As a youth leader, there are young people who are looking at me, watching how I am… how I act… what I do. Not only by my life decisions do they see what I accept and stand for, they can see what I do not allow in my life.
It has made me look at what kinds of sin in my life I am complacent with. What example am I setting for them?
But even more important, what example am I setting for myself? After all, I am not living to create a persona for them. I am living for Jesus and I want to be free from sin and not let it live within me. It is that perspective that will have more influence on the youth than focusing on what I do and what I don’t do because living for Jesus encompasses that automatically without thinking about it.
With the risk of sounding old-fashioned and irrelevant to people today, I feel the need to say that I still believe that Jesus wants us to be set apart from this world. I don’t know what that statement means to you, if it recalls bad feelings or memories or not, but give it a chance for a moment.
I believe that the trivialization of sin in our lives has moved us closer to the world than it has to God and we do not recognize it because of our repeated decisions to consciously or subconsciously move away from God.
Every decision we make moves the pendulum one way or another.
Some will say, “I don’t major in minors.” as an excuse to take in sinfulness and sinful behaviors… to not look out for the fallen one to creep into our lives in some small way. I know that there are people who are just paranoid at the idea of sin creeping in and shout at everyone about it and I’m not trying to be that person.
I’m also not advocating for us to move away in a remote village where we get away from the world and never witness to anyone. The world needs us. And the world needs us to be a different type of human.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:2
The fallen one looks for entryways into our hearts. These entryways are minuscule in size, but once a foothold has been made it gives room for bigger things. We are only fooling ourselves if we ignore this fact.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4:23
Do we not realize we are at war with fallen beings who aim to see our destruction? This is no conspiracy talk. This is real.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
I am not advocating to live in fear. Fear misplaces faith. However, ignoring sin in our lives makes us complacent. Complacency is where the fallen one wants us to be.
Think on this for a moment: What are we watching on our mobile devices, TV, and the movies? Is this something Jesus would enjoy as well? Is it good for our soul? What are we listening to? Is this something Jesus wants us to hear? What are we saying? Is it what Jesus would want us to say?
Why do we have so much time for so many things that burn our days away and not enough time to help build our faith in Bible study, witnessing, and devoting our lives to God? Is not the kingdom of Heaven important enough to us?
What we surround ourselves with and what decisions we make creates the culture of who we are and is that culture a reflection of who Jesus is? I feel that this is becoming less relevant in the “Christian” life. I feel it hard when I read the words of Jesus when He says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” -Matthew 7:13-14.
When the youth see and hear me, I want them to be able to tell that I “had been with Jesus”, like they said about Peter and John in Acts 4:13. Surrounding ourselves with Jesus reflects Jesus on others.
And if you have read this far and think that you are not going to major in minors and be bothered by these things… You may not major in minors, but the fallen one does and that is how he gets entry into your heart.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7