Tuesday, February 11, 2014

7 Snippets of Encouragement for Young Christians

If you consider yourself a young Christian whether young-in-Christ, young-and-in-Christ, or both, this is for you. If you don't you can still keep reading too!

A few words of encouragement for my young Christian friends, with scripture references, of course.

1.  People look down on us sometimes because of our age.  Sometimes, they aren't even older people, our peers may do it too. They fail to understand that a lack of life-experience does not mean a lack of God-experience. As a young person, you are an extremely powerful Christian: not only do you have many years of serving ahead of you, but you also have a fresh outlook, a new perspective, an understanding of a generation that is still trying to define itself. Be encouraged by 1 Timothy 4:12 and Jeremiah 1:5-8.

2. Never dumb down the Word. Don't let anyone dumb it down for you either. Its potency and its power lies in its purity. Do not feel that because you are not as educated as some biblical scholars that God's word needs to be watered down for you. God created you. The Holy Spirit that lives in you is just as powerful as the Holy Spirit that lives in your pastor…it's the same holy spirit! Within you is an innate understanding of Him, an understanding of worship, an understanding of His will. So study the scriptures, test the spirits, and don't only rely on others to do it for you. Be encouraged by Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 119:160, Deuteronomy 4:2.

3. We have power. I have realized that as young people, our powers of discernment are sharper than we think. We can often tell when a person's spirit does not align with their outward appearance. We can feel when a worship atmosphere is forced. We can perceive what is just spiritual hype and what it true worship. In the same way, when we forget about trying to fit into the (sub-)standard of today, our worship is pure. It is beautiful. It can change lives. It can change nations. It can change generations. Be encouraged by Acts 1:8, Ephesians 3:20.

4. Position yourselves well. We always move in the direction of influence. Therefore we need to position ourselves to be influenced by the right people. The right influence for you is not the same for someone else. You'd be surprised at some of the people and situations that God will throw into your life to be a positive influence on you, pushing you towards Him. Be encouraged by Jeremiah 6:16

5. We NEED community. This is really part 4b, lol. No matter what you think, none of us can do this Christian walk alone, nor should we try to!  Bible study at home on the occasional Sunday is fine, and  watching service via live streaming every now and again is okay, but face-to-face interaction in a community of believers is a must. Seek out community. Find yourself in a church with solid teachings and teachers, get yourself a mentor, find some Christian friends who will build you up and hold you accountable. Use discernment to choose all three of these, because some are not as they appear, and there are definitely both some goats and some wolves among the sheep. Yes, some churches/Christians are a hot mess, but that's because people are generally a hot mess, which is why we all need Jesus. No one is perfect, but that's why we're a body: I bet your hands pick things up better than your feet do, don't they? Be encouraged by Romans 12:3-8, Hebrews 10:25, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and this tweet by Beth Moore:

6. Keep praying. If you don't pray, start. Prayer is powerful for two reasons, it connects you to God, and it connects God to you. If you don't know how to pray, then I need you to do two things for me: (i) start talking to God. Just talking, tell Him about your day, share what's on your heart with him. Do it for just two minutes at a time; (ii) start reading and learning about prayer. Start with the scriptures first, then, if you would like, read what others have written about prayer. Develop a habit of praying. And if you have been praying for a long time, and it's always about the same thing, don't get discouraged -- God hears your prayers, he hears your cry, and he is faithful to answer your prayers. Keep a journal of your prayers and re-read it every few months and see how your prayers are answered AND how much you grow through prayer. Be encouraged by Matthew 6:5-15, Psalm 18:6, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 5:14-15

7. Shine boldly, beautifully, brightly. In order for a flame to burn it must have oxygen. Therefore, you cannot shine if there is no oxygen in your atmosphere, or if there are other "fires" burning that suck up all your oxygen. This points to two things: firstly, a need for personal space (not necessarily physical!); it also shows a need to remove the things (*cough*people*cough*) that suck the oxygen away from your flame. Surround yourself with oxygen-giving people. Interestingly enough, flourishing plants give off oxygen...think about that one. Be encouraged by Matthew 5:15-16.

To the young Christians in my life (or who may just have stumbled across this post), I love you all! I love our fire and our passion. I love our desire for Jesus. Let's all keep shining, and encourage each other to shine brighter.

Be blessed and shine magnificently!

No comments:

Post a Comment

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23