The Strength of Youth: Asset or Liability?

This article was written by Rev. Rodney Miersma and published in the May 1, 1982 issue of the Standard Bearer.

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A word of explanation concerning the title of this article is first in order. All the articles in this section of the Standard Bearer are under the theme "The Strength of Youth," referring to the spiritual strength of the young people in the church of Christ. However, we can also speak of physical strength, referring not only to the body of the young man as he flexes his muscles, but also to the beauty of the young woman, and to one’s keen mind and particular talents and abilities. It is this physical strength of youth that is referred to in the title of this article with the express purpose of addressing the young people with the question, “Does your physical strength stand in the way of your spiritual strength? Is it a stepping stone or a stumbling block? Asset or liability?” Paradoxical as it may sound, it is nevertheless true that often our strength is our weakness. 

What is meant by this? This, that as one in youth begins to become aware of his physical strength, or the development of a beautiful body, as well as becoming aware of one’s abilities or talents, he will begin to glory in them, boast in them, and trust in them, all of which leads away from God who is the giver of all these virtues and to whose praise they must be used. Thus, for the youth these physical assets or virtues become all too often spiritual liabilities. This need not be, but is very often the case due to the old man of sin within each of us. 

Let me try to illustrate for a moment. Is it not true that often the young man will trust in his physical strength and mental acumen without seeking the Lord to direct these gifts in the proper way? Is it not true that often the young woman uses her physical beauty as the only means to direct the attention of the young man to her as if this were the only thing that mattered? Inward, spiritual virtue is disregarded, as well as prayer, for they are of no benefit to the one that trusts in herself. Young people go forth as if they have the answers to all the problems of the world. Parents, teachers, ministers, and the civil authorities are all behind the times, with little understanding of the age of today and its needs. 

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