by Aaron Linden
Synopsis: To leave a spiritual legacy, Aaron affirms that we must first build up our faith. If we get married and eventually have children, we will then be able to lead our families in the ways of the Lord.
This lesson focuses on the importance of young single Christians developing their own faith. Early choices that we make are formative, affecting the direction of our future lives. Everything we need can be found in the Bible, so we must be devoted to learning God's word, and living according to its principles.
Many of these comments reflect lessons that I learned while away at college, living by myself, away from family. In some ways, I succeeded; in other ways, I struggled. So, how can young single adults find success in strengthening their personal convictions?
If we wish to leave a spiritual legacy, we must first build up our faith, so that when we get married and eventually have children, we will be able to lead our families with continued success.
Prayer is essential to our faith, but too many times in my life, if I was not careful, it was placed off to the side, and forgotten for a time.
At times, it would seem presumptuous for me to think that the Creator of heaven and earth would be interested in my prayers. Yet, that is just what He has promised!
Psalm 34:15 affirms that the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. Our ability to communicate with God in prayer is based, not on human merit, but on God's great compassion (Dan. 9:18). It is not just the holiest among us who can communicate with God; rather, He promises to hear the prayers of all his children. To forfeit this blessing, or not take full advantage of it, would be foolish indeed.
What does prayer accomplish? It keeps us connected, not only with the Lord but also with others around us (1 Chron. 16:11; Eph. 6:18). Having a regular prayer life makes us more attuned to the blessings we have personally received, and more mindful of those around us who need our prayers. We should really connect with our local church, being attentive to the needs of our brethren. The church functions best when we interact with and help one another.
Additionally, prayer keeps us focused. When we experience hard times, we might be tempted to buckle. When we are busy, we adopt the wrong priorities. However, a consistent prayer life helps strength us (James 5:13-15). At times, we may have creeping doubts, but prayer helps bolster our faith. Facing great trials, Jesus instructed the disciples, "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41).
On another occasion, Jesus encountered a man whose son was sorely afflicted with a demon. Jesus asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" He replied, "From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" Jesus said to him, "'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out, saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:21-24). There are times in our lives when we have creeping doubts, despite having been taught and wanting to believe. Prayer is part of the strength that we have to bolster ourselves through such times.
In the development of knowledge and skills, it is often said, "If you don't use it, you'll lose it." We often forget information that we do not regularly use.
In my college experience, after the final exams ended, and as summer break began, I could almost feel the knowledge that I had accumulated over the past semester flowing out of my ears.
If I worked on a job that continually used the things taught in that class, or if I reviewed the information regularly enough, the specifics of the college course could be retained in my memory.
Not only is it necessary that we remember what we have learned of God's word, but continued spiritual growth is also essential. While we are not expected to know everything, we must pursue a fuller knowledge of God and grow in spiritual understanding. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matt. 5:6). If you are not going forward, you are sliding backward; we are either growing or dying (Heb. 5:12).
Christians are also called to unity, based on their understanding of the Bible. God's word is not subject to private interpretation, i.e., its meaning is determined by my subjective opinion—how I want it, or how I like it. Instead, the truth is objective. There is a proper way that it can and must be understood (Eph. 4:1-6). Spiritual growth and maturity lead God's people to stand united, both in supporting the truth and also in opposing error (Eph. 4:13-16).
Sometimes we encounter those who, intentionally or unintentionally, are teaching and practicing error. How can we identify falsehood if we are still children in understanding? The ignorant are in danger of being tossed like waves of the sea, and are susceptible to promoters of error, especially when they are eloquent, or seemingly intelligent. This danger is especially pronounced when young people go away to college and face an environment where they find their faith under assault. Those who challenge our convictions may not be malicious but misinformed. Nevertheless, they may still pose a threat to our faith.
Honest students and teachers of the Scriptures will want to be measured by the standard of God's word. In fact, this is how we can distinguish truth from error. False prophets may be identified by their fruit (Matt. 7:15-20).
Growth also helps us see the deficiencies in our own lives. Self-examination is necessary, enabling us to make needed personal adjustments on a regular basis, so that we may continue bringing honor and glory to God and Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11:28-30).
Are you connected with other Christians? We are strengthened when we are part of a larger spiritual family (John 17:20-23; 1 Pet. 3:8-9). Being an active, faithful member of a local church sets you up for success. You are surrounded by those who love you, want you to grow, hold you accountable, and will help you succeed.
We must stand up for our faith. There comes a time when we transition from students to teachers. Trials bring potential blessings: "the testing of your faith produces endurance," potentially leading to a state where we are "perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2–4). Looking toward the goal of heaven helps us endure momentary afflictions (Phil. 3:20-21).
We must be examples to others, serving as salt and light. In so doing, we will fulfill the command of Christ: "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:13–16).
By setting the right example, and living faithfully, we may lead others to the Lord. How wonderful would that be? Therefore, let us develop our faith, demonstrate a commitment to Christ, and leave a lasting spiritual legacy.
Author Bio: Aaron is a paramedic for the city of Angleton. He and his fiancée, Virginia, attend the Adoue St. church of Christ in Alvin, TX. He can be reached at email@example.com.