Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let No One Despise Thy Youth

1Tim 4:12 "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."

Allow me if you will to propose this question. Do today’s adults despise the youth?

Here's my answer. I would say for the most part, yes. The “normal” adult today has little if any respect for youth. Youth being, for the sake of argument, anyone who is of the age of 12-18. I believe also that the youth do not deserve to be respected. We have come so far from anything pure, and gracious that the adults simply shouldn't respect us.

I could list countless times when I have seen this very idea put to action. Not too long ago, I was at Subway. There behind me in line was this mother, her young daughter, and obviously her daughter’s boyfriend. (I say this because he was of different nationality than the other two, and because there was no ring on his finger). The two of them were “teasing” each other and the young girl's mom was in obvious distress about this. She kept hinting at it, and telling them to stop, which they did not do. At times I have been in buildings and see the teens just walk in instead of opening the door for the elderly or for their parents. One time I saw an elderly man at a door with his wheelchair struggling to open the door. As he did this I saw three, yes three young men walk right past him open and door walk in and not even keep it open for him. These are the types of things that I see and it simply saddens me. My generation is falling apart. We have no respect for those in authority, or even just those who are older than us.

It is because of this that I feel we must act. We must take that verse from 1 Timothy and put it to heart. Fully live out the idea that we should be not despised. Rather that we would be respected, and known for things the way Christ commands us to do them.
But, we mustn't take this verse and say that it is simply geared to young men and women being respected by the older generations. No indeed. We must strive to be a mature example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity for God, and earn the respect of adults. We should do all of this for God's glory. As it says in, Exodus 9:16 - “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

“That my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” It states it right there! We must do all these things For God's glory, not for our own glory and fame, and not to make us look good, but rather because we are called to do this by God Himself.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Once again, God shows His awesome mighty power and tells us that we were born for a purpose. In today's youth that purpose has been destroyed. The general public has no idea that this is what we are supposed to be doing. We aren't supposed to be playing video games, reading trashy books, and disobeying our parents. We are supposed to be honoring God, honoring our parents, loving our neighbors and doing God's work!

Now, one might say, “But, I can't do this! I can't go out and teach the nations. I can't help other Christians Strengthen their faith! I'm not strong enough, or good enough!” This simply isn't true people! Take this quote for example from Paul Little in his book Know What You Believe - “If there is no power strong enough to change human nature, then there is no hope for man. But the good news of the gospel is that there IS such a power -- in Christ!”
Fine, I'll give it to you, you are right. You're not strong enough, nor are you wise or good enough, and neither am I. The Bible confirms this to be true. But that's not the point! We have Christ on our side. He will be with us and He will give us the strength, and the wisdom and the power. He will keep us under His wing of protection.

Psalm 16 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Don't you see? It's right there, God will be our refuge and strength. David puts it so well when He says, “I bless the Lord who give me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.” It is so true, God will be with us. If this isn't enough for you what about Psalm 23? We all know this one all too well but do we take the time to see what it is really saying?

Psalm 23 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I only put in bold the parts that really touched me. Once again David truthfully says, “He restores my soul” And, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. What does this mean? This means that God will truly be there for us, He will not let us down.

That being said, we cannot make excuses. We cannot sit around and do nothing simply because we feel that we don't have the strength; we do have the strength. We have it in Christ.

I pray that what I have said will truly affect you, and that God would be able to touch your heart with these thoughts from God. Surely they have affected me. May God bless you, and thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts!



Lauren Reavely said... we should be mature and set an example, and we do it by God's strength, but how do you propose practically going about that.
What does it look like for me to set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity? Any practical ideas of where to go from here?

Great post, btw! very encouraging. :)

JustinK said...

Good questions. I think I'll start off by saying I don't have all the answers. If I were you I'd talk to your parents. Whether in a meeting of sorts, or just at lunch or dinner. Ask them how you can attain these things. Also, it's not easy to attain them. :-)

I would say, just follow the old rules that were set for the youth way back in the day when there weren't any phones or computers. Open doors for the elderly, take initiative by being the first to clean up after a meal. Help others out in whatever way you can.

At the latest speech tournament a good long-lost friend of my mom's was there and my mom told me that she was literally walking down the hallways close to tears because of what she saw. She was so amazed that young men and women were dressed nicely, (here's another good point, let's throw out the nasty clothes!) how we were kind to one another, spoke nicely, yet still were laughing and having a good time. How she saw groups of young people praying in the hallways for one another before we gave our speeches. It truly touched her. We don't have to really DO anything in particular other than act the way we know we should.

What does it look like? I would say that it looks something like this: When hard times come you don't get angry, or upset, but instead trust God. We don't have to openly show this to others because well, that's not what we are called to do. But when we do it people do notice. You set the example by changing the subject of a conversation when it starts getting dicey (I believe you know what I mean), you can do it by putting God into whatever it is that you and your friends are doing.

I hope I have covered some of what you are asking, or at least giving you a little jump start to answering the questions yourself. But please, do talk to your parents about it! It's so cool to talk to them about important things such as this. Thank you so much for your questions Lauren!

God bless your day.

JustinK said...

I want to add that I don't want to be the only person "giving advice" here. I would love it if anyone who is reading this would reply to what Lauren has asked, expound on what I have said, or even disagree with what I have said! I don't want to be the one in the limelight here, please don't think twice about adding your two cents. Great conversation is what I'm after.

Lauren Reavely said...

Great answer, Justin. :)

I totally agree with you. Those are all great things to do. As a side note, I didn't ask the question so much because I'm at a loss for where to go, but I think many people shoot verses like 1 Tim. 4:12 at teens, but leave them with little direction. I thought it might not hurt to take it a step further by looking at the practical outplay of such ideas. I don't know, just a thought.

That thing about the, that was really encouraging! I remember meeting her and having her watch my apologetics round. Whenever I notice observers like her, I'm always curious to know what's going through their head. Thank you for sharing that.

I think all this goes along the lines of "being known for what you do, not just what you don't do." I think a lot of people get by just by restraining from doing such things as drugs, smoking, etc...and they're thought of as good teens. But I think as Christians, we should strive for more than that. Yes, I think we should stay away from these harmful things which are so rampant in our culture, but more than that, I think we are to take actions to making a positive (not just neutral)influence and being a good (not just a "not-bad") example to others.

Hopefully that made some sense. :P
Thank you, Justin.


JustinK said...

Ah yes, I see that we are on the same page. I completely agree with you in that I do not know who all is reading this. Therefore I think simply instructions might need to be said. So if you have any questions whether you know the answer or not, let's talk about them. Thank you again for commenting!

Em said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted said...

Very well written Justin, this blog is an excellent idea.

I have a few comments/questions for you, and the others, of course. :)

The key verse you've used, 1st Timothy 4:12, is one of my favorite in the Bible, and it's a very good jumping point for this discussion. However, you then ask the question, "Do today's adults despise the youth?" I think we can go at least one step deeper and ask the question, "Do we, the youth, give older people a reason to despise us?"

And this, I'm afraid, is the state of our generation. The verse you used, gives me the idea that Paul is saying 'don't give anyone the opportunity to look down on you and despise you, but set the standard, be above reproach.'

I like Jeremiah 1:5, that's a very powerful verse to use and it's such an awesome statement from God! :)

As I was reading I couldn't help thinking about Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make straight your paths."

I think it applies. :)


Ted said...

Anyway, I don't have time to get to my questions today, maybe tomorrow!

emily said...

Whoa, good question, Ted! That's a really good point to bring up. Do we give a reason for our elders to despise us? I believe, that yes, we can.

Romans 13:1-7 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment…would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain…. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience…” – Romans 13:1-7

God created us to be His servants. And, as children of Him (and as youth), we are to hold to that position--of being a servant. Simple things such as (as Justin explained), opening a door for someone, or helping someone with groceries, etc., those types of things are acts of being a servant. If we don't live up to that position, then yes, that is a reason for our elders to often despise us.

I'll put some more of my thoughts on here later...I gotta run & make dinner..

JustinK said...

I must apologize to Emily! For some reason your comment was deleted. (The really long one that is) Do you happen to have it copied down somewhere? I'd love for you to post it again if you do. If not that's a tragedy. I do hope you have it.

Yes Ted, wonderful points. I would even go so far as to say do we despise the adults and therefore they have no reason to not despise us? These are the same words to completely different questions.

Do we give the adults reason to despise us?
Do we despise the adults therefore giving them reason to despise us?

Hard questions yet it seems that they ring true. So we must start giving them our trust back and showing that God can reign in our lives.

Once again, I am so sorry Emily for that mistake. I don't remember at all deleting it, and I would have no reason to. I just called it up actually to respond to it and it says that the author deleted it. And I was like, wait... I'm the author! :-)

Thank you all for commenting, it is so encouraging to see that we have people that will take the time to discuss these things.
God bless you!

Bisceglia Family said...

Hello Justin! I was so excited to find your blog! Some recent conversation in our family has been about having deeper conversations oftener with friends, and in day to day life, so it was very encouraging to see your blog with this, in essence, as its purpose!

Great post! I think part of the reason today's youth is acting the disrespectful way they are is that no one expects them to do any better; nobody asks them to strive any higher. In fact, society EXPECTS teens to be irresponsible and rebellious...society holds a disgracefully low standard for teens to live up to, and the teenagers follow it. (And the general public just accepts and expects it, which is sad in and of itself.) That is why people are so amazed when they see young people who act differently. They don't expect it.

There was this lady who had always had a good relationship with her son, but when he turned thirteen, it changed for the worse. He didn't listen to her and respect her anymore. Once when he refused to obey her she asked him why. He said, "Mom, I'm a teenager now; this is how teenagers are supposed to act." I don't know about you, but I find this very sad. This boy was under the impression that all teenagers behave this way...probably all his peers did. So, if our elders expected more out of teenagers, we might start striving to do better. On the other hand, if we teens raise the standard and strive for it, our elders will probably start expecting more. I'm not sure which way it works...probably both.

Of course, we certainly do not have to act the steryotype the general public accepts, and we shouldn't. I believe that as homeschoolers and Christians, we can, in our own families and homes, create a culture, if you will, that honors Christ! And we can start by doing the things previously mentioned by Justin. :)

Well, I didn't have any discussion-sparking questions, but of course feel free to let me know your thoughts. :)

Blessings ~ Kathrina