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Advice to Young Christians in Ghana

Mon, 9 Dec 2013 Source: Gyebi, Daniel

There has never been a more exciting time to be a young Christian in Ghana. In the age of information and communication technologies (ICT), your ability to learn what is going on in Ghana and the rest of the world and to reach out to others knows no bounds. You are able to stay connected from hamlets to villages to towns, and to cities. Use ICT to learn, to reach out, and to encourage one another. However, computers may go to sleep or crash, the Internet may lose connectivity, and mobile networks may be out of service or out of coverage area, but access to God is always guaranteed to all. Therefore, logon / login to God and stay connected to him through prayers, Church services, fellowships, Bible studies etc.

When our Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, three wise men set out on a mission to search for him and when they found him, they worshipped him. Today, millions of wise men and women are eagerly searching for Christ. Many have found him and are worshipping him; others are still searching. I pray that they find him soon. Consider yourself ”gracey,” or to use the popular parlance, lucky, that by the grace of God you have found Christ and Christ has found you at a young age. It is the best decision you will ever make. This gives you the opportunity to be molded into a fine adult, disciplined, strong in moral character, and eager to channel your youthful energies into the service of God and mankind. It also helps you to avoid many youthful mistakes that some adults regret making when they were your age.

The Church is the body of Christ. Do not listen to those who say it does not matter whether or not you attend Church services. It matters, so go to Church -- always. There is something special about being in the house of God. King David knew it and that was why he said in Psalm 122:1 that he was glad when they said unto him, let us go into the house of the Lord. If King David was glad to leave his majestic palace and join his people in the house of the Lord and subject himself to the authority of the priest, what is keeping you inside your house on Sundays? Examine your priorities and do not let minor excuses such as headache, preparation for exams, staying late on Saturday night, and others keep you from attending Church service if the same conditions do not prevent you from performing other normal activities. You will agree with me that a student who refuses to attend classes, but prays for help to pass exams is not being fair to God. The student may be expelled from school for truancy or absenteeism even before he or she gets the opportunity to fail the exams. In the same way, stay in regular fellowship with God, the brethren, and the Church if you want to maintain your pass to the Kingdom.

How can a young person keep his or her way pure? By guiding it according to the Word of God (Psalm 119: 9). Make the Bible your companion. During my secondary school days at Kumasi Academy, I had a wonderful experience with the Scripture Union (“SU”). SU provided discipline and structure for Bible study, fellowship, and even academic work. Join SU in your school or at any convenient location. If there is no SU near you, gather some brothers and sisters and form one. There is power in the fellowship of the brethren, so do not miss the blessings. Make it your goal to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation during school vacations. You will be enlightened by the many issues that are covered by the Bible.

Hopefully, no one promised you that the Christian life would be easy. You are not insulated from many of the difficulties, challenges, failures, and problems of this world. However, be rest assured that you have a better approach to handling them. While the other side seeks comfort in bottles, parties, and smoking, you have the Bible, prayers, and songs. Use them. Pray constantly. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Your approach is better not only because it is more effective, but because it is free and without negative side effects. The other approach is expensive and has serious side effects. Some of those who drink or smoke at your age may graduate to become alcoholics or drug addicts and set themselves on the path of self-destruction for which they would blame others. Avoid that approach and continue on the straight and narrow path. You will never regret it.

The other side may entice, tease or even harass you with the alluring nature of some of the things they do and call you names such as “Chrife.” Take it as the badge of honour that it is. The term “Christians” itself was a nickname given to the early followers of Christ in Antioch (Acts 11:26), so do not worry about name-calling. They will make you think that everybody is doing “it” and that you are alone. You are not alone, and not everyone is doing “it.” The Prophet Elijah once felt he was alone when Jezebel was seeking to kill him. God told him that he was not alone and that there were seven thousand people in Israel who had not given themselves to idol worship (1 Kings 19). You are not missing anything. Some of your older brethren have never drunk alcohol, smoked, used drugs, or patronised any night club or disco in our lives and yet we are as happy as a flock of birds flying in the sky on a bright day.

Help the younger students and apprentices or trainees spiritually, academically, and professionally as necessary. They are your brothers and sisters. Do not let the senior-junior dichotomy get into your head. The junior you see today could be your boss in future, so show some respect and be helpful to all. For example, if someone had maltreated or bullied the President when he was a junior in school, can you imagine the shame that person would have felt now? Organise tutorials with them and help them to be the best they can be. You learn more by teaching others. Pay attention to the female students who are the minority in secondary and tertiary institutions in Ghana and who often feel intimidated. When you do so, the other side may misunderstand your motives and draw unsubstantiated conclusions about the nature of the relationships. Prove the other side wrong by demonstrating that you are different and that you have read 1Timothy 5:1-2, and so you treat each other as brothers and sisters with absolute purity.

If you are academically challenged, ask and God will give you wisdom (James 1:5). Study hard and aim high. Increase your human capital by staying in school and pursuing education or training to the highest level that your circumstances will permit. However, be flexible with your academic and career plans. When I was a science student studying biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and additional mathematics in secondary school, law did not cross my mind. Yet, law has now occupied my mind and time for over twenty years as a lawyer working for a major U.S. oil company. By the way, do not believe everything you hear or read about lawyers, except all the good things. If you are learning a trade, be the best apprentice or trainee that you can. Do not allow the lure of money to pull you into the workforce prematurely. You may have more than thirty years of your life to work, so use as much of the first thirty years of your life as possible to enjoy the fun world of education and training. There is no need to rush because money is not going anywhere and larger currency denominations would be minted by the time you graduate and start working at or near the top. And when by the grace of God you start working, follow the advice of John Wesley: earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.

Sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down. In either case, the Lord is with you because he has promised that he will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Therefore, if you find yourself on a mountain top, as Moses did, the Lord will be there with you. And if you find yourself inside the belly of a whale at the bottom of the sea, as Jonah did, the Lord will be there with you, as well. Do not give up, no matter the circumstances. Success is sweeter when it comes after failure. Call on the Lord and remain connected to him. Do you remember the Lord’s telephone number? It is J333 for Jeremiah 33:3.

Do not follow popular foreign culture that is creeping into the Ghanaian society which advocates that there is no right or wrong behaviour. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing many things in this life. Pray to God to open your eyes and mind to recognise the difference and the grace to choose the right ways. That is why our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ advises you to enter by the small gate into the narrow way which leads to life, but only few people find it. The wide gate leads to the broad way and many are those who find it to their destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). You have made it this far in your life by knowing how to make the right choices. According to the Bible, homosexuality is not a right choice for you (see, for example, Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1: 26-27; and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The Bible is your Constitution; honour it. Do what it says you should do and do not do what it says you should not do.

Do not forget that this is our Father’s world. Despite what Satan and his followers have made it out to be, God the Creator, is still the Ruler who controls this world. Therefore, throw sadness and self-pity away; rejoice, and be happy in our Father’s world. Within the bounds of humility, be proud of yourself. Occasionally, our Father may like to speak directly to you, so free your ears for divine communication. Remember that the boy Samuel would not have heard the still small voice of the Lord if he had gone to bed or walked around all the time with his ears plugged with, and bombarded by, electronic gadgets.

Child of the Almighty God, fear not, the Lord is with you. Be courageous! Allow no one to sow seeds of enmity in your family with allegations that your family member is the cause of your problems. You are already protected, so do not commit idolatry by consulting, worshipping, or swearing allegiance to any deity, fetish, god, idol, oracle, or shrine. The Lord himself is your shepherd. Remember that the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). God created you in his own image. God purchased you with the precious blood of his son Jesus Christ. God placed his own seal on you and filled you with his holy spirit. And God has equipped you to conquer any enemy, so exercise faith, pray, and put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:11). Nothing or no one can harm you! Those who are with you are more than those who are against you (2 Kings 6:16).

You are a sinner saved by grace. Love everyone. Those on the other side are not necessarily your enemies. Love them, even if they were. Many of them do not hate you; they envy you. They secretly admire your will power and strong moral character. They are amazed at how you can abstain from the fleeting pleasures of this world for the sake of the Kingdom. They wish they could switch or trade places with you, but they do not believe they can. They are like a political party in opposition. The opposition does not hate the government; it just wants to be the government, but does not have the votes. Therefore, take criticisms from the other side as challenges to examine yourself and make yourself a better Christian. Hold on to the faith, show them that you are different, and pray for them to convert to Christ.

Jesus Christ is coming back in glory. Spread the good news about his birth, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming. Winning souls for Christ is your responsibility and the responsibility of all Christians in accordance with the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20). Channel your youthful energies into this noble task through your words, deeds, prayers, and other resources.

The above pieces of advice are good for your body and soul. If you follow them, it shall be well with you. You will grow up as a happy adult Christian with fewer mistakes, fewer regrets, and more love for God and mankind. May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen. Merry Christmas. (PS: I am going to mail the link to this publication to my children and make sure they read it).

Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.

PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. The facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 027-7423815.

Columnist: Gyebi, Daniel