Restrictions on Christians and the Youth
Some feel that restrictions in the Christian life can drive people, especially the youth, away from the Lord. But God is love and His laws serve as a wall of protection from the devil’s deadly and painful ways. In our current culture, the youth have been encouraged to indulge in what they call “freedom.” This includes rebelling against most authority and rules. However, what has been the result? Has it given them safer, happier or more fulfilled lives? No. On the contrary, it has brought unhappiness, trouble and heartache. Sin is deceptive and deadly. It might promise pleasure, but eventually it ends in pain.
The world tends to entice people with the pleasures of this life. However, it is a false sense of freedom. “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:19). This means that while one might think he is free to do what he wants, he becomes a slave to his addictions or consequences of his choices.
Jesus’ path should not be seen as filled with restrictions but rather as liberating. Jesus declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).
God desires to give us true freedom. We are free to choose good things. We are free to live without fear, shame and regret. By avoiding harmful things that are outlined in the Bible, we are free to live happier lives. The Lord admonishes His children to “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
An example of this is following God’s warning against drunkenness (Proverbs 23:29-35). The Bible warns that it can cause one to make foolish choices and hurt oneself or others. The Bible also warns of fleeing fornication or sexual encounters before marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18). How many teen pregnancies would have been avoided and their lives, and the lives of their children, could have been saved? God loves His children and desires them to live in health and safety (3 John 1:2).
Jesus offers a life more abundant. He said, “The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The devil and his lies steal and destroy life. Jesus wants to give us the best life possible (John 15:9-11).
The Bible gives a special calling to the youth: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). God calls the youth of today to stand on His side. They can, with their energy and influence, do much good in the world. This does not mean that they can’t enjoy life. On the contrary, they can more fully enjoy the blessings of life (Matthew 5:16, 25:20-23)
The Good News
Here is the good news: Jesus loves us and calls us His friends. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus laid down his life for us to give us a full life now and eternal life in heaven. He is the best friend we will ever know. He says, “…If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
The way of Jesus is not a burden, but is a way of joy and peace. Jesus affirmed, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). God loves the youth and has great plans to bless them with a bright future. He said, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
In His service,