At a recent Youth Retreat many youth responded for prayer. The first person I went to pray for was one of the young men. I immediately sensed a strong impression that he was called to a “Separated Life”. I sensed that he was called to such high and holy things that God wanted him to avoid all contamination that could spoil his future destiny.
I prayed with him and encouraged him to receive my exhortation as from the Lord that he was to protect his heart and mind from grimy things of this world that would spoil the high destiny on his life.
As I stepped to pray for the next young man in line I had exactly the same impression. He too was to protect his life from contamination and from things that would take from him the glory and wonder of what God had for him.
At that point I realised that this was not only a message for individual lives, but a calling across a generation of young men and women, called by God to live a separated life and distance themselves from the tacky and dishonouring things of this world in the life they would otherwise be drawn into.
Living a ‘separated life’ was so much a part of God’s chosen people in history that Moses made provision for a vow to be taken by a person to live for a time under special restraint, set aside to seek God and worship Him. This was the Nazarite vow.
The Nazarite vow meant that no alcohol was to be consumed and the hair was not to be cut for the duration of the vow. After the time set aside for special devotion was completed the person could cut their hair and drink wine and eat grapes again.
Samson and John
Two famous Nazarites in the Bible are Samson and John the Baptist. Both were set apart for God before they were born. They lived their whole life under the Nazarite vow. Their whole lives were separated for God’s purposes.
When Samson’s parents were visited by an angel and told they would have a son the mother was warned not even to eat grapes, let alone drink wine while she was carrying the baby. Not only was the boy to be separated from wine and grapes, he was even to be protected from them while in his mother’s womb.
John the Baptist’s birth was also announced before he was conceived and he was dedicated for God’s calling from that very moment.
Several years ago I hosted a series of Impartation meetings in which a ministry team prayed for those who waiting on the Lord. The ministry team members sought to hear from God and share a personal word of encouragement or Biblical truth that would be beneficial to those on the prayer line.
One church I visited I had never ministered in before, so all of those who responded were unknown to me. As I stood before a young woman who would have been in her high school years I had a fleeting impression of a beautiful flower meant to bloom for the Prince. The image had a fairy tale quality of a Prince riding his horse through the forest and coming across the beautiful blossom and choosing it for himself.
However in that fleeting moment I also sensed that there was a bear nearby in the forest who was simply stomping around and messing things up. My heart went out to the young lady that the Lord wanted to protect that which was beautiful and precious in her life from the ignorant and selfish bear that would simply crush and mangle her.
I prayed earnestly for her protection.
Many at Risk
What troubled me that night was that as I went on to pray for the mixed crowd of men and women, I found that each time I came to pray for one of the young ladies I had the same sense of their danger. I spoke with my wife about it later, sensing that there was a high level of moral danger for today’s youth. They were in danger of being trampled on and having all that is precious in them crumpled.
The Prince was not going to find their beauty and be delighted with them once they had been trodden under foot by the careless bear.
I became concerned for those Christian youth who consume the world’s messages about who they are and what they are to expect in life. They are being lied to so they can be trampled on and miss out on the blessedness which God has for them.
There are many reasons to live a ‘separated life’ and one of them is to be protected. Dads and mums don’t have the same sense for protecting their children and youth today as we saw in past generations. Family break-up contributes to that, but so too does the intimidation pushed at parents who want to hold to healthy standards and who believe they have a responsibility to protect and guide their children into adulthood.
There is a calling on today’s youth. God intends to do amazing things in the earth in the coming decades and young Christians today will be at the vanguard of that awesome work. However, those who have become entangled, broken, polluted, distracted and mired by the world will not be in the place of mighty men and women of God when the time comes for them.
Call To Separation
It has never been easier to be entangled and damaged. The internet, mobile phones, social networks, ubiquitous media messages, self-serving people in every place you turn, and the lax social norms of today combine with the evil in man’s hearts to make it tough for those who don’t take care.
Unless you are choosing to live a separated life you will almost certainly be damaged by compromise and much more.
So hear the Word of the Lord to your heart. Come out from among them and be separate. Don’t do it because you think you’re special. Do it because Jesus IS special. God’s call on your life and the destiny He has for you in His kingdom are far more precious than all the trinkets and shallow amusements that will tempt you this way and that.
I don’t promise you any special joy and spiritual experience. It’s not about you and what you get from doing this or that. It’s all about Him. It’s about God being God in your life. It’s about you humbling yourself and submitting to God.
Your part in the years ahead may be hard and unrewarding in human terms. This is no calling to a party or a glory ride. I call you to set yourself apart for the Master’s use as something dedicated to Him. It’s an act of worship. It’s your reasonable service.
And it’s the best thing you can possibly do with your life.