Youth does not want to give up in the face of difficulties… Youth believes in a better world and is determined to do something to help bring it about”. ROLE OF THE YOUTH IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD The youth has great strength, vigour, good health etc. These features should be channeled towards the propagation of the gospel. Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of God (Lk. 18:16). In the church, the youths have the responsibility of evangelizing. It is their duty to witness Christ to their peers and to the remotest areas where Christ has not been preached.
Anthony Aja, quoting the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II wrote: “The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm; your youthful ideas in order to make the Gospel of life penetrate the fabric of the society”. “Besides, the Pope re-emphasized the part that youth can play in the call to evangelize the world as he addressed them in these words. “Dear young people, with the spirit of generous self giving recognize that you are directly involved in the new evangelization, proclaim Christ who died for all”. Where are our Youths today? Out there in search of worldly pleasure or working for the Lord. (Ref. to the past).
To be good evangelizer, witnessing must be accompanied by good example, being like Christ in all ramification. The bible recorded many dynamic youths worthy of emulation. Two of such youths will be considered in this text. They are Joseph and David. Joseph had an encounter with God. He reverenced God. The fear of God was in his heart. Portipher’s household prospered because of the presence of Joseph. How about you? He hated sin. He successfully resisted the temptation from his master’s wife. To the sin-laden wife of his master Portipha, he asked, “how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God”? (Gen. 39:9).
To escape the wrath that might befall him as a result of this great sin, he ran and fled from this great evil, sin of fornication. Godless youth would take advantage of this immoral opportunity and yield to the temptation. It takes a heart that has been washed by the Blood of The Lamb, a youth who has experienced the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, a sanctified person and Holy Ghost filled to overcome such temptation. For the bible says “for the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”.
Titus 2:11-12. David the son of Jesse, the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, rose and worked marvels for god right from his youth. He killed a lion, a bear and conquered the veteran warrior Goliath. He overcame the evil spirits that tormented Saul by his anointed fingers on the musical instruments. He was able to do all these exploits for God because of his personal knowledge of God and the power of the Holy Ghost that was upon him. Through the youngest of Jesse’ sons, his fear of the lord and his close relationship with God, made him to do the chosen one of God. ”Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the spirit of the Lord came mighty upon David from that day forward (1Samuel 16:13). Above all learn from Jesus Christ, who from childhood went about doing the father’ business, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other citizens also, for I was sent for this purpose? Make yourself available for noble use. Challenges Facing the Youth Today The general state of youth reveals spirituals, social and psychological crises and confusion.
They are being affected by the effects and influence of the society, peer groups, parental neglect and the evil one. Many of our youths blindly follow the dictates of the secularization of Western culture. The effects of secularism on most people have even made them argue that churches should accepts the society’s new directions. To them, if the society accept the society’s new directions. To them, if the society accepts pre-marital sex, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, sex education, use of condoms, lesbianism etc. hey cannot see why the church has to keep calling them sins. The youth sees the youth state as a period of fun and freedom. However, they forget to recognize that this stage is important and transitory – a stage between childhood and adulthood. Mistakes youth make at his stage in life could be detrimental bearing with it a lifetime consequences. For example, Youths who take to armed robbery, prostitution, drug trafficking, political thruggery, and all manner of violent practices carry over such nefarious activities from their youthful stage into adulthood.
At adulthood they become a problem to themselves, the society and invariably their children who may take after them. What a wasted life! In fact, they are unable to build a worthwhile foundation on which to rest their future. Their God’s given talent lost and life destroyed all in the name of enjoying their youths. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he admonished Timothy in these words: Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue Righteous, faith, love and peace, Along with those who call on the Lord Out of a pure heart” 2Tim:22 The youthful stage when properly managed can lead to disaster.
All youths should heed to Paul’s admonition to timothy. Flee from all evil desires and run after righteous. Many of our youths are compromising with worldly ideals. Compromise with the world brings corruption. It destroys the child of God’s testimony and makes his light grow dim. Learn from David and Joseph, the way to upright living. The youth is being influenced and challenged today in the following areas: 1. INFLUENCE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY Modern technology had led to the invention of personal computer, the satellite, Digital television, the internet, mobile phone (GSM).
These devices had in no small measure made the world a global village. However, the challenges facing our youths (Christian youth) is how to use them without abusing them. The truth is that these devices rather then being used for the advancement of knowledge which is capable of making the world a better place have become powerful tools in the hands of Satan for the perversion of morals. For example, the computer has both simplified and speeded up the operation in many fields of human endeavor – data storage, medicine, architecture, music and broadcasting industry.
These are interactive computer software for learning of virtually any subject. The mobile telephone has made communication easy. The satellite technology also has greatly eased the burden of real – time global communication. The internet is a great source of information, Books; encyclopedias on any subject, theses, revise, online news, libraries are now available on the internet. Various school activities which were manually carried out in the past, such as purchasing of admission forms, payment of school fees, access to course outlines, result etc are now done online.
Sources of information and different educational operations are now available on the internet. However, one must not lose sight of the evil associated with these devices (internet, GSM and computer). Many (including children, youth and even older people) are introduced to do world of deceit, indecency, immorality crime, sexual perversions, violence and many other vices through the use of these inventions of modern technology. The computer and the internet have more damaging influence on the youth. Youths spend long hours watching digital videos (DVD) or playing violent, even bloody and demonic computer games.
Some youths spend hours or the whole night browsing forbidden site on the internet thereby getting exposed to inappropriate materials, such as pornographic and erotica because some youth get initiated into Satanism, Spiritism and other esoteric region. The TV and internet have taking over the place of the bible and prayers in a good number of homes. Youth treasure their wide exploration of the internet in place of reading their books and other intellectual activities. This a leading to a dramatic decline in the academic performance of the youth and a high rate of unproductively of the youth in all spheres of life.
Wise parents should rise up to this challenge, and set up corrective measures to arrest this trend of self - destruction of the youth. 2. THE FILM INDUSTRY Many youths spend long hours watching the television denying themselves of meaningful activities that will promote heathy living and advancement in life. The danger of the film industry today is that it present a distorted African culture which negages godly virtues. For example, pre-marital sex is against God an abominable thing in African culture, but the film industry today presents it as the norm and what must follow or be part of a relationship.
Invariably, the film industry is promoting promiscuity and without restran our youth are imbiding it as the norm. Similarly, traditional idol worship and allegiance to the devil which have been overtaken by Christainity is gradually being brought to light and encourage by the film producers. What about movies dominated with violent operations?. This negates God peaceful co-existence among men. Parents must therefore rise up to control what their children watch on the television. 3. NEGLECING OF HARD WORK Many youths want to go the easy way of life. No work but wants to be rich.
They wish for success in life without paying the price of diligence. You need to see the coutless number of youths at the cyber cafe, browsing the internet looking for innocent preys to devour of thir hard earn money. Some Pentecostal pastors are not left out in the craze for prosperity through miracle galore at the expense of diligent labour. 4. SEARCH FOR GREENER PASTURE Many youths run the risk of searching for illegal means to go out of this country for better life. Experiences of those who attempted leaving this country reveal the agony many had to go though traveling through waste land to cross over to their “promised land”.
In the process many had lost their lives and their sense of value of life. Those who made it to their dreamed land are out their doing menial jobs and worst still are out into crimes of various degrees. 5. Domestic Problems Many youth are confronted with Domestic problems ranging from hostility from parents, strife between their fathers and mothers, parents inability to provide the basic necessities of life. Youths from such homes run away from home, get involved in all forms of crimes such as 419, armed robbery, thuggery, prostitution or hired assassions.
Parents should wake up to their responsibilities and make sustainable plans for their children. 6. INDECENT DRESSING AMONG YOUTHS We have been wonderfully made by God. Praise the Lord! Let us trace our dressing to the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they realized that they are naked. They sewed fig leaves together to make themselves aprons (Gen3:7). This covered only a part of their bodies. This is fact was not proper clothing and so the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them. This implies that the lord God covered their nakedness.
Therefore, any clothing that does not cover the body fully is an indecent cloth. Let us also consider the demoniac in St. Luke’s gospel Chapter 8 ;26-35). The demon possessed man was naked. The bible described him as “a man from the city who had demon; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and lived not in a house but among tombs’. With encounter with Christ Jesus, he was delivered from the legion of evil spirit, he was clothed and he was in his right mind” (Luke 8:35). This implies that only people who are not in their right mind would go about without clothes not big enough to cover their nakedness.
The modern day christains especially youths are without estrain imbiding and embracing worldly principles, values, culture and customs without making refence to the word of God. The bible says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is inworld, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the father, but is of the world”. I John2:15. Unholy attitudes or worldliness has become the culture of the church. Some church members tell you what you wear does not matte, after all religion is in the heart.
However, they forget that there is a link between the state of man’s heart and the outward appearance. In fact, one’s outlook is greatly influenced by the condition of the heart. It is not uncommon today to find different kinds of immodest and indecent dressed worn by the majority of young people and some older people in the society, even in the church of God. These ladies wear transparent and body hugged clothes under the guise of fashion and civilization. In fact, you see girls of cheap and easy virtue wearing provocative or seductive apparels that partially expose sensitive reas of their bodies such as breast, navels, abdomen and thighs, such youth are not left out in their heavy make-ups. Their make-ups are so excessive and outrageous that the girls are not less than masquerades and cannot but be mistaken for prostitutes. Why would a Christain woman or lady imitate Jezbel? “When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it and she painted her eyes, and adorned her head and looked out of the window” 2King9:30. Some ladies dress in such way that they stimulate lustful desires in men. The harlot dresses shamefully only to advertise, comete and seduce the opposite sex.
They wear revealing clothes which create in men some immoral desires. Mini-skirts are symbolic of those ladies who want to seduce men. Every mini-skirt is a fuel that sets the mind of a man to imagine the most debased thoughts. On the other hand, ladies who are seductively dressed are more likely to be harassed by men. In the actual sense, a lady who is immodestly dressed is simply adverstising herself, telling the male folk that she is available. No wonder, today that the rate at which women are raped is exceedingly alarming. The men folk are not left out of this craze for fashion.
They fry their hair (jerry curls or perm0, weave their hair, wear earring, leave their shirits unbuttoned, exposing their beareded chest, have funny styles of hair cut, apply make up just to prove themselves as “senior guys”. 7. Sexual Immorality/ Fornication Many youths do not see sextual immorality/formation as sin. They see it as a way of expressing their love to a person of the opposite sex. In popular advert which says “if you love me prove it by making love to me” Fornication is the sexual relationship between unmarried persons.
God condemns fornication; Do you not know that your body is a temple of he Holy spirit, who is in you whom you have received from god? You are not your own, you were received with a price. Therefore, honour god with your body (1cor 6:19-20) Anyone who destroy the temple of the Holy spirit which you are will face wrath of God. The bible says “you are God’s temple, anyone who defiles that temple, God will destroy”. Some youth who engage in fornication (pre-marital sex) tell you they are in search of happiness, pre-marital sex has brought shame, disgrace and to many, unfulfilled destiny and untimely death.
According to Ibid: Pre-marital sex has many adverse effects surrounding it. By so doing expose themselves to many risks such as: pregnancy, abortion, death, death, veneral disease, fear, shame, disrespect, sterility, uncompleted career are grievous sins against God, your creator. These are what we risk ourselves for, Just a mere pleasure which does not last. Similarly, punch Newspaper had on one of its publication pointed out that ”Pregnancy is just one of the ways one can reap on unpleasant harvest from fornication… It is better to avoid pre-marital sex”. 8. Wild Ambition Youths, no doubt are very ambitious.
Being ambitious itself should be commended. But when the ambition becomes obnoxious, wrong signals are elayed. It is not uncommon today to find youhs engage in all manner of nefarious activities that are opposed to Christain virtues in a bid to acquire great wealth, fame and success. They are usually recruited as political thugs, fake drug peddlers, armed robbers, hostage takers, murderers, assassins while others become cultists, prostitutes and so on. Some become involved in dubious and undefiled business. The bible tells us to flee from all appearance of evil. Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any paise, think on these thing (1 Cor10:31. Phil 4:8) Do not get involved in any activity that is contrary to the tenents of God. Anything contrary leads to hellfire. 9. Peer Group Influence Many Youth have been led astray by those they regard as friends. The influences of peers can bring about a positive or a negative change in one’s life. But today, such influences have been found to destroy the lives of those who keep had company.
Thomas Martin as reported by Stan Ilo had this to say “What can be more dangerous to youth than bad company; what more fatal to all moral rectitude and feeling than influence of bad example. Bad company ruins good moral. It will be highly recommended youths can be involved in authentic friendship. John Chidi once classified friendship into 3: 1. Friendship based on unity 2. Friendship based on Sexual pleasure 3. Good griendship Youth should be encouraged to get involved in good friendship I =n which a man and a woman can be close friends without any sexual intercourse whatsoever. 0 Foul Language, noisy Music, Obscene Dance, pornography Music is an ancient means with which God’s people adored, exalted His Holy name and praised his majesty. This is still God’s expectation from us today. However, Christain music of today has assumed a new dimension from what obtains in the bible. Most Christain music today are emotional, sensual and noisy. The musical instrument sound than the wordings as obtained in worldly music. Such songs do not give any inspiration, and it lacks modesty and moderation. So also is the obscene dance that accompanies the music.
Flee from such music and from every apprearance of evil. 11. UNEMPLOYMENT There is a high rate of employment in this country. Many youths who had managed to go through thick and thin to obtain a university degree or other degrees are out there on the streets roaming about in search of anything to do for living. His has been the concern of both youths and their parents. Many parents have lost inetrest in investing into education of their children. This has increased the number of youths without any formal education or vovational training.
One sees them in high dense areas/cities milling around motor parks, marj=ket places, in hide outs, practically doing nothing meaningful. Their daily existence depend on how much they can steal, extort from people or just waste away. Some engage in menial jobs that can hardly take care of them, while others become preys in the hand of evil men who take advantage of them by providing debase jpbs such as drug trafficking, prostitution. The self employed are faced with problems of generating power for tjose whose jobs require electricity. The question is, for how long then can we watch the leaders of tomorrow waste away.
We all must rise up to this challenge and fight corruption, injustice that have premeated into the whims and caprices of this nation. 12. Marriage Many youths today are faced with the problem of getting a wife or a husband. This could be attributed to a number of factors such as parental influence or control, self, sin and the devil. Youths becomes so obsessed with their inability to be married that they now abadom God. To every man there is a wife and to every woman there is a man. Therefore wait on the Lord, and He will provide. THE WAY FORWARD
In handling the problem of our youth and the difficulties confronting them in this perverse generation, parents, churches, society and the youth themselves have specific roles they must perform to bring sanity to our world. Let us reflet on the role of the youth themselves. The youth who desires life and the fruits of happy life must desire God and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteous and all other things will be added unto you (Matt. 6:33). To the youth who had turn away from the Lord, I say “come back with a repentant heart and the Lord will receive and have you back as his own.
Repentance involves: a) Admitting your weakness, being sorry for your weakness b) Renouncing your weakness The Lord tell us in Issaiah, “come now let us reason together, says the Lord through your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall become loke wool” (Is. 1:18) Go for sacramental reconciliation. Having regained your relationship with God, He wants you to live a spotless life even in this era of godlessness. You are to stay unpolluted and unperturbed in the constantly changing world where you dwell.
The unchanging God will substain you, for he has said. :For I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). This implies that God’s children have no excuse to allow themselves to be swayed by the rapidly changing world around them. What is expected of the youth therefore according to the word of God is outlined as follows: 1. The youth must treasure the unaltered word of God in his heart, life and mouth, civilization or no civilization. 2. He must constantly and diligently with prayer guard his soul so that he is not overtaken bythe whirlwind of globalization and modernization. . Must be resolved to live a holy life. This involves daring to be different with a resolution not to look back. 4. Depend on the grace of God. Paul tells the Ephesians, “for it is by Grace you have been saved through Faith and this is not from your selves, it is a gift of God (Eph 2:8) In the sane vein, Jesus tells us in Jn15:16 not to rely on our own strength but yo abide on the Vine 5. Invite the Holy spirit, the sanctifying power of God into your life. It is the spirit that gives life. In all thid fullness, live in the spirit.
So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires swhich is contrary to the spirit and the spirit which is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that do not do what you want” (Gal5:16-17) 6. Associate with thos who love and fear God. Meditate on the passage “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and Idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk amongthem, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” 7. Plunge into unlimited opportunities: The Lord urges us to plunge ourselves into unlimited opportunities that he has set us. Like Joshua, He was to be strong, courageous and to observe the word of God. Joshua did as God commanded and he prospered. Today God is saying to us that he has given us great opportunities to succeed in life and have all our needs met.
However, many go through life dejected, defeated, defrauded, dominated and at the end doomed. you are a child of God. For success to come your way, start now. Do not be idle. You can still go back to school and get education; you can re-write your papers and improve on them. Are you unemployed, apply to place no matter how little, or you can create a job yourself. You need not suffer, the sky is the limit. Finally, do not stay away from sacraments (Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation). Heaven is real. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffer the loss of soul.