Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rejoice in thy Youth!

Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1

(9)  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

(10)  Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

(1)  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

(Four of my five children are 18-23 years old.  A great age to be, and yet an age that must be approached with wisdom.)

We live in a culture which places great value on youth.  This is a good thing, even the above Scriptures place great value on how you use your youth.  We live in a time in which the older spend their time and energy trying to be young again.  They are constantly seeking the fountain of youth.  A vast majority of advertising is done in the name of regaining or maintaining youth. People seeking for their youth try pills, exercises, creams and even surgeries, but the reality is there is no such thing as a fountain of youth on this side of eternity.  It does not matter how many pills, dyes, surgeries, or the fact that you are president of the hair club for men, your youth will vanish quickly.  Therefore, how you spend your youth is of great importance.
Your younger years are a great time:  A time of promise, strength, boldness, and excitement. If you use your youth wisely there is much you can accomplish with purpose.  In order to be successful there are truths in the above Scriptures which will direct your paths.  How you choose to spend your younger years, the Lord leaves up to you.  He will not force you one way or another.  He has given you free will to choose your path.  The Lord makes it clear in verse nine the decision is up to you as to what you do.  Choose wisely!

4 Truths from the above text to help you make wise decisions in your youth.

1   God wants you to enjoy your youth  “Rejoice… in thy youth”
-        Do not be fooled by pleasure in sin. The pleasure of sin will NEVER compare to the joy of the Lord.
-        Sin is deceitful – Many, “live for the weekend”, and miss out on enjoying every moment of life.
-        Let me discuss some lies about joy in our day:  
o   It is sad today as it seems people associate alcohol with a good time.  The bondage alcohol can produce is not worth the tradeoff.  I have counseled with people for years and witnessed the destruction of alcohol.  It leads to wives being beaten, children being beaten, adultery, fighting, sickness, families in great despair as a result of a drunk driver, etc.  These things are not the result of a true, “good time”, but of sin.  Most today fail to see the Creator in this life.  They think the joy they have is a result of the alcohol.  It is not!  The joy they have during these times is a result of the God given relationships.  The fellowship of family and friends!  These are relationships God gives us to enjoy, the alcohol simply ruins it, and many times just serves as a cover to greater problems.

   o   There is no joy in failed relationships -   People today are busy seeking their, “perfect match”.   Soon, they discover the person they are with is very far from perfect and they move on to the next, leaving behind pain, broken homes, guilt, despair, etc.  The key is to wait for the person the Lord has for you.  This person will not be perfect and will have faults.  As you draw close to the Lord, He will enable you to love them with grace even with all their imperfections.    

  o   Joy is not based on your possessions or worldly success.  You can have achieved great success in your career and have all the money you need and yet be full of despair and miserable.  How many have thought this to be the key only to be sadly disappointed when they arrived at this point.

  o   The key to joy is found in the Creator.  Therefore, the following truths the Lord gives are not to take away joy, but to help you find true joy. 

  o   Also, do not fall into what I call the, “miserable Christian syndrome”.  There are some who think you could not be right with God if you have joy!  They could not be more wrong.  They live to be miserable and want others to be miserable and somehow think this is godly.  You will burn out quickly with this attitude and your life will be like an engine running with no oil.  As verse 10 tells us, “Rejoice”!  I am glad the Lord desires that my joy might be full!  John 15:11.

2     Know God will judge you for your decisions and actions – 11:9   The Lord makes clear, that whatever you decide, He will judge you for it, so choose wisely!
-        I enjoy watching the Olympics; especially gymnastics.  The talent displayed from the gymnast is incredible.  They show strength, courage, discipline, etc. Yet everything they do, every move they make, is for the judges.  They know they are being looked at and judged and every move they make is important.  They compete knowing they are being judged.  Everything they practice they have the judges in mind as to what they might like.  What will impress the judge?  Well, we too have a judge for our life!

-        God is our judge!  We need to see we are being judged for what we do.  This helps us stay on course, and use our life with wisdom and not for vanity.  If you know there are consequences to your actions, you will respond accordingly. 

-        The Bible will show you what the Judge is looking for.  The Olympian gives his best before the judges, so he might get a medal and prestige that will fade, but we do it for an incorruptible crown.  (I must stress something here for those reading.  There are different judgments that will come.  One is for the Christian and how he lived his life for the Lord; I Corinthians 3.   However, there is another judgment called the Great White Throne Judgment; Revelation 20:12-15.  You do not want to be present at this judgment. Why?  Because we all have sin and are guilty before God.  All those guilty are cast into a lake of fire.  The Lord God has provided a way to avoid this judgment:  Because God loves us He sent His Son Jesus Christ to become a man.  He became a man so that he could fulfill the law, (live a sinless life).  He is the only one who could stand innocent at this judgment, but instead he took our place.  He took our guilt and punishment; II Corinthians 5:21.  When He went to the cross, He suffered the judgment of God, that you might be saved.  He died for you.  However, because He was God, He defeated death and rose again.  We must repent and place our faith solely in Jesus Christ for salvation.  He is the way, the truth, and the life!    If you would like to know more, email me.) 

3     Remove sorrow and put away evil    11:10
-        Make a conscious effort to remove sin.  Don’t play with it, laugh at it, or ignore it.  It will destroy you and take over your life.  Whenever it begins to creep in remove it!  It is there to steal your youth!  The key to removing sorrow is to put away evil.

4     Remember your Creator  12:1
-         Life is not about you! It is about the Creator!  Focus on Him in your youth.  You will find you have a purpose.  You are not here because of some random act in the universe.  This allows you to see the world in a different light.  You begin to live for a purpose!  A purpose to glorify the Creator!  Since there is a Creator there are absolutes.  There is a moral compass to life that is not based on current trends or cultures, but on the Creator Himself.  This will help you to discern what is right and wrong, in this ever confusing world.   A world trying to determine morality apart from a Creator.  It will not work.

-        Don’t wait to serve God.  Now is the time!