A Letter to Our Youths: Make Good Use of the Time
Manna 83: Spring

Simon Chin—Perth, Australia

Greetings of peace to our youths-in-Christ.

When I consider the situation that you, as youths of the True Jesus Church, are in—the positive spiritual environment within your local churches, the availability of religious education and theological courses, and the ample opportunities to serve the Lord—I can’t help but feel envious. This is because, when I was young, such opportunities were very limited.

In light of these favorable conditions, you should make good use of your time, while you are in your prime. The apostle Paul wrote, “See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15–16).

The last days before the Lord Jesus’ second coming are indeed evil and full of dangers. The Bible has told us very clearly:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Tim 3:1–5)

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thess 2:7–10)

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them.” (Eccl 12:1)

Alas, it is a sad fact that some of our youths do not use their time wisely. It has become quite normal for youths to love the world and pursue worldly ambitions, while their faith becomes neglected, even to the point where they imitate the carnal behavior of wider society. If you act in such a way, it will jeopardize your status as children of God and, ultimately, your salvation. The danger is that you can fall into sin and be caught by the snare of the devil, before you even realize it.

Do take heed of the warnings from the prophets of old:

How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man. (Prov 6:9–11)

The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Ps 90:10–12)

In the above passages, we are reminded that human life is short, and we will soon pass away; yet, human beings desire many things—including things detrimental to the soul. We must re-evaluate our priorities, and use our limited days wisely, so we spend more time storing up for ourselves an eternal inheritance in heaven.

How should you, as a youth, conduct your life, so you can have a rich reward in the heavenly kingdom?

Establish a Strong Foundation in Faith

Timothy was taught the Holy Scriptures from a young age, giving him the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Tim 3:15; 1:5). The word of God is Spirit and life; it testifies of Jesus (Jn 5:39; 6:63). When we study the Bible, and humbly pray for God to enlighten us in the process, the Holy Spirit will guide us to understand the beliefs of the true church. The faith that we build will be strong and founded upon spiritual principles, leaving no room for doubt. As youths, now is the ideal time to lay down this foundation.

Offer a Life of Service

The apostle Peter calls us living stones, filled with the life of Jesus. We are being built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, with the capacity to offer up spiritual sacrifices of service which are acceptable to God (1 Pet 2:4–5).

Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:1–2).

These words of Peter and Paul epitomize the life of Timothy. His life was such that he sought the things of God, rather than his own. Together with Paul, Timothy served the Lord Jesus, and they took care of the church with the same mind, working together in the manner of father and son (Phil 2:19–22).

As youths, you can learn much from Timothy, and set an example to the believers in your speech, conduct, love, spirit, faith, purity, and life of service (1 Tim 4:12).

 

Fear the Lord and Keep His Commandments

Fearing the Lord shows that we recognize Him as a merciful and loving God, and at the same time, acknowledge that He is righteous and will execute judgment on the last day.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.

“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.” (
Mal 3:16–17)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil. (
Eccl 12:13–14)

The fear of the Lord must be cultivated from a young age.

Joseph is a good example. He was seventeen when his brothers sold him to Egypt. He worked faithfully as a slave in Potiphar’s house, but then his mistress tried to seduce him. Joseph’s reaction to this was, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9). From this, we can see that Joseph had been instilled with the fear of God from a young age. Joseph’s firm foundation enabled him to avoid temptation and remain holy (Prov 3:7). Later, when he was promoted to be the prime minister of Egypt, Joseph forgave his brothers when they came to him seeking food during a famine (Gen 45:4–8). He provided for them and had no thought of revenge, for he knew that it was God who had paved Joseph’s way to save his people (Gen 50:19–21).

In fearing God, we need to keep His commandments and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We should also love one another (Mk 12:29–31) as God has loved us. When we fear God, we will depart from evil and forgive our enemies as God has forgiven us. In this way, we will remain safely within God’s grace until we reach eternal life.

 

Be a Faithful Worker

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15)

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Tim 2:20–22)

It is essential for you, as youths today, to heed Paul’s exhortation to be useful and faithful workers. To achieve this, there are two things you must do: first is to handle the word of truth correctly; second is to clean yourselves from youthful lusts and aim for righteousness, faith, love, and peace. We who are baptized into Christ are His workmanship, created to do good works (Eph 2:10).

Jesus said to His disciples, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9:4–5). “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (Jn 12:35–36a). Today the light of Jesus is with us. Therefore, we must walk while we have the light; the night will come when no one can work.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom 13:11–14)

The end is at hand. Everyone should use their time wisely to secure their own salvation (Phil 2:12–13). Finally, as youths of the True Jesus Church, you should take up the Lord’s commission to preach the gospel of salvation to the world. This is making good use of your time, and will help you to stay focused on your faith. Do not let this glittering world lure you away from God.

May the Lord bless you, so that you can be future pillars of the church.

 

 

 

Date
Jul. 13, 2017
Author
Simon Chin
Publisher
True Jesus Church
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