By Oyelakin Gbolahan Pearl
When I was growing up, I had a lot of struggles within me, especially in the area of relating with people. Although, I was very religious and attended both Sunbeam Services and Sunday School Classes being raised in a Christian home. I participated in different categories of Bible Competitions and even represented my local assemble at different levels in the State. Yet, my life was not in congruence with the definition of a Christian. Though, I was not engaged in any major teenage delinquencies; but I was more than convinced that my life was not just right with God. Perhaps, that was the trendy in my environment, a situation where you become Churchy without a genuine encounter with Jesus Christ.
We are all products of our environment. The society and environment where we live has a way of shaping us in its mould. Today, we find ourselves in a world of depravity. We live in a degenerated and perverse society that is full of ungodly traits and misbehaviours. A condition that makes the norm unacceptable and abnormal acts most acceptable. Many youths have been innocently shaped into the mould of discomfort, regrettable future and irreparable loses of life due to the wrong values and unthinkable virtues they had imbibed and the society has forcefully inculcated in them.
As such is the case of Solomon. Little wonder his serial warnings and specific instructions as written in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
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In my few decades of sojourn on earth, I have carefully seen how people trade their destinies for vanities of life; give up their glory to please and honour their worries; abandon that which is worthwhile and passionately pursue ephemeral things that has no eternal value. They chase after money, men or women for sex (prostitution). They chase after gold, positions, drinking and wining and other material things. They expend all their youthful exuberance on selfish lusts and lustful cravings thereby engage in different abominable and unimaginable acts and social vices.
In the quest for wisdom, knowledge, wealth, pleasure and fame all of which are limited to this perverse world; so many youths have lost their essence. Many lives have been severely battered, while lofty dreams and great visions were irretrievably shattered
Consequently, they get corrupted and exchange their happiness and joy for sorrow, pains and a life full of regrets. Many youths have lost their wombs in due cause, some lost their sexual organs, while others some part of other major parts of their bodies. Some had narrowly escaped the touch of the flames of (premature) death only by providence while others lost their lives.
Amidst all these challenges we face, we have a chance to stand and be virtuous. We have a choice to make to be different and uphold righteousness. This is our higher calling – “to be holy as our Lord God is Holy”. 1 Peter 1:15-16.
God has a pattern of separating the virtuous youth, use them for His purpose and make them examples for others to emulate.
What are the virtues to seek after and build upon as you grow towards a fulfilled life?
1. Fear of God & Obedience – In all things, fear God deep down in your heart and absolutely obey Him. Let this be your daily motto. These two virtues are inseparable. It is impossible to fear God and not obey Him and vice versa. Ecclesiastes 12:13.
2. Wisdom – It is necessary for doing the right thing at the right time for a right reason. Otherwise, you are no better than a coward. Proverbs 1:7; 4:7
3. Holiness/Chastity – No man can see God without Holiness and we cannot be Holy except we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps and conducts daily. Hebrews 12:14.
4. Faith – It is most expedient to put absolute trust in God. Regardless of the situation, times and seasons; only God is unchanging. You can only relate with Him based on faith. Hebrews 11:6.
5. Love – Love is the working power of faith. Galatians 5:6. We are commissioned with a mandate to love God and equally love all men as ourselves. Whoever loves God will always choose to totally obey Him. John 14:21; 15:10.
The list is endless. Consider the fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23. It must be noted that, these virtues are not automated by self. You need the Holy Spirit to work in your life in other to achieve this. Therefore, I earnestly urge you to live by the Spirit and walk in step with Him. Let Him guide you daily in divine paths. Galatians 5:25.
Our society, our country and the world we live in can only be better and the hope of a change will be actualized if we have more virtuous youths. The need for us to choose to be virtuous is pertinent to not just Christianity, but becoming relevant in the coalescent world that is fused with both good and bad/evil, and right and wrong.
You need to rise up today and SAY NO to ungodliness, NO to worldly passions and live a spirit-controlled, upright and godly life in this present age with a hope of reigning with Jesus Christ when He returns. Titus 2:11-15. His abundant great grace is sufficient for you.
"Finally, beloved ones, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things....keep putting into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:7-9.