers, and their families. They also focus on sports, hobbies, and extracurricular activities. Their focus in these areas often diminishes their spiritual focus. Thus, they have to really put forth the effort to make their spiritual growth and service their primary focus.
Young men the church and her future are partly in your hands. The generation in front of you and the generation behind you are counting on you. We exhort all young men to take a long look in the mirror. Examine yourself. Are you willing to become the man of God that the heavenly Father desires for you to become? We close with the words of Ezekiel 22:30. Please listen closely to what is said by God in this verse. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Will He find none today? Or, will He find you?