Being a parent and a grandparent, I know the challenges of raising children in today’s world. So many ways exist for young people to end up wrong. As parents, we can’t be with our children all the time to try and keep them straight. With all the digital technology and social media sites out there, we can’t possibly monitor everything our children are doing.
The psalmist asks a question that’s relevant to us today. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” (Psalm 119:9a). Note that the psalmist is talking specifically about youths keeping their way pure. The very fact that he poses the question underscores this as a challenging area. And the psalmist raised this question over 2000 years ago. The area he focuses on is of even more concern today.
Our teens and young adults feel heavy peer pressure to fit in. This is true even for youths being raised in a Christian home. They don’t want to be viewed as odd or square. They don’t want their classmates and friends making fun of them. Oftentimes, our children are willing to compromise on what they know to be right just to fit in. Sometimes they are more interested in pleasing their friends than they are in pleasing their parents—or God.
So what’s the answer to the psalmist’s question? “By keeping it according to Your word,” he says (verse 9b). That is, in order for a young man [or a young woman] to keep his way pure, he must keep it in accordance with the Word of God. It is the only reliable guide to the truth and to true life. There is no comparable alternative.
The psalmist writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So we know that what he presents as the way for a young man to keep his way pure is right. On the other hand, his answer also underscores why we have a growing problem with our teens and young adults getting off course. Millennials are attending church less these days. Approximately one in four of them are unaffiliated with any religious body. That means the lives of our teens and young adults are being increasingly less influenced by the Word of God.
It should be abundantly clear that the Word of God must be front and center in the youth ministries in the Christian church. Entertainment and social gatherings at church may get more youths to attend. But it’s the Word of God they need to become anchored in amidst the tide of immorality they confront daily. Similarly, the Word of must have a relevant place in our home, if our children are to stay on the right road.
[‘Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)]
Copyright © 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.