Rebel against low expectations for our youth.
Of course, adults are supposed to set an example for young people. But how many of our young people think this way: I am called to set an example for the adults.
That calls for a dramatic shift in mindset for most adults and youth today: Here’s the truth – Don’t adapt to the low cultural expectations for youth.
I hope the parents of young children will pay especially close attention and listen for what God is calling your children to be and to do in these younger years.
One of God’s premises is that living for the glory of Christ is not on hold until you are eighteen or twenty-one. There is a way for six-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for ten-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for sixteen-year-olds to make much of Christ.
God is permitting and doing some unusual things in our day among young people. The temptations of youth are deeper and more dangerous than they have ever been. Children, don’t succumb to the temptations. Adults, the point is, the usual expectations for youth are too low.
Read 1 Timothy 4:12.
This is one of Paul’s words to the younger Timothy who needed to be reminded that his expectation for what he could be were too low. Paul says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
At baptism, a child is born again and comes to faith in Jesus as the Savior and Lord and Treasure of their lives.
I was baptized very young. I don’t have any specific memory of those days – or much else in my childhood for that matter. Your child may have the same.
For me, my confidence that I am born again does not rest in being able to remember the point when it happened, but in his finished work on the cross and in the relationship I have with the Lord now. If someone asks me if I’m alive, I don’t reach for my birth certificate to show it’s true! I breath in, and out – my breath proves I’m alive!
I don’t remember the day of my baptism but I look at my life and see the signs of Christ in my life – I know Him. And see the evidence of my life in Him. I don’t need a date to know I’m Alive, born again in Him! Point our children there too…
This brings me to the practical conclusion for young people and their parents: Don’t let the culture set low expectations for what you may accomplish for Christ. Listen to the way God and Jeremiah argue about Jeremiah’s call when he was young.
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” (Jeremiah 1:6-7)
Be careful young people that you don’t postpone the blessing of fruitfulness in your life because you use the excuse, “I am only a youth.”
God said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go.” There are some younger than you that you can lead, and there are some older than you that you can serve. But do not say, “I am only a youth,” as though the only thing you are good for is watching videos and playing games, as though there is no ministry for you to do.
Go on mission. Do the Hard Things.
Parents, successful parenting is more than compliant kids. It is gospel-saturated living and teaching. Show your children how Christ, crucified for our sins, and Christ, raised for our justification, and Christ, showing the Father’s love, and Christ, guaranteeing the Spirit’s daily help — show them how this gospel is not just something that begins the Christian life but empowers it and shapes and sustains it. Pray and love and teach your children until Christ breaks in on their hearts and becomes their Treasure.
May God give us a vision for the next generation that glorifies the gospel of Christ, and leads thousands of young people to the cross where they find forgiveness of sins, and broken-hearted humility, and Christ-exalting courage to rebel against low expectations and “do hard things.”
Adapted from Desiring God, John Piper (www.desiringgod.org)