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“Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”- Proverbs 19:27 (NIV)
I love being a youth pastor. I’m not sure if I have said that before, but even if I have, I will continue to repeat it. There is something about laughing, joking, serving, and pouring my energy into the lives of young people that really ignites something inside of me.
An interesting phenomenon in youth work is listening to or watching other adults with kids.
It is even more interesting to hear them speak about kids when they aren’t around.
In my almost 16 years of doing youth work, a sentence that inevitably is spoken around me is this: “These kids need Jesus.” Then, the follow-up: “They need to have discipline.”
I totally agree with both of the statements, but I wonder how the adults would react if I said the same thing about them?
I often look at my life and realize I need more discipline. I need someone speaking into my life to help me in my walk with Christ.
In the past, I have had a pastoral mentor assisting me in ministry decisions, prayer, and focus. I have also had a close friend, also in youth ministry, whom I regularly speak with about life and how I am handling certain ministry situations. It is healthy for me to seek discipline and guidance in my life not only through friends, but also the Bible.
For some reason, many Christian adults rarely seek guidance and discipline, whether it is from a friend or the Bible. They love book studies and discussion, but when it comes to being held accountable for their words or decisions by a pastor or friend, they draw the spiritual line.
We get into the habit of believing we have heard all the Bible stories and have heard all the sermons, so we don’t need to go deeper. We have reached our limit.
Yet, our kids, they need spiritual discipline now! But, where will they learn it from?
I have heard from some older parents: “I just wish my kid was back in church.”
Many times my mental response is: “Why? So they can be told what to do? Let God do the work of leading them back. What about you? Are you gleaning everything you can from the sermon? Are you seeking guidance on decisions from the pastor? Are you praying regularly with someone? Are you remaining disciplined in your faith?”
I wish I would ask these questions, but I know the response: “Mind your own business”.
When Christ spoke with many of the people of His time, during His ministry, they were older. They were men and women who had lived life and knew the stories of the Old Testament. They didn’t need to hear Him reiterate the old prophecies, but He did and they learned from Him.
When He was twelve speaking to the people in the temple, when His parents left Him behind, they were amazed by His understanding of Scripture and learned something from Him at that time.
It is interesting to me that many Christian people get to a point of feeling like they can’t be taught anymore. They step into a dangerous realm of believing they have heard it all.
By doing that, they lose their ability to remain disciplined in the teachings of Christ and miss out on new insights that God may try to reveal through His word to all of us.
Christ is the Word of knowledge; the One who guides and shows us the way to His Father. The Spirit will continue to reveal the newness of the word regularly.
However, if we become so arrogant in our own understanding and we no longer seek the guidance from the Spirit or the discipline from the Word, we miss out on growth and knowledge that we can pass down to the generation who so desperately needs to know the truth of God’s Word.
May we all continue to grow in our faith and may we not “stray away from the words of knowledge.”
QUESTION: Who do you seek guidance from?