Evan and I were reading this Scripture last night as we have been going through the book, “Every Young Man, God’s Man” by Kenny Luck and Stephen Arterburn. (I would encourage all dads to take their sons through this material).
The book went on to say,
“….many of my younger brothers miss God’s ultimate blessing—they are simply too impatient. They give up too easily in the name of fun, because they are demonstrating the emotional and spiritual development of a twelve-year-old. Maturity is recognizing that sometimes you need to do the very thing you don’t want to do to become the man you need to be. God’s men have this perspective:
“But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Hebrews 12:10-11, MSG)
We got to talking about the battle that we are both in…that the Scripture in Ephesians about us “fighting not against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
We talked about the battle that Evan has been in and how it’s been rough. In talking about this, it’s as if God gave me a birds eye view of why we are losing the battle, especially teenagers losing the spiritual battle:
Many teenagers find their significance in video games that seem like reality but are in essence just make believe….the same with the church and youth ministries–we’ve made this spiritual war we are in a video game. We don’t take it seriously because we really think it’s all make believe. This is found in the idea that church is to make us feel good rather than to give us resources to fight in the war. So, have we, the church presented the spiritual war we are in as a video game rather that an all out real war with a real enemy who wants to destroy us?
I propose we have……we have believed lies that:
- We can get up and pause the game at any point
- It doesn’t really matter how well I do because it’s not real
- I have multiple lives
- We can nonchalantly eat chips and drink root beer while in a battle(we can have an entertainment mentality in our youth groups when it comes to this war that we are in)
The reality is:
- This war is real
- This war is hard
- This war costs us
- This war is time consuming
- This war can literally cause us to lose everything
WHAT IF WE TOOK THE SAME TIME, EFFORT, AND ENERGY THAT WE SPEND IN A VIDEO GAME INTO THE SAME BATTLE WE ARE IN SPIRITUALLY?
Parents…..Students….this is WHY I am so focused. Youth Ministry is not a video game where I try to get to see how many kids we can get through the doors(rack up the points), it’s not me trying to see who can down the most rootbeer and pizza….it’s not a responsibility I take lightly because I am the one who will be responsible for how I led this student ministry, so am I going to lead us to apathetically go through the motions and just hope students get it?
Hell No! The lives of our students are too precious to waste! God has created all of our students for significance and to make Him famous!
I am tired of walking around as it seems with my tail between my legs when the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me!
I read a slew of promises that says who I am but live in defeat and because of my defeated life I encourage others to live in defeat by saying things like:
- Hang in there
- God will work it out
- Praying for you…..man!
- Just keep plugging in
- God will provide
It’s a passive way to say–I don’t really care or I just hope God will come through!
God has given me the gift of mercy and I am thrilled that God has given me this gift BUT I get so frustrated because I feel like with my mercy gift I have no backbone to speak the truth.
With the mercy gift, one can definitely be taken advantage of and sometimes with the mercy gift(actually a lot of times) I will help with a physical need but never address the glaring truth that needs to be addressed and so the individual gets back into the same predicament.
Through this I am essentially caring more about me than the fame of Jesus and literally telling them to go to hell. What do I have to lose if I tell them truth—they don’t like me? Isn’t that worth it? Jesus was humiliated even up to death!
What if I share Truth and they get it and grow closer to Christ–it’s a win-win. If not, their blood is on their hands (Ezekiel 33)
Now I know what some of you are thinking and honestly, I have thought about it too, but “Where’s the love?”
I speak the truth because I love them! I don’t want to be a jerk who just speaks truth and has no love–there has to be a balance. I guess what I am saying is I am tired of seeing professing followers of Christ make intentional stupid decisions on their own, having cheapened the grace of God. God didn’t create us or save us to live life the way we want but to die to ourselves!
From Every Young Man, God’s Man by Kenny Luck and Stephen Arterburn:
- When certain situations arise, young men keep truth at arm’s length because they still want to dance with sin. Depending on how you look at things, truth can be perceive as:
- an enemy of fun
- an enemy of certain adrenaline rushes
- an enemy of cool
- an enemy of acceptance by those you want to like you
- an enemy of sexual gratification
- an enemy of your plans to deviate from your faith for an evening
- an enemy of a guilt-free high
The worst habit a young man can get into is telling himself lies that give him enough wiggle room to continue participating in activities that he knows are harming his relationship with God and others.
I reprint all of this to say, “We spend all of our time fighting the battles of believers and Satan uses this tactic so we are always having to deal with the problems of believers rather than rescuing the lost. When can we get to the point to know that the victory is already won? Students (and adults) are still wavering between the world and Jesus and that is what the church spends 90% of it’s time on–trying to get believers back on track.
I can’t do it anymore–I am going to be held accountable myself and be challenged, but I
am no longer going to “just hope” that fellow believers get it. God has called us into a real war with real consequences and it’s time to get out of the video game mentality.
The following is a video of the life of BJ Higgins who understood that the battle was real! For more information on him and where he served at in Peru, please contact Awe Star ministries at http://www.awestar.org.