We live in such a time when contemporary youth have “aces up their sleeves” that past generations didn’t have. This is both a special and an amazing time that gives youth different advantages. Here are some of them:
- Social freedom
Currently young people don’t experience as strict social, cultural and class limitations as in the past. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, when a youngster came from a poor peasant family, he had practically no chance to gain a better social status.
Or let’s say this young person was coming from a town. In order to really become someone, he or she had to be extraordinarily talented and purpose-driven. And then, being born in a small Jewish town (shtetl) was a lost cause.
Because, firstly, you weren’t allowed to go past the Jewish Pale. Secondly, to get into a university was a bit of a pipe dream. And even if you were willing and able to enter a good preparatory school, you would have an extremely low entry rate. For 40 per cent of Jewish population in the area, the entry rate was only 2 per cent. To make things worse, neither you, your parents, nor your relatives could possess land. Anyone else could, but NOT Jews.
Things are different today. Freedoms have come, opening all doors. Both teenagers and youths may and can achieve almost anything they want.
- Personal Freedoms
In the past, young people were bound by certain social rules and regulations of whatever group or class they belonged to. Even when a person belonged to the upper class, he or she couldn’t transition. Nowadays, anyone can choose whatever he or she wants. Anyone can leave any group or class. Up or down, forward or backward – you choose.
- Personal Fulfillment Opportunities
A third advantage is new opportunities for personal fulfillment, in any field imaginable: education, art, career development. Multiple opportunities for personal fulfillment, as well as using gifts and talents, come to liberated individuals.
- Media Freedoms
Today we have a free and easy access to various informational sources.
- Social Networks/Entertainment Freedoms ( this is a separate issue from media)
Many new forms and sources of various pleasures exist via social networks and the entertainment industry boom.
- Food varieties
Rich variety and free access to it. Only wealthy and upper-class people had access to food varieties in the past. And now it’s all different.
- Changes in traditional family structure
This brings great opportunities for youth.
In the past, the father had the ultimate authority over his children and his wife. The mother also had authority over her children to some extent. And children were always limited by their parents’ will.
Some people may be thinking, “The Ancient world was so much more liberal.” But did you know that in ancient Rome a father could punish his son any way he pleased? He could sell him as a slave, for example (same with his daughters),or even kill him, depending on what the son did wrong. All of that was happening in super-liberal Rome! And most ancient societies were like that.
On the contrary, a modern family today is all about child protection rights. Children are highly respected and valued – sometimes overly valued. The way many people think has been forever changed. Teenagers view themselves as cool and awesome. Many of them think, “if only we had money, freedom and special means, we could change everything!”
- Freedom of movement, emancipation of women, equal rights and many-many other things…
Can you imagine all these challenges and opportunities, advantages and temptations that young people face today?
The cult of youth is the cornerstone of that all. The multibillion-dollar Hollywood industry worships and works for this cult. Appearing older was very prestigious in the past. Showing respect to elders was viewed as a virtue. And nowadays it’s the other way round.
The cult of youth, the dramatic change of the family structure, and the blurring of the family values are leading young people into a great temptation: showing disrespect to the generation before us. Not only traditional values and authorities get devaluated, but biblical values, as well.
Note that I did not touch upon ministry to God and ways to discover God’s gifts. I did not touch upon those powerful changes God has been performing since the end of the nineteenth century (when understanding of baptism in the Spirit, together with gifts of the Spirit, was restored; people were being born from above). The restoration of priesthood in the body of Christ started then and continues to this day! All of that is extremely important. And there is a serious danger for the youth losing sight of all these new spiritual possibilities because of the multiple social bonuses and advantages I talked of above.
Friends! We should thoughtfully and carefully choose what advantages to use and how to respond to the flattering of this world. How to respond to slogans like, “You deserve the best!”and “Make the most of your life!”
Within the last decades, another tendency has emerged: young adults who just spend all of their time at the computer, rarely leaving their houses, and having no goals in life. Just look around, it’s not some kind of joke; it’s the majority among young men. Haven’t you noticed? Men are the main target of the enemy. God’s values in the lives of men are being rooted out. And the number of young guys who want nothing, who are fed up with everything, is growing. They feel comfortable and peaceful living in the Matrix, and they don’t want to wake up.
So we get a very curious image of society: young people tend to get more and more rights and social security and less and less responsibility.
But God has other plans for youth. Our God is a God of balance.
He doesn’t give responsibility without rights or authority. And there are no rights or authority without responsibility. Each one of us can think of a situation in life when we were tempted by circumstances to act recklessly and just go with the flow. I’m not talking about obvious sins, but rather of this “jelly fish” condition. You can hardly see a jelly fish in the water, it flows by inertia.
Every person can align his life and values with God’s ideals and stop being indifferent. Each of God’s children, especially in Jewish ministry, can become a center of restoration and revival wherever he or she is.
The restoration of Israel as God’s crystal among many nations, as a central crystal around which God’s other spiritual crystals from all the nations are going to group, will give a chance to every partaker to become a local center of this crystalizing process.
To do that you don’t need to move to a better place. You don’t have to have a lot of money or fit into some prestigious frames. To do that, you simply need to fully trust the Word of God that needs to come alive and powerful for you personally in your personal life.
(с) Boris Grisenko, on the youth conference GOOD FRUIT CONNECTION’2017