Youths Who Love the Truth
“HOW will a young man cleanse his path?” asked a Hebrew psalmist thousands of years ago. (Psalm 119:9) This is still a valid question today because young people are faced with many problems in the world. Promiscuous sexual activity has exposed many young people to AIDS, about half of those infected with this terrible disease being between the ages of 15 and 24. Drug abuse also causes many problems, cutting some young lives short. Debased music; violent and immoral films, TV shows, and videos; and pornography on the Internet exert a devastating influence on the young. Therefore, the question asked by the psalmist is very much on the minds of many parents and youths today.
To his own question, the same psalmist provided this answer: “By keeping on guard according to your word.” Certainly, God’s Word, the Bible, contains fine direction for young people, and by following it, many youths are having success in life. (Psalm 119:105) Let us examine some examples of youths who love God and who endeavor to remain spiritually strong in a pleasure-seeking and materialistic world.
They Appreciate Parental Guidance
Jacob Emmanuel was a full-time pioneer minister for some years before serving at the Mexico branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He remembers with appreciation how his love for God’s service was developed: “My parents were the main influence, although some experienced spiritual brothers with whom I have developed friendships have also been very helpful. They motivated me to love the preaching work. Quietly they directed me along the right path; I never felt that they pressured me.”
David, who has already spent several years in the full-time ministry, remembers how it impressed him that his parents began serving as special pioneers when he and his brother were small. When his father died, his mother continued in the special pioneer service. She took care of them in addition to preaching the good news. “They never obligated me to be a pioneer,” says David, “but we enjoyed pioneering so much as a family that the companionship and environment impelled me to do the same.” Regarding the importance of good direction and attention from parents, David says: “Every night, my mother read to us stories from the book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained.* The way that she related them to us helped us to love taking in spiritual food.”
Appreciation for the Meetings
Some youths find it difficult to appreciate Christian meetings. They attend because their parents take them. However, if they keep up their meeting attendance, in time they may come to love the meetings. Consider Alfredo, who began full-time service when he was 11 years old. He admits that when he was about five, he tried to avoid going to the meetings because they made him sleepy but his parents would not allow him to sleep during the meetings. He recalls: “As I grew older, little by little I became more interested in the meetings, especially after I learned to read and write because then I began to comment in my own words.”
Cintia, a 17-year-old girl who serves as a regular pioneer, tells how good association played a major role in her developing a love for God’s service. She says: “A good relationship with the brothers and regular attendance at the meetings have kept me from missing my worldly friends and the activities that are popular with kids, such as going to discotheques. Listening to comments and experiences at the meetings produced in me a desire to give Jehovah all that I have, and I feel that the best thing that I have is my youth. So I decided to use it in his service.”
However, she admits: “There was a time, before I was baptized, when I found it easy to miss meetings, using homework or other school activities as an excuse. I missed several meetings, and this began to affect me spiritually. I began to associate with a boy who did not study the Bible. Thanks to Jehovah, I corrected matters in time.”
A Personal Decision
When Pablo, another youth who is serving Jehovah full-time, is asked what he considers to be the key to developing a love for the truth of God’s Word, he says: “I think there are two things: regular personal study and zeal for the preaching work. I am grateful to my parents for having taught me the truth about Jehovah, and I feel that this is the best thing they could have given me. However, I need to be personally convinced of why I love Jehovah. For that, it is necessary to know ‘the breadth and depth’ of Bible truth. Only in this way do we come to feel a longing for Jehovah’s Word, which builds ‘a burning fire’ within us to speak to others about it. That zeal for the preaching work will keep our appreciation for the truth alive.”—Ephesians 3:18; Jeremiah 20:9.
Jacob Emmanuel, mentioned earlier, also remembers the importance of making a personal choice to serve Jehovah. He says that his parents never insisted on his getting baptized. “I believe that this has been for the best because I see the good results. For example, some youths with whom I associated a lot made the decision to get baptized together. Although that was fine, I could see that some did it out of emotionalism, and shortly thereafter, their zeal for Kingdom activities waned. In my case my parents did not pressure me to make the decision to dedicate myself to Jehovah. It was a personal decision.”
The Role of the Congregation
Some young people have learned the truth of God’s Word on their own, without the help of their parents. It is certainly a challenge under such circumstances to learn to do what is right and to persist in it.
Noé recalls how much the truth benefited him. From a very young age, he was prone to anger and violence. When he began to study the Bible at the age of 14, his temperament began to improve, for which his parents, who were not interested in the Bible at that time, felt very grateful. As Noé progressed spiritually, he wanted to use his life more fully in God’s service. He is now in the full-time ministry.
Similarly, Alejandro began to take an interest in Christian truth when he was very young, even though his parents were not interested in it. Expressing his appreciation for the truth, he says: “I was raised in a traditional Catholic home. But my leanings toward Communistic atheism grew, since the church did not answer the questions that had disturbed me from a very young age. Jehovah’s organization helped me to obtain the knowledge of God. It literally saved my life because if I had not studied the Bible, I would probably have become involved with immorality, alcoholism, or drugs. I might even have become part of some revolutionary group, with grievous consequences.”
How can a youth persist in his search for truth and cling to it without the support of his parents? Obviously, the elders and others in the congregation play a very important role. Noé recalls: “I have never felt alone, as Jehovah has always been very close to me. Also, I have had the support of many loving brothers and sisters who have become my spiritual fathers, mothers, and brothers.” He now serves at Bethel and uses his time in God’s service. Likewise, Alejandro relates: “Something that I will always be grateful for is that I had the blessing of being in a congregation with a body of elders who showed loving interest in me as a person. I am especially grateful because when I began to study the Bible, at the age of 16, the restlessness common to youth also affected me. The families in the congregation never abandoned me. There was always someone to receive me hospitably and share with me not only his home and food but also his heart.” Alejandro has now been in the full-time service for over 13 years.
Some people think that religion is only for older folks. However, many young people have learned Bible truth at an early age and have come to love Jehovah and remain faithful to him. To these youths can be applied David’s words recorded at Psalm 110:3: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. In the splendors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn, you have your company of young men just like dewdrops.”
It is a challenge for young people to learn the truth and stick to it. What a joy to see that many are staying very close to Jehovah’s organization, attending the meetings regularly, and studying the Bible diligently. Doing so, they have been able to cultivate a genuine love for God’s Word and his service!—Psalm 119:15, 16.
Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1958; now out of print.