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Youthful Responsibility

by Sandra Naugle

(From September 1978 Word and Work)

Do we as adults teach or “train” our youth as we should? I am speaking of those youths who have accepted Jesus as Savior. Do they know what the Lord desires of them? What He expects of them?

We as adults teach the way of salvation to our young but do we teach the Lordship of Jesus? Do we live as though we know of the position Jesus is to have in our lives. It seems to me our youth who accept the Lord have the idea that they do not have to begin serving Him until they reach a certain age. At this point they will suddenly have attained the knowledge and maturity to begin serving Him. They then allow him to rule in their lives and submit themselves to His will. . - -

Two separated incidents recently involving some of our Christian youth have seemed to indicate that this is the idea many have. Does God expect a seven or eight year old child, who has the knowledge that brings him to a conviction of sin, to begin at that point to serve Him? We are expected to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus only if we have reached a certain age and gained a certain maturity? No. We are to begin our growth immediately upon our becoming a child of God. No matter at what age this occurs. Are we teaching our youth in our Sunday schools and youth groups, and yet not ourselves expecting them to serve Him? We are doing these young-in-age Christians a grave disservice if this is the case.

How many of our youth are diligently seeking the will of God for their lives? Do they even consider what God wants of them in their everyday lives? How many have the courage to witness to their unsaved friends? Does this even come to their minds? Do they have any concern at all for those who are lost? And if not, what is missing in what they have been taught?

What about setting an example? Are they taught this by us who are teachers and parents? More importantly, are we, as teachers and parents, setting an example for them to follow? What about our attitude toward the worship services? Do we really think it not really so bad if we miss a service because we are tired, or we just have too much to do, or, God forbid, there is a TV show we want to see, or we just don’t care to make the effort to be there? There are many parents who lament the fact that their children lose an interest in the worship service as they grow older.

How important was getting to church to these parents when the children were at home under their influence? I am continually thankful for parents who were consistently at church when the doors were open. There was no question of going or not going. And that included my brother and me also. In our home our children know what is expected of them when it is time for church. They never ask if they may stay home. My prayer is that this attitude will continue as they grow older.

We hear often that as adults we must set an example for younger Christians. But what about these younger Christians? Do they not have a responsibility to set an example for those younger than they? Or for their peers? How much teaching are they getting about their responsibility to God? And to others?

Jesus as Savior and Jesus as Lord must enter our lives at the same moment. But how many are desirous of having Jesus as Savior but do not want this same Jesus to be Lord of their life—at least not just yet? How many drift away from serving the Lord because they have never really begun? Because they have never been taught that service to God and living for Him must begin when we accept Him as Savior. Do we lose some of our youth to the world because we have not assumed our responsibility in teaching and in setting an example that they could respect and follow?

We need to search our own hearts and lives and evaluate our own responsibility to God. Above all, we need to begin when a new birth occurs to teach the Lordship of Christ. To instill in that one a desire to be pleasing to God and to turn his life over to God’s leading through the Holy Spirit. A new Christian must be taught to rely on the Lord and to let the Holy Spirit overrule any fleshly intents and desires. If we fail to teach this because of the youthful age of the new child of God he may wonder later, if he remains faithful, why he was not taught this as a child. And what will our answer be to this question?

        

        John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

        Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

       Mark 12:29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

      Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and

ordinances of the Lord blameless.

 

Sandra Naugle is Co-Editor of Word & Work, lives in Sellersburg, IN, and attends Henryville Church of Christ in Henryville, IN.

 

 

 




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