Advice to Young People

James Montgomery Boice has some excellent advice to young people in his sermon series on the Minor Prophets (volume 2, p. 510). He identifies a major problem with young people today:

As I counsel with people in our day, many of them young people, I am convinced that one of their biggest problems is that they expect shortcuts. They want a simple principle that will explain all the Bible and eliminate the need for concentrated and prolonged Bible study. They want an experience that will set them on a new spiritual plateau and eliminate the need for hard climbing up the steep mountain paths of discipleship. They want a fellowship that has all the elements of a perfect heavenly fellowship without the work of building up those elements by their own hard work and active participation. This is not the way God has ordered things. He could have given shortcuts, but he has not.

To young people out there: there are no shortcuts. And if there are, they usually lead to long delays, as Pippin would say in The Fellowship of the Ring. Things are not going to be handed to you on a platter. Life is not something you can simply let happen to you. This is not a popular message in an age of instant gratification.

Young Christians often think this way as well. After the euphoria of conversion is passed, they often come to a hard shock: the Christian life is hard work! They often think that they didn’t sign up for this. As Pliable turns back in the Slough of Despond, the very first sign of trouble, so also do many today who call themselves Christians. However, as any seasoned Christian can tell you, conversion is the peace with God that starts the war on the world, the flesh, and the devil. In many ways, life is far more difficult after conversion than before.

Do not think of the Christian life as having shortcuts. Study your Bible thoroughly and deeply. Pray over it and meditate over it. Wrestle with God in prayer. Prepare for the Sabbath Day every single week, so that the Word will dwell richly in you. The Christian life is cumulative.


  1. Ackbach said,

    February 3, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    The Celestial Railroad, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

  2. February 3, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    […] Advice to Young People […]

  3. roberty bob said,

    February 4, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I wonder why Boice asserts that the quest for shortcuts and simplicity is the young people’s problem. How do you suppose the young people were led to believe that the Christian life would be so much easier than it actually turns out to be? One could attribute the problem to the line of preaching the brings about the above mentioned euphoric conversions. I suspect the line of preaching that accentuates the Lord having done all of the heavy lifting [he’s done it all; there is nothing you can do] while utterly ignoring the demands of discipleship in kingdom living [which is precisely the line of preaching taken by our Lord] is responsible for creating the young people’s problem. Our Lord was out front with the demands and responsibilities of kingdom living; his hearers knew what they were “in for” before they had their euphoric conversion experience!

  4. February 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I had a teacher once who liked to say: “The Holy Spirit is not given to make Bible study easy. He’s given to make it effective.”

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