In my last post, I pointed out some biblical problems that generally assault youth. With this post I would like to focus on what the Bible says to help youth through the tough young adult years. As stated in the previous post, youth tend to "walk in the way of their hearts and the sight of their eyes" (Ecc. 11:9). They are emotionally motivated by what the world offers them, "vain things" (Is. 47:12, 47:15). This "walking and seeing" only causes "vexation and pain of heart" (Ecc. 11:10), as they struggle with the way reality actually works.
So what is the solution? How do parents and other caring adults respond to this clash of world views? What does the Bible say they need?
Youth need UNDERSTANDING AND DISCERNMENT
According to Proverbs 1:4, the answer is almost too simple, understanding and discernment are needed. They need God's perspective on how life really works. But what do they need to understand, what do they need to discern?
They need to understand who their CREATOR is (Is. 54:14). They need to discern God's COVENANT(s) (Ez. 16:60). They need to both understand and discern the meaning of the "days of youth" (Ez. 16:22). Youth need to understand the purpose of this time of life.
The days of youth are described in several ways. They need to understand and discern how to "bear the yoke" of youth (Lam. 2:27). They need to bear the weight of how they spend their youth. Youth need to understand that the afflictions of youth can be overcome (Ps. 129:2). They need to discern the meaning of the sins of youth being forgotten in light of God's steadfast love (Ps. 25:7). Youth need help to understand and discern that the deeds done in youth will be returned to their heads (Ez. 16:43). Finally, they need to understand and discern the meaning of God's remembering the devotion of youth (Jer. 2:2) and that companionship leads to covenant (Pro. 2:17).
In conclusion, youth need to understand and discern the expectations that God has for them while they live this side of heaven (or hell). Malachi 2:14 & 15 can be summed up by saying God expects His children to have godly relationships and godly offspring. Just as Jesus' relationship to the church is described as a marriage throughout the New Testament, here youth are reminded the importance of being faithful and self sacrificing.
For those youth who gain understanding and discernment, the New Testament holds out how that should look. Youth should be setting examples for believers in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity (1 Tim 4:12). They do this by pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Tim 2:22).
Youth need understanding and discernment. Youth need parents and other caring adults to help them work out and strengthen those muscles. They don't develop on their own. Youth need someone, anyone, to help them get their focus off themselves and on to Jesus and His work on the cross.