Along life’s journey, we sometimes find ourselves at a crossroads, from which we may turn in a number of different directions. The teen years are one of those crossroads — perhaps the most major crossroads of all.
Are you going to go on to further education? Or are you going to join the workforce? Are you going to enter the medical field or history field? Are you going to be an apprentice? Each of these questions is part of a larger question, ‘How will you spend the rest of your life?’
Recently, I asked this question to a 50-year-old man who sat next to me on an airplane. He had just retired. Do you know what he answered? ‘I plan to spend it golfing in Florida’.
When I quizzed him more closely, he had to admit that that really wasn’t a very exciting or useful life. But, whatever you do, don’t waste your life!
Most young people today waste their life. Your life is so full of potential. The possibilities are almost endless, but most of these involve completely wasting your life.
The spies’ reports
Remember the twelve spies that went on a scouting mission into Canaan (Numbers 13-14)? They came back and were all agreed on two things: the land was amazing, but it was filled with giant warriors.
Ten brought a majority report counselling the people to forget about trying to enter the land God had promised them.
But two of the spies disagreed. They offered a minority report to get ready to enter the land, for God had promised them this land and he would defeat the giants, no matter how strong they were.
One of those spies was Caleb. The Bible says about him: ‘But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it’ (Numbers 14:24). Caleb followed God fully, not half-heartedly. This is what God demands of us. The other, and admittedly easier, option is to waste your life.
So live for God fully. But what does that sort of life look like? Does it mean all the men are supposed to become ministers and the girls to become ministers’ wives? Are ministers the only ones who follow God fully?
Absolutely not! There are nurses, mechanics, lawyers, farmers and many other people in different occupations who follow God fully. It’s not about occupation, but a way of life.
To follow God fully, first you need to be born again. You need the Holy Spirit — that same Spirit Caleb had, for ‘there was another spirit within him’.
He possessed the Holy Spirit of faith rather than the human spirit of unbelief. You need the grace of the Holy Spirit to repent of your sins and believe the gospel, to hate sin and worldliness and love the Saviour, to lose your own righteousness and find all your righteousness in Jesus Christ.
You need to realise that only when you are saved by grace can you truly live out of gratitude to God’s glory — which is the purpose for which God put you here on this earth. As long as you’re not saved, you’re missing the purpose of your existence.
If you don’t live for God’s glory, your life will be a failure. You can have the best job in the world, a great spouse and great kids, be good-looking, popular and smart, but if you don’t live for God, your life will be wasted. You will only end in hell. You must be born again!
Being born again is the beginning of a new life, a grand adventure with God. So, what does it mean then for a true Christian to follow God fully?
To be concluded (November ET)
Dr Joel R. Beeke is Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA; editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books; and editor of The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth.