As I prepare once again to lead the youth group on Wednesday night, I ask the question: “What does it take to get young people to dig deep and discover their own unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ?” The answer keeps coming back that it requires young people to be surrounded by adults who are living their faith and truly experiencing joy.
“Adults have a credibility problem. We grind our way through each day and our slogging is not lost on young people. . . Quietly, desperately, a deep resolve is born in their hearts: Not for me!” – Dave Rahn
“In spite of unprecedented programs and resources thrown their way, adolescents feel systematically abandoned by adults” – Chap Clark
“If young people have a flimsy, inarticulate faith, they learned it from adults. We’re modeling for teens a way to live that is exhausting, unappealing and a poor representation of the rich life God intends us to enjoy with Him.” – Kenda Creasy Dean
Could it be that we are staying so busy, “earning our way into Heaven” that we have let exhaustion take the place of our joy? Has our culture of activity and productivity put us on a treadmill that we can never seem to get off? What has happened to our jolly disposition and the simple bliss of doing life in the footsteps of Christ?
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:11-12
For our benefit and the benefit of the generations that have their eyes on us, we must keep the flame to our zeal and maintain our spiritual fervor. Leaning on the strength of the Holy Spirit, we must fill ourselves with joy and hope and patience and faith. We must avoid being those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. We must adhere to the Sabbath principles and see that we are well rested, well fed, and well connected to the Savior in our daily journey. We cannot manufacture a fake smile or demonstrate false joy. God has for us life abundant and eternal. May we live in such a way as to grasp the reality of such a promise for our best life and our best example. The Kingdom of God needs followers who are truly living joy.
Though you have not seen Jesus, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory – 1 Pt. 1:8