GUEST POST {Valerie Dowdell}

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity (love), in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1Timothy 4:12, KJV

Perhaps “young people” have the most crucial role in the church.  That is to learn, work, and grow.  Young people are the next church and their role will evolve as they grow into adults.  

It is vital to the existence of every young person to be mentored and their heart shepherded.  2 Timothy 4:2 tells us that pastors are to,  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  God sends us pastors to feed the sheep and be an overseer and to watch for wolves and dangers that want to come in and devour.  

Young people must learn how to revere and respect authority. Respect and reverence are crucial when learning and listening to the mind of God.  Show me a disrespectful young person and I will show you a reckless life.  Being teachable is key to being successful.  My heart goes out to my many friends that are teachers.  When sharing with me their heart, their top complaint is a lack of respect that their students have for authority. They are unteachable. Young people must learn how to be teachable and that is to humble oneself and put idle hands to work. Church is a place where our work will never be completed until Christ comes to take His Bride to our eternal Home.  Every minute that goes by, eternity is nearing.  In John 4:35, God says to us, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”  God wants us to start serving others for the sake of His Eternal Kingdom, now.  

David Cassidy’s death was recently in the headlines and his last words were so profound: “So much wasted time.”  Each of us could say the same for our own lives.  In many instances, we allow ourselves to be sidetracked and derailed by satisfying our flesh, self-sabotaging, or manipulating others. However, the younger we get plugged into a church, God’s word, and salvation through Jesus Christ;  the sooner we can hide His word in our hearts and follow the Holy Spirit.  

God said if any of us lack wisdom to simply ask for it.  There is no age limit on that bible verse.  If I told you I had the formula for world peace and the cure for cancer would you want to know what that was?  Why certainly.  We all know a loved one that has been touched by violence or the debilitating disease of cancer.  Many times violence scars us emotionally and cancer scars physically.  Of course we would share the cure that would save our sons and daughters. Making an eternal difference is the whole reason God has left us on earth.   

We must share what the root of success is and the secret to joy:

Living inside God’s standards and inside His offering plate.  

It is imperative that we trust God and truly worship Him in total mind, body, and spirit. We must be able to hear God’s voice and discern the spirits.  Listen to 1 John 4: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.   They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.”   

Did you know the part of the brain that promotes rational thinking isn’t fully developed until age 25?  Studies have found that adult and teen brains work differently. The mental maturity is not there for young people in the same way as adults. We must equip our young people with the only thing that will stand with them through the trials of life.   It is important to memorize God’s word early in life and hide it in our hearts for the day of temptation.  There will be no reservations when having the mind and heart of God to live pure and clean as He tells us our body is a temple.  We must renew our minds with His word, and all else will follow.  

In Proverbs 4:23, God tells us everything flows from the heart, to guard it.  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” God works through the heart, mind, and body.  Satan works on our young people and adults in the exact opposite order.  Satan starts with your mind.  That is why he works through music and visuals.

Satan’s goal is to penetrate and pollute your mind to devour and discourage.  

God calls those attacks fiery darts.  If the devil can get your mind then he can fully control your every move.  

Satan is the master of division.  God brings everyone together in unity, love, and joy.  On the other hand,  Satan’s goal is to isolate you.  God said forsake not the assembly of yourselves together.  There is strength in God’s children coming together, exhorting one another, and loving one another.  The sooner we learn what the full armor of God is, the sooner we will know how to guard our hearts and live successful lives with “real” joy.  We are fooling ourselves if we rely on our friends to lead and guide us in this spiritual walk.  

We must line up all we do with God’s word.  

Then, we must refrain from what we often listen to: gossip poisons, degrading movies and music lyrics poisons, comparison poisons, envy poisons, jealousy poisons, etc. The list is endless.  

How can we know what is good for our physical and mental health if we are not diligently guarding our hearts with the word of God?

Young people have an advantage to learning this because they can walk inside God’s boundaries early in life and save themselves from a life of sorrow.  True joy and freedom is a product of living for God and being active in the church.  God says in His word, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).  There is an advantage in being in the Word of God at a young age.  

As a result of being in the ministry, my husband and I have had the honor of sitting beside many death beads.  Many times people will share regrets and one that always makes the top three is the regret of poor decision making.  Just one month ago, we drove three hours to be with our friend, Henry.  We have been friends with Henry for ten years.  He had a beautiful family and a very full and successful life. Henry did not grow up in a church nor did he spend any of his adult life in a church.  However, he was a kind man with big heart.  But, as a result of poor decisions he had made, he was now on his deathbed prematurely. Henry explained that he started socially drinking which turned into every Friday night with friends and that lead to every day.  Henry said he found himself consuming alcohol from the time he woke up until the time he went to bed.  That type of drinking altered his thinking and decision making which resulted in devastating consequences. He lost his precious family and his health. He looked at my husband and said, “I did this to myself.” He went on to say he wished he would have known God when he was younger and made better decisions.  Henry accepted Christ and was able to live four more weeks as a new creature in Christ.  But oh what wasted time.

It is important for young people to come to know Christ early and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them into Jeremiah 29:11 for their lives.  God said He has a good plan for every believer!  The devil would have you believe you are not loved, wanted, or accepted.  Young people are vital to God’s work.

I believe it is imperative for young people to be grounded in church early because it is important for them to know how to mourn and be comforted.  Matthew 5:4 states, “ Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Teen suicide is on a rise and at an all-time high.  It is important for young people to know the presence of “the Comforter,” the Holy Spirit.  If only a teenage girl in my hometown would have known about this Comforter.  She took her life when she was in a state of hopelessness and jumped from a bridge on the busy interstate below.  Every day on my route to and from home, I had to drive over the painted circles below that had been used to mark where her remains rested.  For months my heart and soul mourned the loss of this young girl I never met.  If only she would have been introduced to the Comforter would the outcome had been different?

I just saw on the news where a 10-year-old was bullied at school and felt helpless.  That young child, what I consider to be just a baby, came home and took her life.  At ten years old I still thought life was very wonderful.  I loved my church, I loved Jesus, and I loved His people.  This little girl took her own life because she felt powerless and hopeless.  If only someone could have echoed these words to her ear: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God,” (Psalm 43:5).  Her precious little mind wasn’t mature enough to know that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary situation.  If only she had been in the presence of the Holy Spirit, God said they “shall be comforted”.  

We must get our young people to God.  They must know true worship.  They must experience the Holy Spirit and they must grow. I compel you to embrace the young people of your church and encourage them to be faithful to God.

God loves the young people of “His” church and they have a vital place in His house.

By: Valerie Dowdell

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