Youths—Are You on the Road to Real Success?
OVER a century ago an American writer, R. W. Emerson, gave his prescription for youths to achieve success. He advised: “Hitch your wagon to a star.” Emerson meant that youths should strive to achieve lofty goals. But for a youngster to be successful, he must assert himself by means of disciplined training toward such a goal.
Youths, are you making proper plans now for the future? It will be wise to set noble goals and be determined to achieve them.
Youth is a time when there is a budding forth of life. It is a time of comparative freedom from burdensome responsibilities; a time of looking forward to gaining greater joys and happiness. Young lads and maidens are full of energy and health, with happy prospects.
Regrettably, a large segment of youth today fails to be committed to lofty goals in life. Instead, in a vain grasp for independence and freedom from responsibilities, many seek a way out through drugs, promiscuous sex and other follies. It is important, though, to heed the advice: “God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Gal. 6:7.
KEEP GOD IN YOUR GOALS
The Bible says: “Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood [also womanhood], and walk in the ways of your heart and in the things seen by your eyes.” (Eccl. 11:9a) So Jehovah the Creator wants youths to enjoy life. He does not take a negative view of youthful interests and what appeals to the desires of young hearts and eyes. For their part, young persons need to remember that they are accountable to God for their actions.
The Scriptures go on to say: “But know that on account of all these [the course of life you choose to pursue] the true God will bring you into judgment. So remove vexation from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh.” (Eccl. 11:9b, 10a) Though allowing youths freedom of choice, the Most High will not shield them from the bitter consequences of pursuing a wrong course.
The same Bible writer adds: “For youth and the prime of life are vanity.” (Eccl. 11:10b) Why so? For one thing, a person obviously does not remain young forever. Even persons in the prime of life get sick and die. The youth who ignores this may fail to make wise use of what he has, dissipating his physical energies and capabilities in a way of life that can make his adult years more difficult.
In view of this, what should young people do? The Bible states: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood.” (Eccl. 12:1) Such continuous holding of God in memory will promote fine conduct and solidify a youth’s relationship with Jehovah throughout his younger years.
THE “YOKE” OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP
The Bible indicates that youths need to channel their energies toward a wise life objective. Otherwise, such powers will eventually be dissipated with no worthwhile goals being achieved.
Jesus encouraged downtrodden individuals: “Take my yoke upon you and become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matt. 11:29, 30) Is it not an inestimable privilege to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What better way is there to spend one’s youthful years? But this requires that a person take the serious step of Christian baptism. Only then can a person view himself as one of Jesus’ “disciples.”
GETTING NEEDED TRAINING
When young, Jesus was trained as a carpenter by his foster-father, Joseph. (Mark 6:3) So, today, Christian youths submit themselves profitably to a period of basic education. This means accepting secular education that will equip them for supporting themselves during adult years.
Christians have often found it advisable to take advantage of standard secular training available where they live. In America a high-school education is frequently of practical value.
Besides basic studies, such as mathematics, history and the language of the country where one resides, many schools offer courses in fields such as the use of tools and machinery, carpentry, electricity, auto mechanics, and printing. Girls can pursue domestic studies, typing and other secretarial skills, opportunities as medical assistants or other interesting and practical fields of work now open to women.
THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE
Most young people reach a turning point during the closing years of high school. Many options open up to them at that time.
At such a turning point, it is well for youngsters to decide what they will do with regard to serving Jehovah. The closing years of such education furnish a fine opportunity for learning skills that can lead to employment that permits plenty of time for preaching and disciple-making—the work that Jesus did.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
“SOWING WITH A VIEW TO THE SPIRIT”
Youths, is your future being built around God’s kingdom, or around worldly interests? These opposite goals produce opposite outcomes. (1 John 2:15-17) Jesus showed clearly that humans cannot serve two masters. (Matt. 6:24) Wise youths set their hearts on Jehovah God. They continue strengthening their personal relationship with God. Christian youths not only preach “this good news of the kingdom” regularly, but also obey the Biblical counsel: “Do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”—Heb. 13:16; compare James 1:26, 27.
Sinful tendencies incline all humans toward selfishness and materialistic desires. Youths need constantly to combat what the Bible describes as “the desires incidental to youth.” (2 Tim. 2:22) Many have committed unwise ‘sins of youth’ for which, years later, there is regret.—Ps. 25:7.
Youths, determine to avoid wrongdoing that can ruin your future! Those who love to ‘sow wild oats’ with promiscuous sex, drug abuse and other types of loose living frequently reap tragic consequences in later years. By hard experiences they learn the truthfulness of the inspired declaration: “He who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh.”—Gal. 6:8a.
Is it not better to seek a good relationship with God and the Christian congregation? In this way you will experience joyfully that “he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.”—Gal. 6:8b.
Youths who believe these Scriptural truths will shun all situations that can lead to uncleanness or fornication. (1 Cor. 6:18) Youngsters who wish to please God must seek out associations with people who will strengthen them in godly conduct. “The ear that is listening to the reproof of life lodges right in among wise people.” (Prov. 15:31) Do you seek out association with persons who manifest godly wisdom? (See James 3:17, 18.) God’s Word declares: “He that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.” (Prov. 13:20) Does your life course show that you believe that?
God-fearing youths obey the Scriptural commands: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities.” (Rom. 13:1) “Let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a busybody in other people’s matters.” (1 Pet. 4:15) Subjection to governmental “superior authorities” means being law-abiding in every way, including the observance of all traffic laws.
Does your life harmonize with such guidelines from the Word of God? Youths who are on the road to real success will always heed the inspired advice: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.”—1 Cor. 10:31.