by Nancy Campbell, Above Rubies
"Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel... to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers." 2 Chronicles 34:33
While Josiah reigned as king of Israel, the whole nation of Judah did not depart from following the Lord. What a marvelous testimony for the leader of the nation. This was not the testimony of an older experienced man, but of a young man.
2 Chronicles 34:2-3 tells us, "He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father." Josiah was only 16 years old when he began to seek the Lord with all his heart. This is the most opportune time for young people to seek God--the time when they are filled with energy, passion and vision. The greatest way they can exert this energy is toward God and His kingdom.
ZEALOUSLY SEEKING GOD
How do we get our young people to seek God? We can't make them do it. No law can make them do it. It has to come from their heart. Therefore, how can we influence their hearts?
1. Inspire them to a life of serving God and others. Encourage them to get involved with missions and helping the needy. A selfish mentality where everything revolves around "me" is a destructive attitude.
2. Make sure they are raised on the Word of God. The best way is to have Family Devotions together every morning and every evening. The Word of God has power to change their lives and draw them closer to the Lord. Give God opportunity to work in their hearts by the daily filling of His Living Word. Make sure this is not done in legality, but with vitality, asking questions and promoting discussion.
3. Make sure that prayer is second nature to them. This will happen as they pray out loud each day at Family Devotions. Encourage them to have their own daily "Quiet Time."
4. Train them in character. Don't allow petty attitudes and self-pity trips. Don't allow grumbling and complaining. Prepare them to be able to face all situations in life, to minister equally to the poor and to the rich. They cannot become princes and princesses without training. Everyone born of royalty is consistently, systematically and extensively trained for kingship and queenship. They will not live like children of the King of kings without our faithful training.
5. Pray for them. Our greatest weapon is prayer. When we pray, the Holy Spirit will work in their lives in answer to our earnest and fervent prayers. Prayer was our greatest weapon as we raised our teenagers.
It saddens me to see so many so-called "Christian" young people today who are taken up with the worldly pursuits of this life. Instead of seeking God and shining with the glory of God, they are more interested in looking at guys, talking immaturely with their friends, chewing gum* and dressing immodestly. "Cleavage" seems to be "in" in the church today, with adult women as well as teenage girls. Where is the example for our youth? I hardly know where to look when I am amongst church people. What about young guys and men who must be tempted to lust. Do young ladies and women not realize that this relegates them to the "common" instead of belonging to royalty--princes and princesses of the King of kings?
A DIFFERENT SPIRIT
It's time to earnestly cry out to God for our young people. Pray they will not be interested in living the status quo life of the other young people around them, but who, like Caleb, will have a different spirit than everyone else. I love the description of Caleb in Numbers 14:24, "But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully him will I bring into the land... and his seed shall possess it."
When young people become filled with the zeal of God they can change a nation. That's what Josiah did. 2 Chronicles 34:3 continues, "And in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem..." Josiah was now 20 years of age, still a young man. At this age he began to clean up the nation. He rose up in boldness to expose the works of darkness. He was not only concerned about the evil, but he did something about it. He purged the land of evil, tore down the altars of Baal, chopped down the incense altars, broke them in pieces, ground them to powder and scattered them. He burned the bones of the priests of Baal and tore down the Asherim altars and beat them to powder. This was radical stuff! There was no half-heartedness here but absolute passion and zeal for the Lord. Let's pray for a nation of young people with this passion.
IN ALL THE EARTH
In the last devotion we talked about Psalm 45:16, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Do you notice that we are training princes for all the earth? We are getting them ready to go out into the nation and into the countries of the world to take the gospel; to rise up against evil and deception and do something about it! These young people are not the "ordinary" who try to fit in with the "in" crowd. No, they are princes and princesses, living like royalty as they truly represent the King of kings.
* Please, don't get too upset with me. Of course, there is nothing biblically wrong with chewing gum. However, I personally feel that it is not dignified as a subject of the King of kings. Plus, I think it is rather rude to talk to people while chewing. (I agree with Nancy. --Lanita)
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
Above Rubies, www.aboverubies.org
"Father, please help me to prepare children who will seek after you with all their hearts and be zealous for God. Amen."
I will not give up my vision of training children who will stand strong against evil and take action against it!