A Voice from the Past Speaking to Young Men

Recently, I was exposed to J.C. Ryle’s works. Initially, I didn’t think much, but as I read I find his work to be relevant and convicting. Listen to his words regarding young men in the church:

Let us ask any faithful minister of the gospel, and note what he will tell us. How many unmarried young people can he remember who come to the Lord’s Supper? Who are the most backward about the doctrines of salvation, the most irregular about Sunday services, the most difficult to draw to weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings, the most inattentive to whatever is being preached? Which part of his congregation fills him with the most anxiety? Who are the Reubens for whom he has the deepest “searchings of heart”? Who in his flock are the hardest to manage, who require the most frequent warnings and rebukes, who cause him the greatest uneasiness and sorrow, who keep him most constantly in fear for their souls, and seem the most hopeless? Depend on it, his answer will always be, “The Young Men.”[1]

These thoughts from a man who lived over 100 years ago are extremely relevant for today. No matter the generation, there are always worldly distractions that keep boys from turning into biblical men. My concern here is not with those who are professing unbelief. My actual concern is with those who identify themselves as Bible believing Christians.

It is a dishonor to Christ and the gospel for young men (who I would consider ~35 and under) to squander their life on worldly distractions (e.g., video games, social media, streaming media, etc.). God allows for Christian liberty, but he does not call you to abuse your Christian liberty. I want to encourage Christian men to be aware of these temptations and to fight them with zeal and fervor.

Believing men should be identified as godly individuals. They ought to be men of the Word, strong in doctrine. They ought to be the self-sacrificing, giving, serving, and loving. They ought to be the prayerful, humble, and dependent upon God. They ought to be the zealous for evangelism and discipleship, for preaching and teaching, for ministry and the edification the saints. Where are these young men?

I am praying that God would raise up young men for the church today. If you are a young man, I think the above paragraph can become a list of virtues to grow in:

  • Attend church regularly
  • Learn good doctrine
  • Faithfully serve as a local church member
  • Begin habits that characterize you as a man of prayer (e.g., go to prayer meeting, pray with others)
  • Listen to the preaching of God’s word (be attentive, take notes, reflect, and share)
  • Obey the elders (be useful for service, learn, observe, and encourage)
  • Be humble, love and serve others above yourself

 

[1] J.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men


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