“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
Teaching the next generation about God is the duty of all Christians. Teaching our children who will in turn teach their children God’s law and share with them how God had demonstrated His presence and power in their lives. The Ten Commandments were written for the Moses’ generation and the generations that followed. “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and command that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?’ Tell him: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised on oath to our forefathers.’” (Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 20-23)
Moses had records of what happened in Egypt and when the Israelites left Egypt and everything that happened during their journey to the Promised Land so that these could be shared with the next generations. We too could share God’s commandments with our children so that they could live the way God intended them to. And when God works wonderful miracles and brings blessings in our lives, we get to share those with our children as well. We could also share these things with other young Christians and non-believers.
Before he died, David said to his son, Solomon, “So, be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in His ways, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep His promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kings 2:2-4) Solomon later advises, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
As a child I was taught that Jesus loved me and that is why He died on the cross for me. I was taught that Jesus loved all children—children of all colours. I was taught the Our Father prayer and other prayers. Even now I’m learning things from my mother and my aunt. I’m learning things from God who is my Father. He is opening my eyes to what I am reading. Even though I have read the Scriptures before, I feel as if I’m reading some of it for the first time.
Solomon’s advice to the young is, “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 in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10) When we are young, we want to enjoy life, have fun, and be adventurous.
When we are young, we don’t want to take life seriously or responsibility for our actions. We just want to have a good time. When we are young we think we are invincible, untouchable. We think we can experiment with drugs and alcohol and not be affected; we think we can handle them. We drag race and not think that we can get hurt or hurt someone else. We do anything to get into a fraternity or we are willing to do anything to be accepted into the in-crowd. We want to seem cool to others so we do things that we are not comfortable doing just to impress other people. When we are young, we are easily influenced and vulnerable to peer pressure. We don’t want to be seen as the geek or the wallflower. We want to be popular.
Young people should be taught that it is cool to be a follower of Jesus. It is cool to obey His commands and hold on to them. It is cool to read the Bible, go to church, pray, meditate, help others, tell their friends about Jesus. It is cool to do volunteer work, Bible study, work hard in school, do well in their studies and stay out of trouble, say no to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. It is cool to serve others. Jesus wearing just a towel got down on His knees and washed the feet of His disciples. It is cool to feed the homeless, visit the sick, help the poor and to treat others as you want to be treated. It is cool to be part of God’s crowd rather than the in-crowd. It is cool to stand out as a committed believer than as the popular girl or boy or the jock. Young people should be taught that following God is the coolest thing they could ever do and the wisest.