Sorting through a few files recently, I came across this piece I wrote right back in 2008. I think it’s been touched up a time or two, but it’s been a long time since I’ve messed with it. Without further ado, I present: “Get Off the Ship!”
This is a desperate plea to the Christian youth of today, from the Christian youth who anguish for this wandering generation.
(*Note: for the duration of this post, ” ‘Christian’ youth” implies the mainstream church-going high school and college students who may have heard God’s Truth but have let it slide to the very bottom of priorities.)
We try so hard to be “cool”, to “fit in”, to be recognized as something that we are not…..why? To what end? How will those really spiffy $95 shoes or those designer low-slung jeans be affecting your life 15 years from now? How would studying God’s word intently and developing the character of Christ affect your life 15 years from now? Oh, my people! You could be my closest brothers and sisters…we could spur each other on to good works…we could work together to bring glory to Our Lord!
Instead…what has transpired? We have become, at best, civil. At other times, antipathy is a closer word for our relationship than brotherhood and sisterhood. You have strived to be like the world, seduced by lies. You say: “I will be more and more like the world and of the world so that people will want to be like Christ.”
You reason that, if you are around people and “just like them”, they will accept Christianity, right? And YOU get to keep a good reputation and popularity. Well, they might accept YOUR brand of Christianity, but a world-saturated, self-focused, God-minimizing religion is certainly not Christ’s brand of Christianity. My dear brethren, you have assimilated so far into the darkness that your candle sputters, and should the wind of the cold, dark world rise any stronger, you will snuff out.
“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Your intimacy with the world and her wiles has blurred the differences between the Church and the world, so that those who are lost cannot see a reason to convert; after all, since Christians are “just like me” and the rest of the world, why would it matter if I started wearing a cross around my neck or went to a “youth group”?
Please understand that I do not wish to condemn; I myself have foolishly “exchanged the truth of God for a lie”. (Rom. 1:25) I have been on the same sinking ship on which you are on. I would have gone down to the very depths of the abyss (and deservedly so) had not The Captain taken me by the hand and helped me into the lifeboat to take me to the shore where His safehouse is. This Captain did not choose me to join the lifeboat because I merited it by my actions or words or attitudes. Rather, if such were the case, I would be among the last to be offered help. But He loves in a way beyond our comprehension.
He holds out His nail-scarred hands, inviting, begging, pleading you to step aboard the lifeboat and forsake the ship.
The ship is already half-submerged….you will not survive. You cannot jump and swim to shore on your own, for the way is too far, the water too cold, your own strength too inadequate. Please, I beseech you! See what is important! Do not worry about being accepted by the world and its foolish fads. Do not continue procrastinating God, saying, “After I make sure that I’ve gotten to do what I want to do, I’ll ‘get serious’ and seek Jesus.” Stop playing facades, rearranging chairs on a sinking ship.
Get off! Surrender, admit that it’s over, and grasp the hand of Our Savior.
Let us join together, my brothers, my sisters.
Let us forsake the ruins of the ship and follow the Captain. His boat is the only one that is not going under.
Hear. Believe. Live.
To the leaders, the parents, the pastors; anyone who wants to make a difference: Hold high the standard of God’s Eternal Truth.
Don’t be namby-pamby and cater to the apathetic attitude of this culture. Teach this generation to see this world through God’s lens.
Help them to understand what God says about life. Instruct them to strongly stand for His Truth, His Gospel, His Power, His Light. So many of today’s Christian young people are clueless over what they truly believe are thus highly gullible targets to the first greased and gilded tongue they encounter. (Think of the stats of church-raised kids who lose faith after one year in college) We must provide a firm grasp upon the Truth for our young people, for they cannot stand in the real world without a foundation. Daily, my brothers and sister in Christ fall, their faith crumbling like an Oreo under a stiletto. “B-b-but”, we sputter, “How can this be? We have the youth groups (can anybody say King’s Island?), we have the Christian-ized rock music, we have the cool, spiffy Bible covers…..we have it all, right?” This generation—my generation—has frequently and tragically placed entertainment, comfort, and maintaining popularity at a higher priority than a personal relationship and commitment (especially sacrificial commitment) to Christ. A crucial part of that commitment is knowing Who the Lamb is, who we are, and not mixing up the two. Young or old or somewhere in between, we need to stand up and rescue, by the power of Christ, this generation from its crisis. My people, let us understand our need for the solid Rock, let us truly see Who He is, and let us firmly fix our foundation upon Christ and Christ alone.