I love ministering to young people. I enjoy telling them about my failures, as well as my successes. It is vital to their relationship with God that more mature Christians intentionally share wisdom and experience often. After all, we've walked the paths they will soon be walking and had mistakes and triumphs along the way.
There are quite a few things I’d like to tell the next generation: the seven tips I’ve included here are just a few excellent ways to strengthen and encourage them in their walks with Christ.
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1. Salvation comes through Christ alone.
There’s a lot of contradictory information regarding salvation.
Some people say salvation is through Christ. Some say it comes only through Muhammad and Allah. Some say salvation isn’t necessary and that when you die, you’ll reincarnate as someone or something else.
Listen to me very carefully. Your eternal soul is at stake here. This is not a joke. This is not an election. You don’t get to vote which god to believe in and still make it to heaven. There is only one way to God. God Himself orchestrated it that way.
“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” (John 14:6)
Please understand this fundamental biblical truth: you have the right to believe what you want to believe, but that won’t stop you from spending eternity apart from God. Salvation is through Christ alone. Accept Him today if you haven’t already.
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2. Church attendance is important.
There are many opinions regarding attending church. The short answer is simple—yes, you need to attend church. My only stipulation is that you need to go to the right church.
Notice I didn’t type “You need to go to a perfect church,” because those don’t exist. Every church has issues because every church is filled with people who have issues. So, do not attend a church looking for perfect people because you’re going to be disappointed.
Hebrews 10:25 teaches why church attendance is so important: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Simply put, we’re not supposed to forsake (abandon, desert) assembling together with other believers in the church. At church is where we learn, grow, and heal. Thus, attending a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching, Bible-teaching church is vital to our spiritual growth. If you haven’t yet joined a church, find one, and faithfully attend and support it.
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3. Don’t just read the Bible. Apply it to your life.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)
I have this phrase that I always say: a scalpel in the hands of a trained surgeon can save a patient’s life. If you take the same scalpel and put it in the hands of an unskilled surgeon, the patient may lose their life. That’s precisely how I view the Bible. The book that brings comfort, hope, and forgiveness is the same book that can bring destruction if not wielded correctly.
Moreover, there are a lot of people who can quote the Bible, but when it comes to applying its principles to their lives, they’re clueless. It doesn’t matter how much you attend church or how the Lord is using you in your spiritual gifts; if you’re not applying the Word of God to your life, you’re like a baby who doesn’t eat. Your growth will be stunted. You’ll look up 10 years from now, and you’ll be in the same spiritual classroom you were in 10 years prior.
If you want to grow as a Christian, you must apply Christ’s teachings to your life. If you want to grow up in Christ, become skillful in applying the Bible to your everyday life.
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4. Be led by the Holy Spirit.
Here’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give the next generation: be led by the Spirit of God. When the Spirit guides us, He leads us to love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit of God will never lead us to do anything contrary to these nine attributes.
Have you ever been somewhere and as you looked around, you saw hate, sadness, chaos, impatience (anxiousness, restlessness), hardness (roughness), cruelty (evil), faithlessness (disbelief, disloyalty), arrogance (pride), or indulgence (loose living)? More than likely, the Spirit of God did not lead you there. Galatians 5:19-21 says it like this:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…”
So, before we start saying that God told us to do something or told us to go somewhere, we need to look at which type of ‘fruit’ is in evidence—fruit of the Spirit or works (fruit) of the flesh.
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5. Know your worth.
"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)
When the children of God know their worth, there’s a confidence about them that others won’t understand.
They may not be the smartest in the boardroom. They may not have a bunch of acronyms behind their names. They may not be the prettiest, handsomest, slimmest, or richest in the group. But their confidence is unshakeable because they understand that their value does not come from any of those attributes. It comes solely from who they are in Christ. Their confidence comes from being chosen.
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6. Know your purpose.
God created you with a unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities. He created you with them, and He expects you to use them. Unfortunately, many people spend their entire lives either unaware of their gifts or intentionally ignoring them.
A cup is designed to hold a beverage. You can use the cup to hold down a sheet of paper blowing in the wind, but that’s not what it was designed to do. A stapler was designed to staple something. You can use it to smash a bug, but that’s not what it was intended to do.
You were designed to do something, but God will allow you to be used for something else as well. However, there comes a time in your life when nothing will satisfy you outside of what you were designed to do.
I’m convinced this is why many older people eventually leave the workforce and do something they’ve always wanted to do. You read stories all the time of people who change careers in their forties and fifties.
I am by no means telling you to quit your job or transition to another career. What I am telling you is find your purpose, pray about your purpose, and find ways to accomplish what you were born to do.
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7. Wait on God.
- Waiting on God is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
- Waiting on Him is humbling.
- Waiting on Him seems to take forever.
- Waiting on God is uncomfortable and goes against our 'I want it now' attitudes.
However, waiting on God will stretch and increase your faith. It is a necessity in the life of the believer. Waiting on Him results in blessings. Not waiting on Him results in drama, heartache, pain, disappointment, and debt.
When we don’t wait on God, we set things in motion to obtain what we want. I’ve seen people lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want and then say that God gave it to them. I want you to be very careful with that because we have to deal with the consequences of our actions.
Things usually don’t go according to our plan when we move ahead of God, and I can promise you that you will regret your decision not to wait. I always say we have free will to make choices, but we don’t have free will to select the consequences of our actions.
Waiting on God is protection. It reduces the chance that we’ll get in over our heads and gives Him time to set up blessings on our behalf. Waiting on God gives Him glory.
As I close out this article, let me remind you that your relationship with Christ is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Nurture that relationship. Protect that relationship. Grow in that relationship. Christ has much to tell the next generation as well.
Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking Victoriously. Aretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.
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Originally published Thursday, 30 May 2019.