Let us start every session with this abbreviation: I.M.P.A.C.T. Intimacy, Maturity, Persistence, Action, Character, Transformation. I called these things: the precursors, something that formed another thing. When one of those precursors becomes real in your life, surely you will make impact in one or more area of your life. Can you imagine if you have it all? You are fulfilled and will have an impactful life.
Do you like to play the game “finding the differences?” Can you find a difference from the left to the right side of that picture? If I invite one of you stand beside me, you also can point many differences, between me and you.
But what if I put you side by side with any other youth in the same age? Do you think there will be many differences or similarities? Wait, we need a standard to point a difference or a similarity. All of us trained to compare ourselves with “the standard.” Let us discuss about that.
I will start with “Intimacy” and “Maturity” for this session for Youth, because I think these two precursors important in order you are becoming an impactful youth. The world’s standard for intimacy has to related with a person that you can see and touch. I will try to group your “significant other” related with your age group:
- From 0-5 years old – Parents (father, mother, or both).
- From 6-15 years old – Friends (in school, church, or your neighbor).
- From 16-22 years old – “Friends” (boyfriend, girlfriend, or best-friend).
- From 23-70 years old – Partners (husband, wife, work or ministry partner). And if they have kids, that significant other could be them (physiological, spiritual or through adoption).
I don’t want to disappoint you with saying this, or being unreal, but they are your significant other until one day you’ll find out that you can’t keep them forever. They are important, but what if there is someone who is really significant, and you will never lose Him?
God said that “But even if a mother forgets her nursing child is possible, I would not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15). I don’t know about you, but I experienced bullying in my elementary and mid-school years, but I know God is my friend that never fail me. Jesus said I am His friend because He laid down His life for me, He believed that I can do whatsoever He commanded me, and He opened up about the God’s plan that made my life become purposeful (John 15:13-15).
God is a Father of the fatherless and defender of the widows (Psalms 68:5), I know you’re not even married yet, but you get my points on how you are never walk alone. And last but not least, when you bring your brokenness to Him, it is the sacrifices of God, and He will not despise your broken heart (Psalms 51:17).
If you have the option to live the “Peter Pan” story or “Benjamin Button” story, which one do you prefer? I prefer to get back to reality. Every one of us is born young and going to die old, assumed there is no case of tragedy and life-threatening illness within that period. Psalms 90:10.
Your life is progressive, from babyhood (0-2 y.o.), childhood (3-12 y.o.), adolescence (13-18 y.o.), adulthood (19-80 y.o., or more), and eventually die. I heard a lot of kids in their childhood or adolescence stage of life, really can’t wait to become an adult. And that’s my experience too.
The world put standard for you to become an adult. And knowingly or not all the things that you can do or consume after you become an “adult” are crucial, and for some can bring fatality if those things being abused. From driving to smoking cigarette/e-cigarette, from alcohol consumption to age of consent (for criminal conduct or sexual activity). In some cultures, you must marry by the age of 10 to 12!
What I’m trying to say is that the world can tell you anything they want about your adult stage and it will change over time. If I ask you about an adult man, a gentleman, what comes up in your mind? Strong, and have all experience in smoking or using drugs, can be rough or violence, and good on girls (usually the definition of this is the sensual experience). How about becoming a woman, a lady? Sexy (whatever is the standard), and have all experience in make-up, shopping, and sexually free (to treat their body, giving-up to sensuality, and to the point of abortion if you have to).
But what if there is another definition about being adult, that will lead you to self-control, meekness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, patience, peace, joy and love. Galatians 5:22-23. Interestingly these values turned upside-down to define “cool.” Because to control your mouth is an “old-skool” model, being impulsive and put every f-ing word in each sentence is much cooler and show your assertiveness.
Do you want to know what is cool about being an adult? It is not that you can do whatever your heart desire, that is self-centered. But being an adult is that you could love, you could give, and realize that your life is not for yourself. This is counter-intuitive in the post-modern and post-Christian world that we living right now. When you are a child you can’t serve or love others like an adult. It is more likely that you are focused on your own needs. An adult think about others, what can I do, what can I contribute? 1Corinthians 13:11.
Maturity comes with experience, not age. Experience is determined by every single choice you make. Many people get stuck to their past and can’t move on. Also a great number of people living in the utopian dream of the future without thinking of developing the present. But Jesus’ reminder to the inhabitants of Jerusalem remains relevant: “If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42.
I pray that every day the Holy Spirit reminded you to do something that will give you everlasting peace, not the temporal, carnal peace. And I hope all of you become a mature Christian, an adult who can do something for others and not only for themselves.