In our western cultures, there is a strong pattern in our churches for our young adults to focus on empowering themselves or entertaining themselves – or at the other extreme, entering into “ministry”.
Unfortunately, these activities are the fault of the Church, which primarily preaches a message that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
God is not interested in us being happy. He is interested in us having joy, which is different than happiness. Joy is a solid sense of peace, understanding, and acceptance in our hearts. Happiness is mostly associated with a short-term feeling in our souls or for our bodies of being (temporarily) satisfied.
Besides joy, God is primarily interested in us growing up mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The reason for His goal of maturing us is so we are able to identify and flow with His Kingdom activities in this life, and to prepare us to rule and reign in His Kingdom in the next life.
Jesus is our role model for maturing in this life, which included learning obedience and going through some very challenging situations.
Hebrews 5:6-8 – As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered…
Romans 8:17 – And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Jesus’ walk on earth was not totally in sorrow and misery, but there were times in His life and ministry (especially just before and during His crucifixion) that were horrendous. But these tough times which our Lord went through helped prepare His soul for the Father’s future reign over everything for all eternity.
Hebrews 1:8-9 – But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
With this introduction, we see that men and women of the human race have been given specific tasks by God – sometimes tough tasks – to teach us self-control and obedience. One task is being in a family and having families. Again, the point is maturing us and preparing us for an eternity as a free-will, selfless individual in the midst of an innumerable number of other free-will selfless individuals. God’s ultimate goal is that we together of one heart and one mind, bow our knees and confess with our tongues that we trust that Jesus the Christ is the King of the eternal kingdom, and we collectively are a people focused on the good of others first and foremost.
To help prepare us for this incredible and immortal future (and keeping focus on this topic for young men and women), God gave directions in Genesis – and throughout the rest of the Scriptures – which reveals His will about this.
Genesis 3:16-19 – Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Let’s look at New Testament Scriptures which clarify the roles of young men and women in the church.
- Courageousness and protection
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 – Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men [make brave, to show one’s self a man], be strong.
- Be married
- Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands…
- 1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, ye husbands…
- Cherish wives
- Ephesians 5:25,28 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
- Acts 20:33-35 – I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Ephesians 4:28 – Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:11 – And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you…
- Modesty and humility
- 1 Peter 3:3-4 – Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
- Be married
- 1 Peter 3:3 – Likewise, ye wives…
- Cherish husbands
- 1 Peter 3:3,5,6 – Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
- Bear children
- 1 Timothy 5:14 – I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
After young men and women perform their God-given duties at that stage of their lives, they move into the role of elders in the church. In this capacity, we see opportunities for the older men to teach the younger men and the older women to teach the younger women. And for both of these older / mature genders to participate in church ministry as deacons, deaconnesses, pastoring, etc.
Unfortunately, we humans spend a considerable amount of time attempting to avoid anything we consider to be “suffering” or hard mental / emotional / physical work, including our relationships (i.e., being married and having children). And as stated earlier, the church feeds this particular self-preservation goal by telling us we need to be happy and have “a good week” all the time.
We see men’s movements of avoiding hard work, having fun, and generally being irresponsible in life. We see women’s movements attempting to sway them to find their voices, and be empowered to develop their careers. (I assure you that women’s voices will be heard and their real careers will be found in Christ’s coming Kingdom.)
- James 5:5 – Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
- 1 Timothy 5:6 – But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
Men’s “temporary” but high-priority careers for their earthly lives is to protect and provide for the souls of others, especially women and children. Women’s “temporary” but high-priority careers for their earthly lives is to birth souls into existence – and nurture those souls into eternity for God and His Kingdom.
Having a relationship with Jesus Christ, reading the Bible, and participating in our local churches are foundational for our souls. In addition, young men and women can seek further preparation and training for their souls (and bring forth other souls!) for God’s immortal future by prayerfully considering these words, and be guided by the Spirit for direction in this particular matter.
No condemnation here – only the goal of preparing for the return of our Lord and the full manifestation of His Kingdom.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 – When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Revelation 22:10-16 – And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.