One of the most vibrant churches I have ever ministered to was a “Youth Church” in Kuching, Sarawak. The building was jam packed with youth who were hungry for God. They stood to worship and sat on the floor to hear my teaching. That night was special, not just because of the response of the youth and Unistudents, but because of the reaction of the leaders as well. The things I shared were eye-opening and answered questions that had defied solution.
One of the key issues I like to point out to youth is that of “insecurity”. In the transition from child to adult most Western youth are left without sufficient clarity and direction to bring them through their insecurities. Insecurity, in turn, makes people vulnerable.
If a young man is insecure about his arrival at manhood then he can be manipulated. An insecure young man can be led astray into various actions which he is told will “prove” his manhood. He may succumb to social values, peer values or the expectations of those who have his attention.
Similarly a young woman may be told that she has to attract male attention to prove her womanhood. This sets her up for moral danger and sells her short of her divine destiny.
Much of Western culture promotes insecurity, in order to exploit the vulnerable. If a young man is content in his appearance, course of action, selfworth, career path and so on, then he will only acquire those things he needs to pursue that path.
But if the culture can make him insecure about his looks he can be sold just about anything from fashion clothes to hair gel and acne lotions. If he is made to feel insecure about his ability to attract female attention, then he falls prey to a whole bunch of products and services which marketers want him to buy.
“Insecurity” oils the wheels of Western marketing. And for people who are trying to find their feet in a new dimension of life, that of adulthood, insecurity is an area of ready exploitation.
So, what is the solution? Finding a source of meaning and direction from God and parents is a fantastic way to be immune from the demands of the culture, peer-group and marketing machinery.
When a young man or woman is committed to fulfilling God’s will in their life, despite the cost and only for God’s approval, not man’s, they are liberated from slavery to insecurity and from exploitation and manipulation by the culture at large.
So, how does the devil set young people up for insecurity, where they can’t be protected through faith in God or by their parents? You should be able to work that one out yourself. It’s “rebellion”!
As each child grows they are given ample opportunity to be disappointed with their parents and to resent the expectations and limitations those parents impose. When a child succumbs to independence, resentment or rebellion they are successfully severed from the protection and direction that their parents provide.
So then, when they reach the season of change and insecurity strikes, they do not have the anchor which God provided for them. They will have a weak and possibly broken relationship with their parents. They will be trapped by pride, self-will and sin, and not be able to humble themselves and accept advice and direction from their parents.
Oh, and the other thing that goes hand in hand with that is when the child looks to their peers for approval, rather than their parents. When the peers at school or at play dictate the values, and the parents object, the child must choose whether to honour the parents or to break God’s law and honour the peer-group instead. When the child chooses to break the fifth commandment, that they are to obey their parents, that child becomes a slave to the sin of rebellion. You see, you become enslaved by the sins you serve (see John 8:34 and Romans 6:16).
Most Western young people have no escape from their insecurities and the manipulations of the world. The source of their identity, through their parents, has been cut off and they have sold their soul to the approval of their peers, which are the mirror of the culture.
What do you do about it? I’m glad you asked. You humble yourself. You repent. You ask God to forgive you for breaking His Commandment about honouring your parents (Ephesians 6:2). You commit yourself to God, to live for Him, as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). You then break from the demands of the culture, revoking your previous commitment to seek people’s approval. Then you seek God, read the Bible and find out from godly people, what it is that God has for you. As you live for Him, not yourself or your culture, you will be able to throw off the cultural demands and finally be yourself.
There is a pretty exciting world of adulthood waiting for today’s young people. My heart is that they find that world, in wholeness and freedom from every compromise and slavery, so they can live the wonder of impacting their world for God’s Kingdom.