Dear Young Believers,
We were asked by a member of the Beacon Lights staff to write an article giving advice to young believers who are in their 16 to 22 year old time of life. My wife and I have chosen to do this in the light of the knowledge we have gained and the experiences we have had as we have traveled life’s pathway as children of God. It is advice that we believe would have been profitable for us when we were young adults and we desire that the advice will be profitable for you today as young people in your Christian walk.
Young people are busy people. They are involved with church, catechism, school, young people’s society, sports, part-time jobs, family obligations, and their friends. They are also faced with many decisions and choices. And along with that comes a lot of stress in their lives. As part of the advice we would give to them, it is extremely important for young believers to realize that they must have a solid foundation in their youth and continue to strengthen that foundation throughout all of their lives. God instructs us concerning that foundation in Matthew 7:24–27. In that passage Christ instructs the hearers to build their house upon a rock. That rock is a spiritual rock and is Christ Jesus. When the storms of life such as all manner of sin, sickness, hardship, disappointments, and death assail the children of God they will be able to stand spiritually strong because of that foundation. Those who do not have that solid foundation will not be able to endure those storms which they face in life and instead will be greatly fearful, troubled, or even overwhelmed by them. It is of utmost importance that young people have Christ as their spiritual foundation in life. In Psalm 62:6 we read, “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.”
Furthermore, we must remember that we have totally depraved natures and that we live in a world that abounds with sin. We need guidance and direction in our lives if we are to avoid being swept along by those forces of sin which surround us. That guidance and direction can come only from God. It comes to us as children of God from his word and by the Holy Spirit opening our hearts and minds to that word. That instruction from the word of God is sound instruction which we must heed not only as young believers, but throughout all of our lives until we are taken to glory. We must diligently follow the words of Proverbs 3:5–6 where we are instructed to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Also, the temptations which we face daily can be great and many because the world is filled with wickedness and continues to develop in that wickedness. As you well know, temptations are found even in our homes by way of television and computers and even in our hands through the use of smart phones. We are to use these instruments with great discretion because the devil uses these devices to tempt us by presenting images that appeal to the lusts of the flesh and cause us to waste a great amount of time. We are called upon by God to stand against these temptations. In addition, peer pressure can be especially powerful to give in to these temptations and we may not have the spiritual strength to stand against that pressure when it is exerted on us. It is essential to remember that it is far more important for us in life to please God than to please those who would seek to lead us astray. God’s blessing is upon those who strive to do his will. We must strengthen ourselves against the sins that so easily beset us. How can we strengthen ourselves? One very important way is to be diligent in reading God’s word and spending time in prayer. This is one area in which most of us, both young and old alike, fall short. In addition, one must also be faithful in church attendance and in attendance at Bible study society. These are ways in which God strengthens our faith and enables us to resist the many temptations that young and old alike face day by day. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”(Ps. 119:11).
As teenagers and young adults we must remember that sin has its consequences. If we think that we can go about our own willful way without suffering the consequences of our sins, we are sadly mistaken. The results of sinful behavior in one’s youth can trouble a child of God for many years or even for the rest of one’s life. Regrets and guilty feelings associated with sinful behavior in one’s life may linger for years even though for the child of God that behavior is forgiven through the blood of Christ. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).
We also urge you to choose your friends wisely. If among your friends there are those who tempt you to engage in activities which you know are sinful, you should sever your friendship with them. Those who tempt you to sin are
really not your friends. True friends are those who have strong spiritual values and who do not try to lead you astray. True friends want what is best for you. Remember the words of Proverbs 17:17a: “A friend loveth at all times.”
Also in regards to the matter of friends, it is extremely important that we date only those who are of like mind and faith. The best advice for us to give concerning dating is that if we know that one is not a believer we should not even consider dating that person. Whom should one date? The answer to that is that as members of the Protestant Reformed Churches one should date only those who are members of the Protestant Reformed Churches or who are members of churches who hold to the same beliefs and doctrinal standards to which the Protestant Reformed Churches hold. This is the best way to be sure that a potential spouse is of the same mind and faith. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
Last, we urge you to heed the advice of godly men and women such as parents, grandparents, ministers, elders, teachers, and others who seek to give you instruction based on the word of God. Such men and women have gained experience as they have traveled life’s pathway and have accumulated knowledge based on God’s word that can be of great benefit and guidance to you as young believers. Psalm 78:4– 6 speaks to us regarding such instruction, “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.”
In conclusion, we urge you by the grace of God to stand strong, dear young believers. Search the scriptures! Spend time in prayer!
Our prayers are with you,
Dr. and Mrs. Roderick Kreuzer
*Dr. & Mrs. Kreuzer are members of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church