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Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy: "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4:12). A congregation of Christians has no greater blessing than its godly young people. These youthful saints contribute in many ways to the Lord's work, not the least of which is their example. Godly young people set an example that all believers can profit from.
The Bible is filled with stories of youths who showed those around them what it means to live a life of devotion to God: Joseph, David, Josiah, Mary, Timothy, and many others. It is simply not true that one has to wait until his later years to "get serious" about God. Too many young people have done it -- and demonstrated for the rest of us how it's done.
One of the remarkable things about youth is the courage that so often characterizes young people. Tests that older Christians might fail are often met by the young with considerable bravery. When a choice has to be made between right and wrong, godly youths "dare to stand like Joshua." We need to be encouraged by the willingness of our young people to take a bold stand for the Lord.
One thing young people learn when they take their faith seriously and walk with God closely is that being truly devoted to God does not diminish the joy of life; it increases it. Solomon urged the enjoyment of life by the young: "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity" (Eccl. 11:9,10).
As we study the Bible, may we be reminded of the goodness of being young and the special opportunity it affords for good works that glorify God. Young people are not "second-class citizens" in the kingdom of God; they are valuable contributors. When they set for us an example "in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity," let's express our appreciation. We are fortunate to have those who are younger in years, but already wise in the Lord!
Monday: Ecclesiastes 12:1
Key Idea: God should be remembered in the days of youth.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to "remember" our Creator? Why is it so important to do that in the days of our youth? Unless we die prematurely, what kind of days lie ahead, after our youth has passed?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:15.
Tuesday: 1 Timothy 4:12
Key Idea: Young people gain respect when they lead godly lives.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean for one person to "despise" the youth of another person? How can a young person keep that from happening? What different things are young people to be an example in?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:16.
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 12:13,14
Key Idea: Young people benefit when they remember the main purpose of life.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Solomon say was the "conclusion of the whole matter" (NKJV)? What happens if we do not keep this truth in mind? How do you think will God "bring every deed into judgment"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:17.
Thursday: Psalm 119:9-16
Key Idea: God's word can help young people make their lives more godly.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean for a young man to "keep his way pure"? How does God's word help a young person to do that? What attitude did the Psalmist apparently have toward the word of God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:18.
Friday: Ecclesiastes 11:9,10
Key Idea: When they are godly, young people can truly rejoice in their youth.
Questions for Family Growth: What is meant by Solomon's statement, "let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth"? What caution does Solomon offer to young people as they enjoy their lives? What does it mean that "youth and the dawn of life are vanity"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:19.