Dear Young Man…

Dear Young Man,
I see you. I know that you have been struggling.
Struggling seems to be a significant part of life as a young man moves from childhood to adulthood. It is hard. It seems like life is full of change, uncertainty, challenges, and setbacks. One day you know what you want and you are moving in that direction. The next day your world is turned upside down and you discover that you must start over.
In times of uncertainty, we all wish we could have a map or guide to help us take the next step. God has provided us that guide through His Word. I want to share with you today a few words on how to navigate this season of your life.
1.  Fear the Lord

Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

I have no doubt that throughout your days as a youth that you were told about God’s love and our need to respond with love towards HIm. This certainly is true, but it may not fully prepare you to walk with God in hard times. God is love (1 John 4:8), but He is also just. (Deut 32:4)

This means that we are supposed to love God, but we are also supposed to fear Him. To fear God means to understand that He is powerful and should be respected as such. There are many things in life that may not strike terror in our hearts, but we know are dangerous. Therefore, we handle them with care and seek to understand them so we do not bring harm upon ourselves. Items like fire, guns, sharp items, and hazardous materials are all reminders of what it means to fear the Lord. We must acknowledge that God is our powerful, just Creator and approach Him with reverence and fear.

2.  Be Teachable

Proverbs also says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7)

This proverb serves as a couplet, which means they go together as opposites. While the wise and intelligent fear God, the person who does not fear God (fool) will not take any form of instruction. It is a reminder that we should always be willing to learn and be corrected.

There is no question that you are smarter and wiser than you were just a few short years ago, but you also have a long way to go. Being teachable means admitting that you don’t know everything, and be willing to let someone else show you what they do know. It requires a lot of patience and humility. It is also the best way to learn to be a better employee, student, follower of Jesus, and man.

3.  Be Diligent

Going right along with the previous proverb, we read, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” (21:5)

It is good to be teachable and with that work hard. Going back all the way to Creation we read that God placed man in the Garden of Eden and told him, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…” (Gen 1:28)

God intended man to work the land even before the Fall. We were created to do something with the world that God had given us! Even now, you are learning and growing in some sort of trade. You may be in school, working, or serving as an apprentice, but in every situation God is calling you to work hard and do your best.

However, diligence is not just found in your profession. Be diligent in your pursuit of God & His will. Be diligent in fulfilling the Great Commission. Be diligent to love your neighbor.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)
4.  Words Matter

“He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” (Prov 17:27)

Social media has been a tremendous blessing to young generations, but also a dangerous place. Young people can connect with friends all over the world and keep relationships going even when distance is a problem. However we have also seen how a comment made in anger or an immature joke made years ago can ruin a person’s career or relationship.

We must be very careful with our words because words matter. It is often much better to leave something unsaid, than to say it and have it twisted against you. This is not to say that we should not share our opinions, but we should reflect on our words and ask if they bring peace or conflict or if there is some way they could be misunderstood.

Choose your words carefully, and do not allow them to be a stumbling block for anyone as they seek the Lord.

5.  Stay Pure

Finally, Solomon says, “It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself If his conduct is pure and right.” (Prov 20:11)

More than ever our culture pushes the idea that relationships should be casual, uncommitted, and sexual. We create apps that encourage “hooking up” and we chastise anyone who takes relationships seriously. The result of this has been a huge number of young people who battle depression, rejection, and feelings of worthlessness.

Even in “Christian” circles, there are far too many young people who want all the benefits of marriage without the commitment of marriage. This lack of commitment cheapens everything and encourages the disposable society that has caused so much pain.

But God has called us to take our relationships and our own purity seriously. As you date, remember that you are looking for a lifelong help-mate. Seek the one with whom you can build a life, and when you find her, make a commitment before God to live that life together.

“Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.” (Prov 5:18)
Young man, I see you. I know you will not be perfect. I was not perfect either. This is why the grace of God is so amazing. Walk, run, fall, and rise up. There are men around you walking with you; there to give you a hand.
We see you. We love you. Don’t give up.
Next week: Dear Young Woman