~As for Me ~
A Battle Cry to the Youth of this Generation
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18(NIV)
I am writing this article to the youth of America. I know that each point I make can and should be heeded by every person of any age but my emphasis will be directed intentionally toward the youth.
In Exodus 20 God commands, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Today this command is more relevant than ever before. Now more than ever you, the youth of America are under a vicious assault! No matter where you turn you are being bombarded with the temptation of complete and utter self-indulgence and sadly this assault is being perpetrated in part by some in the Church. From television programs and teen magazines to the self-absorption of today’s greatest athletes the devil is seeking to deceive you, as he did Eve in the Garden, by tempting you to exalt yourself over Almighty God. The world, under the direction of their father Satan, has set before you a great ‘golden image’ of self-centeredness and on their command demand you bow your knees and worship the god of Self. “Do whatever you want,” the world says, “and let no one get in your way. Your happiness is all that matters.” Whatever makes you feel good, go on, indulge yourself.” He desires more than anything to be successful in this campaign and will stop at nothing to see it accomplished. The battle is raging and it is for your very soul.
So what must you do? God has called us to treasure Jesus Christ over everything else in this world, including ourselves. This treasuring of Jesus is not simply calling yourself a Christian; it is full devotion to the person of Jesus as your Lord and Savior and an unabated obedience to the directives of Christ for this life. I believe God is calling me to shout with all my might “Stop and think about where your allegiance is.” Who or what is lord of your life? Are you consumed with yourself? Do you follow after the ideas and passions of this world? Do you look just like those around you? Is your speech different, or the same? What do you watch? What do you listen to? Is there any difference between your lifestyle and your un-Christian friends? Do you find yourself overlooking sinful behavior and even catch yourself doing the same? Answer this question. How can you ever expect to make a difference in this world when there is no apparent difference in your own life? Jesus doesn’t save us from our sin in order that we may go about living how we like and sinning all the more. On the contrary he has called us to “be separate from the world,” and to “come out from among them.” Romans 12:2 says that we are no longer to be conformed to this world. That word conformed literally implies to wear a mask as one would in a masquerade ball. “To appear as one you are not”, is another way to put it. Are you so consumed with blending in and fitting in that you compromise your obedience to God’s Word? These are tough questions. I am not writing this article or preaching this message in order to bring a heavy load of condemnation into your life. On the contrary I am writing this most difficult message in order to encourage you to come to the Lord with a broken and contrite heart. Fully repentant and willing to lay down your life for Jesus Christ. The “fun” life this world offers is so shallow and so self centered. It appears to be a great life but on the inside it is one full of emptiness and depression. Jesus is the only God and He is the only One who can fill you with a passion and zeal for life and a mission to keep you fulfilled for the rest of your life. I compel you today to come to him and seek him with your whole heart. We all are tripped up from time to time and fall into temptation but just as the Old Testament shows time after time God desires His people to come to him and repent, seeking his restoration and his direction for their lives. Don’t let this moment pass you. We are in a battle of epic proportions and you have been born into this time in history to bring glory to Jesus Christ in all that you do.
In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the Old Testament book of Daniel, the king had set up an image and demanded that everyone bow and worship this man made creation. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were followers of Almighty God and they knew that He was the true God and refused to bow their knee in worship to the golden image. The king threatened them with death by being cast into the fiery furnace but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego still refused. Their statement to the king was one that also must be heeded today. “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18(NIV)
Today you are being slammed on all sides and commanded to bow down and cast aside your beliefs and blend in with society. You are told to keep your Christianity to yourself and quit being so judgmental of everything around you. The world wants you to look like them, feel like them and act like them, no matter the level of their debauchery. Your answer to the world must be a resounding, unshaking, unswerving NO! It is time for the Christian young people in this nation to rise up and stand on principle. You must clothe yourself with the full armor of God and dedicate yourself anew to being a doer not simply a hearer or reader of the Word of God. I tell my youth group all the time that the Christian life is a life of thinking and doing! The Bible has much to say on the subject as I have used several references already. In the book of I Timothy (written to a young man) the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy not to let anyone despise his young age. Instead he encouraged Timothy to be an example to other believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity. You are called to be living epistles before this world Christians and non-Christians. People should look at you and see the working of Jesus Christ in your life. They should see a young person consumed with passion to follow the commands of Jesus. They should see a person who is in love with Jesus. Fully devoted and fully committed. I know this is a high calling for a young person; it is a high calling for any person. In fact it is an impossible calling to fulfill if we do not rely fully on the power of the Holy Spirit to empower us. Unfortunately many young people today are consumed with having nothing but a fun time and many youth groups around the country advertise a youth group with nothing but food and fun sprinkled with a little Bible lesson. This makes me sick to my stomach because people are taking the lives of precious young people and treating them like they are small children in need of a Barney movie and a pack of crackers.
For you to answer this calling will surely bring hardship to your life, Jesus never promised that our lives would be care free and fun, his life was full of hardship and so will ours. This doesn’t mean that we never enjoy times of peace joy and happiness, but we mustn’t live for these things. That is idolatry because it makes our happiness a greater value to us than the will of Jesus Christ. In II Timothy 2:3 Paul again speaking to Timothy says “You must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this world, that he may please the one (Jesus) who enlisted him.” Paul is saying what I just said at the beginning of this paragraph. We must cast aside anything that keeps us back from full dedication to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one true and only way. He has called you to STAND and take your place is this battle. Remember not to get entangled in the sinfulness of the world; do not masquerade around as if you are just like them. Read and study your Bible. Pray and submit to God. One thing that is absolutely imperative is that you join a Bible preaching church and youth group. Yes you need to be in a Bible preaching youth group! By this I do not mean some wishy washy group that opens the Bible to a feel-good set of verses and have a measly little devotion. I am calling you to join a group of young believers who are on fire for God and who are dedicated to personal purity and wholehearted discipleship. I will tell you that this is not popular today. It might be that you are currently in a very shallow youth group, one whose mindset is simply to entertain and “baby sit” you. I cannot begin to tell you how many of these groups exist around this country. This summer while on a youth trip one of the youth asked why so many youth pastors talk to their students like they are toddlers. The fact is there are thousands of young people who hunger to know Jesus more intimately. They seek to follow Him and desire to devote their lives to the mission of reaching the world for Jesus Christ, but are stifled in their attempts because of the influence of the “Christian” leaders in their lives. You might be one of these youth. If so I want to encourage you to not forsake the call of Jesus in this hour. This might require you to find a group where Jesus is exalted, a place where you can learn and be discipled. I have met so many young people whose greatest complaint about their Christian walk is that they have not and are not being discipled.
In closing I want to encourage you, in fact plead with you not to give in to the culture around you. You must rise up as young Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did and declare that you will worship Jesus Christ and Him alone will you serve. Encourage your friends to join you in this declaration. You can make a difference. I am praying for you that God would use you to reach your school for Jesus Christ. Dedicate yourself to praying for revival to sweep through your school and pray by name for the salvation of your unsaved classmates. Who knows if God might use your diligence to bring a mighty move of His Spirit. Be bold in your dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the power of God unto Salvation to those who will believe (Romans 1:16). If you would like to contact me with questions or prayer requests I am available and desire deeply to encourage you anyway that God would allow Crosswalk483@yahoo.com . Please don’t stand on the sidelines and be silent. Join the many young people around this nation and Rise Up and Speak Out against this age of selfishness cry out to your peers to repent and come to faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks powerfully about the mouths of young people and together we can help take back this nation for Christ. Remember the words of God to Joshua in Joshua 1: Be strong and very courageous!
The battle cry has been sounded!
Will You Answer the Call?
For Christ Alone,
Students, parents and youth pastors: I would hope that if this article has touched your heart you will print this out or email it on to those young people in your life. Whether they be your friends, children or young people you serve our youth need to hear this message and stand for righteousness. I am praying with you and for you.
If you would like Chris to speak at your church, Christian school or interview for newsprint or radio please contact Chris at Crosswalk483@yahoo.com