This morning I watched as my toddler literally ran back and forth picking up toys to bring to her grandfather. It’s not that he told her to hurry up or implied that he was waiting on her but she was just excited and comfortable running. As I watched her I wondered how things would be if I moved that quickly when trying to get things done. The idea of my house getting picked up quickly is certainly appealing but I know it wouldn’t work. First of all, I’m much bigger than her and clumsy. Typically, when I’m in a hurry I stub my toe, break a dish, or bump into someone. Also, I don’t have that kind of energy. When she runs back and forth she is moving as fast as her chubby little legs will take her. She is not straining but smiling as she does it. If I did the same short sprints around the house I would wear out before getting a single room cleaned up. Our Christian walk is sometimes similar. The Lord allows many of His children to know Him personally and receive salvation at an early age. It’s not that God wants His younger believers to sit and hibernate on that truth until they reach a certain age of maturity– they are expected to take what they know and run with it!
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
When we are young we often have two major misconceptions when it comes to focusing on God. The first misconception is that we have more time for God when we get older. When you are in school and faced with demanding professors and persistent parents, you long for the day when you alone can determine how you arrange your calendar. The second misconception is that as you get older, you are more serious and spiritual things will become a natural priority in your life. It’s hard to imagine that adults have as many distractions as teens and young adults. However, these are both misconceptions because our spiritual walks have nothing to do with age and everything to do with heart. In fact, practically every excuse used to push spiritual growth for later in a high school or college student can be modified to fit an adult. Ultimately, the more you practice saving God for later, the better you get at it.
Paul wrote the book of Timothy to encourage his young friend. Timothy was a leader in the church and Paul wanted to remind him of his duties. He was not to get frustrated and give up because people didn’t listen and he wasn’t supposed to go around reminding everyone of his authoritative position. Timothy was told to talk like Christ, behave like Christ, love like Christ, believe like Christ and be pure in thought and deed like Christ. Were you saved at a young age? If the answer is yes, why did God want you to know Him so early in life? If He didn’t expect you to do anything for Him, why not let you live in ignorant bliss until you were fifty and able to act? Young Christians are supposed to be like my toddler. Young Christians are given the truth of salvation so that they can use their natural physical energy, youthful minds, and youthful hearts to accomplish the tasks that God has purposed for them.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
The tasks God has for each of His young believers are varied – some being leadership-type roles and others being effective team players. However, God doesn’t expect obedience only from those who are going to be in the spotlight; He wants obedience from those who play supporting roles too.
When my kids are confronted about not doing something they were supposed to do, their favorite excuse is, “But I was going to!” I have heard those five little words countless times to which I almost always respond, “Okay, but you didn’t.” None of us knows when we will take our last breath but all of us know that the day will come when we do. So will you stand in front of the Father and in reference to your time spent on earth say, “But I was going to…”?
Knowing the Lord at a young age is a gift. Ignoring the gift until you are too old to really enjoy it and benefit from it is a waste!