A few weeks ago I unofficially sent off our youth group seniors. It was an emotional night for me because they were the closest I have ever been to a single class of students. A lot of them had been with us since they were in eighth grade and some of my favorite memories of youth ministry have included these graduates. I told the graduates that I really wanted to quit the ministry 5-6 years ago and they were the breath of fresh air that God sent along. I figured if kids wanna hang out with me and listen to me teach them the Bible, how foolish would it be to quit! I wanted to send them off with a little advice and an exhortation to continue to follow Christ.
I shared about identity. People say young adults find their identity when they are in their college years, who they are, and what they want to do with their life. It is a tremendous amount of pressure to put upon someone who is out on their own for the first time in their life. They can really make some life shifting decisions and choices that could potentially have a lifetime of consequences. Not to mention the ability for students to take on a six figure student loan that they may end up paying off for the next 20-30 years (more on that in a later post.) I encouraged them that identity is found in Christ and Christ alone. Matt Chandler said, “Whether you are a Christian or not, we have been hardwired to construct an identity for ourselves.” We all get caught up in defining who we are and what we are about to the people around us. But the challenge is what are we trying to communicate? I have been convicted as of late that how I spend my money, time, and resources will show people what I am about. There are passages commonly used in the church and Christian circles that discuss the heart, how wicked it can be, and how it reveals our sinfulness and how we need to give more money or more time to the church. The principles, which are often used more as ammo instead of a gentle reminder, really do show what we are worshipping and us where we are. The call as a Christian is to realize our identity is in Christ, and not something that we are constructing.
Matt Chandler, when teaching about identity and how we all seek after one said,
The exhortation was to not forget who they are in Christ, what an identity in Christ looks like, to seek Him, and keep their eyes on the prize.
I did share a few practical, more of a list of things I would tell my son or daughter if they were going on to college which I will share in a few days, so check back!