Making Decisions—A Life Skill
Every youth needs to cultivate decision. A divided state of the will is a snare, and has been the cause of ruin to many.
In Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” there is a character called Pliable. Youth, shun this character. Those represented by it are very accommodating but they are as a reed shaken by the wind. They possess no will power. Be firm, else you will find your house—your character—built upon a sandy foundation.
Those who would keep in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord, must not be swayed in matters of conscience. They must show moral decision, and must not be afraid of being thought singular.
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Many there are who are changed by every current. They wait to hear what someone else thinks, and his opinion is often accepted as altogether true. They do not say to the Lord, “Lord, I cannot make any decision until I know thy will.” If these youth would lean wholly upon God, they would grow strong in his strength.
Be an Individual
We are not to fashion ourselves by the world’s criterion or after the world’s type. “Dare to be a Daniel; dare to stand alone.” Thus, as did Moses, you will endure as seeing him who is invisible. A cowardly and silent reserve before evil associates, makes you one with them.
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Have courage to do the right. Possess an individuality of your own. If you would succeed in anything that is elevating and ennobling, you must cultivate firmness for the right.
Jesus has revealed to you your value by the price he has paid for your redemption. Your salvation has been purchased with agony and blood. You have everything in your favor. Everything has been done that God could do. In giving Jesus to be the propitiation for your sins, God gave you power to resist and to overcome evil.
You can be resolute if you will. It will require higher help than any human friend can give you, but that help is promised, if you yourself will consent to form new habits. This will require effort on your part, persistent effort; for if Satan sees you taking a step decidedly for Christ, he will employ every ingenious method to deceive and ruin you. But Christ has provided a refuge for the weak and tempted. His angels will help, shield, and guide every trusting soul.
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You are a Child of God
You have within your reach more than finite possibilities. A man, as God applied the term, is a son of God. “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” It is your privilege to turn away from that which is cheap and inferior, and rise to a high standard, —to be respected by men and beloved by God.
The religious work which the Lord gives to young men, and to men of all ages, shows his respect for them as his children. He gives them the work of self-government. He calls them to be sharers with him in the great work of redemption and uplifting. As a father takes his son into partnership in his business, so the Lord takes his children into partnership with himself. We are made laborers together with God. Jesus says, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Would you not rather choose to be a child of God than a servant of Satan and sin, having your name registered as an enemy of Christ?
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Young men and women need more of the grace of Christ, that they may bring the principles of Christianity into the daily life. The preparation for Christ’s coming is a preparation made through Christ for the exercise of our highest qualities. It is the privilege of every youth to make of his character a beautiful structure. But there is a positive need of keeping close to Jesus. He is our strength and efficiency and power. We cannot depend on self for one moment.
Young men and young women, exercise your ability with faithfulness, generously imparting the light that God gives you. Study how best to give to others peace, and light, and truth, and the many rich blessings of heaven. Constantly improve. Keep reaching higher and still higher. It is the ability to put to the tax the powers of mind and body, ever keeping eternal realities in view, that is of value now. Seek the Lord most earnestly, that you may become more and more refined, more spiritually cultured.
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However large, however small, your talents, remember that what you have is yours only in trust. Thus God is testing you, giving you opportunity to prove yourself true. To him you are indebted for all your capabilities. To him belong your powers of body, mind, and soul, and for him these powers are to be used. Your time, your influence, your capabilities, your skill, —all must be accounted for to him who gives all. He uses his gifts best who seeks by earnest endeavor to carry out the Lord’s great plan for the uplifting of humanity. Persevere in the work that you have begun, until you gain victory after victory. Educate yourselves for a purpose. Keep in view the highest standard that you may accomplish greater and still greater good, thus reflecting the glory of God.