Our enemy says, “Youth for pleasure, middle age for business, old age for religion.”
The Bible says, “Youth, middle age, and old age for your Creator.”
But as it’s especially in our youth that we are most inclined (determined?) to forget our Creator, it’s especially in these years that we must work to remember our Creator (Ecc.12:1). Remember that He made you, that He provides for you, that He cares for you, that He watches you, that He controls you; and remember that He can save you too. That’s a lot to remember, but it’s much easier to start memorizing when we are young!
1. Energetic years
However, that’s not the only reason why God commands us to remember our Creator in our young years. It’s also because these are our most energetic years.
Why wait until we are pegging out, until we are running down, until our gas is almost empty, before serving our Creator? The God who made us deserves our most active and healthy years: our bodies are strong and muscular (well kind of), our minds are sharp and clear, our senses are receptive and keen and sensitive, our enthusiasm is bright and bushy, our wills are steely and determined. Remember Him in your energetic years.
2. Sensitive years
Why do far more of us become Christians in our youth than in our middle or old age? It’s because youthful years are sensitive years. Without giving up our belief in “Total Depravity” we can say that it’s “easier” to believe and repent when we are younger. It’s never easy, but it’s easier. And it’s easier because as we get older our heart is hardened thicker, our conscience is seared number, our sins root deeper, our deadness becomes deader.
Use youthful sensitivity and receptivity to remember your Creator before the evil days of callous indifference set in.
3. Teachable years
We learn more in our youth than in any other period of life. That’s true in all subjects, but especially true in religious instruction. All the Christians I’ve met who were converted to Christ late in life have expressed huge regrets about how little they know and how little they can now learn. I encourage them to value and use whatever time the Lord gives them, but they often feel they have to study twice as hard to learn half as well.
4. Dangerous years
Young years are minefield years: hormones, peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, testosterone, etc. Few navigate these years without blowing up here and there. Dangers abound on every side – and on the inside. How many “first” temptations become “last” temptations! How much we need our Creator to keep us and carry us through this battlefield.
Remember to remember
Let me then give you some helps to remember your Creator during these best of years (and “worst” of years):
- BE PERSUADED THAT YOU HAVE A CREATOR: Get well grounded in a literal understanding of Genesis 1-2 and shun all evolutionary influences.
- GET TO KNOW YOUR CREATOR: Study his Word using sermons, commentaries, and good books. But also study his World using microscopes and telescopes and any other instruments he gives.
- JOIN WITH YOUR CREATOR’S FRIENDS: Build friendships with other creatures that love to remember and respect their Creator.
- FOLLOW YOUR CREATOR’S ORDER: He set and gave the pattern of six days work followed by one day of rest for contemplation of His Works.
- ASK FOR YOUR CREATOR’S SALVATION: Even if your rejection of your Creator has broken you in pieces, he’s willing to re-create you in his image.
And while we’re on the subject of salvation, I don’t want older readers to be discouraged. Compared to the eons of eternity, you are still in your “youth.” It’s not too late to remember Him, before these evil days come even nearer.
Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. This article first appeared on his blog HeadHeartHand.org and is reprinted here with permission.