Are you sure, Sandy? Well, yes and no. An American talent manager Scooter Braun came across Bieber’s videos on YouTube and later became his manager. Braun spotted him, saw his potential, and empower him to be what he is today. I use the title above not to specifically talk about Justin Bieber, but rather it is because, if I am not wrong, Justin Bieber began his stardom when he was still a teenager. No, I am not a Bieber’s fan. Don’t worry.
Talking about being a teenager, yesterday, at CrossCulture service, Pastor Lou talked about the birth of Jesus. At one point in the service, he emphasised the fact that God used two teenagers (arguably – or at least two very young people), Mary and Joseph (primarily Mary), as vessels to bring Jesus into this world and to raise Jesus on earth. Can you imagine the sheer responsibility of giving birth and raising God on earth? Can you imagine the pressure they must have? Pastor Lou then exhorted all the young people to not let others make them believe that God cannot use them. We are young (yes, although I am way past teenage years, I am still young too) and despite our lack of experience and lack of maturity, don’t allow yourself to believe that God cannot use you to be His vessels for His glory.
In the Bible, God used many young people. David, king Uzziah, king Josiah, and Daniel are just a few examples. Apostle Paul, for example, exhorted Timothy, a young man, this way:
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
So, I agree wholeheartedly with this exhortation and I would hate to see young people refusing to be used by God just because they are young.
However, just because you are young, it does not mean God will definitely use you. There are also many young people in the Bible that did not set good examples. So, just because you are young, it doesn’t mean you can sit back, shake your legs, and wait for your heavenly ‘call’ as if God cannot help but use you. To make the situation worse, not only do many young Christians sit back and have too much fun, the thought of being used by God for His Kingdom does not enter their mind at all. If it did, they are not that eager to be used by God; or if they are indeed eager, the evidence of their life somehow shows otherwise or is not apparent.
I believe we can learn from Mary’s response when the angel Gabriel brought her the message from God. Upon hearing the life-changing (or to some, life-shattering) message by the angel, Mary responded by saying, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” At the same time, we can also see the integrity of Joseph. When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, Holy-Spirit supernatural conception was not in his equation at all, so he sought to divorce Mary quietly so as not to disgrace her. When an angel appeared to him in a dream telling him to not doubt Mary’s sexual integrity and to take Mary as his wife anyway, Joseph woke up obeying God’s command. He married Mary but not consume their marriage until the baby Jesus was born. From the responses of Mary and Joseph, you could almost be certain that they were young, but they showed emotional and spiritual maturity that is way beyond most teenagers these days.
So, indeed, just because you are young, it does not mean God cannot use you. However, many young Christians must sober up from their slumber and realise that God does not use all young people. He can use those who are teachable, who are humble, and who are willing to surrender to God’s will in their lives. Rebellious is one big problem. However, many young people that I meet are not the rebellious type. Rather, they are the distracted type. They are not rebelling against authority, or against God, rather they are busy chasing other things that this world has to offer.
I am not a sociologist neither am I an anthropologist. However, you don’t need to be either of them to observe that many young people these days deliberately or subconsciously postpone their growing-up. Video games, useless mind-numbing TV programs, seductive and addictive entertainments, silly and dangerous stunts and pranks (think Jackass: the movie), and many other thrill-of-the-moment activities are to some extent being used by Satan to derail the growth of many young people. They are distracted seeking for fun and pleasure all the time. No, I am not in any way saying that they are Satanic. No way. They are simply tools and human’s clever inventions that, just like everything else, Satan can use to advance his cause, namely to distract people from following God. What I am saying, however, is that if you are young and Christian, you have got so much potential. Chances are you are not rebellious. You are simply distracted.
A simple research on the lives of Jewish children or youths during the first centuries would reveal that they took seriously their educational, religious, and familial life. Reading and memorising Torah from young age was mandatory. Honouring and obeying parents was the norm. Involvement in religious rites was a no-brainer. They live with anticipation to be used by God for their society, their family, and their world. Granted, this might not reflect ALL the Jewish young kids at that time. For sure, there must be some who turned out to be scums of society. However, for better or worse, the social pressure, the familial encouragement, and the absence of high-tech distractions helped in terms of their discipline and their maturity growth so they were more ready in a young age to contribute to the society.
Friends, you may be young (or not anymore), but if you ever dream to be used by God for His Kingdom, if the thought of adventure with God to make a difference in this world ever enters your mind, you have got to do something about it.
- If you have lost your first love towards God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, then it’s time to rekindle that. Read the Word and embrace what the gospel of Jesus Christ means to you personally and to this world.
- If you are distracted, then it’s time to re-prioritise your life and to give enough margin in your life, time-wise and financially, so God can use you for His purpose.
- If you have spent most of your lives consuming what this world offers, it’s time to remove from your life those life-sucking distractions, and invest your lives in life-giving relationship, in faith-stretching exercises, and in heart-filling time with God and His Word.
- If you have been worrying about your own pleasure, possession, or fame, it’s time to seek God’s Kingdom first in your life. It’s time to find opportunities to be part of what God is doing in this world, instead of telling God some opportunities to be part of what you are doing in this world.
When the angel appeared to Mary and Joseph, the invitation (or rather, declaration) was not easy to swallow. But upon accepting it, their lives were never the same again. Was it tough? Yes. Was it humbling? Certainly. But they can certainly testify that they would not want any other way. So could Peter, James, John, David, Daniel, and many more. Friends, God can certainly use every young person, even a Justin Bieber, if you are willing. Are you?