Fleeing Youthful Lusts
Timothy was a young man. Paul knew the danger of young men being overcome by youthful lusts, therefore exhorts Timothy to “Flee also youthful lusts.” (2 Timothy 2:22) We, in much earnestness of heart, likewise exhort you, young reader, flee away from youthful lusts. Keep away from those things that have any power to allure away from God and spiritual exercise. We could tell you of scores of boys and girls, who were once blessedly saved, but who have gone back into the ways of sin, all because they did not keep aloof from those things that tempt to mind fleshly things.
We shall speak of a few of the many alluring things that are calculated to lead the feet of the young Christian away from the true path of life.
Many a young Christian has gone down to defeat because of too much association with sinful young people. This does not mean that we cannot go among them at all, but it does mean that we are to be guarded and never to come down out of our sacred spiritual realm and strike a line of fellowship or affiliation with them. You should go among them as God leads, that you might win them to Christ, but you will need to keep yourself surrounded by a heavenly atmosphere that no spirit of worldliness can penetrate. You are to lift them up. Beware, lest they drag you down.
There is much soul-destroying literature in the world today. That is one reason why we need wholesome literature. Do not read fiction; the cheap, trashy novel is deadly poison to mind and soul. Be sparing even of the reading of the newspaper. It is proper that we know something of what is transpiring in this world in which we live, but there is very much in the newspapers that you should not read. It dwarfs the mind and degenerates the soul. Be very sparing, therefore, of newspaper reading. Too much is a waste of time. Beyond that which is worthy and honorable, present-day history is profitless.
Perhaps more souls have been allured away from right paths by present-day amusements than in any other. There is such a thing as getting such love for God, His Word, and communion with Him that we care but little for any other way in which to spend our time. We willingly admit that there are some recreations and amusements that are harmless and innocent in themselves, but we should have a care lest there be an overindulgence in, and fondness for them. A young lady, speaking of a certain amusement, said, “I am passionately fond of it.” Such is too great a fondness. We should be passionately fond of nothing but God and matters that pertain to His worship and service. No one can have a passionate fondness for any amusement and keep the passion of Christ in his soul.
We cannot name to you just what amusements are innocent and what are not. Circumstances and conditions have much to do with it. I would advise, however, never to attend anything where the rabble of the world are gathered. You are to learn some things from God yourself. Live much in prayer, whenever you find that any amusement in which you may have some participation betimes is lessoning your relish for secret prayer and reading of the Bible, then cease to have any part in such recreation.
The Association of Christians
God has made us social creatures and we should associate together. Our constitution calls for it. But young and old should be careful of the spirit of your associations. Christians can associate together and lose spirituality by the manner or spirit in which they have been associated. They can also associate together in such a manner as to be greatly benefited in a spiritual way by the association. But it is very easy for young people to gain a greater love for the association of each other than they have for communion with God. The religious meetings of young people can very easily become a mere social gathering rather than a religious spiritual service. If they are a little watchful they can determine which they enjoy most, the service itself, or the chatting together after the religious service is dismissed.
We are told in the Book that they that cover their sins shall not prosper (Proverbs 28:13). There are some sins of youth that are done in secret. These secret sins have great power over the youth of today. Flee, young man and woman, in horror, from the first suggestion of the tempter. Keep clean. The Psalm-writer in old age prayed, “Remember not the sins of my youth… O LORD.” (Psalm 25:7) He referred to these secret sins of his life. He looked back, in his declining years, with regret upon those sins of his youth. Save yourselves, young people, of those regrets that will mar the peace of those days when your sun of life is sinking low. Keep your thoughts pure, your acts holy in the days of your youth. Follow after temperance, faith, meekness, purity, and righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11). Walk close with God that you may have power over the flesh. We beseech you to heed this advice.