This past weekend we had a retreat for the young adults of our church. I call them “young adults,” because that’s what they are (no matter what the culture may call them…such as adolescents, youth, etc). They are indeed young adults if they are over the age of 12 (the age that Jesus told his parents, “…didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business.). It was a fantastic weekend!
Friday night this was an especially powerful move of the Spirit of God. What was experienced that evening by about 35 young adults and 20 adults will never be forgotten by any of us. What happened? I can’t explain it. I guess if I could, it would be a “God-thing.” Because, it certainly was a move of the hand of God.
I had the privilege of speaking to our young adults and the Lord had directed my mind, quite some time ago, to speak about their “spiritual box.” What is a spiritual box?
Well, we all have one. It’s what we grow up with and are taught by our parents, our church, and other Godly influences in our lives.
Paul told Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he was young, but to set an example for all the believers in his speech, conduct, faith, love and purity (1 Tim. 4:12). He also told young Timothy:
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Did you see the “how from childhood” part? Most of our kids have been taught about Jesus since they were little and that’s good and bad. Obviously it’s good, because we want them to know about Jesus…but, the bad part (“dangerous,” may be a better word, because there is nothing “bad” about hearing about Jesus, but I think you understand), is that they can become “Gospel-hardened.” They can know all the facts and all the lingo and all the “Christianese,” but not truly and genuinely know Jesus.
This was the case with four young adults this past Friday night. They grew up in solid…I mean rock-solid, Christian homes…but, they didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. They simply “knew about Him.”
Friday night I talked about life using the analogy of being on a large cargo boat.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
They say, “Yes…I want to be a Christian…because that’s what my parents expect. Yes, they want me to be faithful to Christ, but I want to fit in and be liked by my friends. So, I’ll just throw off some of the things that they believe, just so I won’t look weird.”
In other words they don’t want to look strange. So, they begin tossing overboard the doctrines of Christ…they say, “I don’t think I can hang on to these ‘radical’ views any longer.” So, because of the things they see in relationships on TV and YouTube and Facebook, the constant barrage of anti-Christian themes in movies and music…they keep tossing off spiritual cargo. They begin to believe, “It’s just too costly.” They begin to believe that they can’t believe in just one way to heaven. They are unwilling to say that they are going to “save themselves” for marriage…much less refuse to get in the turnstile “dating scene,” so that they won’t lose their hearts, even if they don’t lose their virginity. It’s just too much! So, off the ship are tossed the items in the spiritual box.
Most of our young adults have never been pressed spiritually. But, what if a young adult arrives at college and they have a roommate that has Hindu parents and then as they are talking one day, the exclusivity of Jesus as THE (not “a” way…but, THE way to heaven) comes up in a conversation. The Hindu roommate asks your young adult (the “Christian”), “So, are you saying that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. Because if you are, then you are saying my grandfather is in Hell and my parents are going there too just because they’re Hindu and don’t believe in Jesus at all?”
What will they say? Many will chuck that spiritual box overboard when that “wave” hits them on the deck.
Yet many parents say, “My kids aren’t like this.” But, are you sure? If they are being socialized by the prevailing culture of the day in our schools and by media and music that doesn’t speak about Jesus…if they have little or no appetite for the things of God now, today…then why would we think they will somehow get stronger in high school or college under these “winds and waves?”
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
I pray He will find me faithful and my children faithful as they seek to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Luke 9:23-26