Training for Reigning - 20 - Your top interest is?

CAN YOU NAME rr without hesitation? In the ‘teen ages, interests often are unsettled. First, one will have the top spot in one’s thinking, then a new one will arise to push the earlier one down below. Usually, however, by the time the late ‘teens have been reached, and "Fool’s Hill" (which all must conquer!) have been passed, young people begin to move on out into the more settled levels of the beginner’s stage of adult life. So do not be perplexed, my ‘teener friends, if you should find yourselves "halting between two opinions" respecting what your chief interest may turn out, eventually, to be.
For the sake of our little talk this time let us consider the
following briefly noted groups of common interests:
(1) Academic: Books, School, College, or other study courses.
(2) Technical: Learning trades, or other skills, experimental or Scientific doings, Art, Music, Writing.
(3) Social: Home affairs, Entertainment, T.V., "Do’s," Novel Reading, Boy-meets-girl, Good times together, Courtship, Being in love.
(4) Motor Activity: Some form of work, Hobbies, Sports, Recreation, "Horse-play," Cars, and going places.
(5) Humorous: Telling yarns, or jokes, Smart slang or snappy retorts, "Being funny," or "acting crazy" - keeping them all laughing. Now, since we all know that everybody desires to out-shine his fellows in some one thing, let me suggest that you get a pencil and underline the interest, or interests, that appeal to most of you . . . not those you think you ought to be interested in, but only those you really feel keenest about. Then, if there are more than one, go over them and decide which item has the top-most place in your thoughts - your interest.
(6) Spiritual: the Word of God, prayer, and general interest in the things of God . . . (but not including your service for Him - which can be a satisfying activity outlet, in it- self, and apart from much fellowship with God) . . . Your comparison will give you an insight into the measure of worth-while-ness of your present way of living; because most of such interests as those of the first five groups either are passing things, or vary from time to time. Indeed, a few years from now, should the Lord leave us here that long, you are likely to find it hard to believe that they ever seemed of such great importance to you! For even the hot fires of a boy’s ambition, or the intensities of his being do not, cannot, last very long, you know . . or, did you know? Dis-illusionment commonly follows in the wake of the interests and dreams of late adolescence and early adult life. The time is bound to come when, as you review your once flaming pursuits, you will feel you definitely "missed the mark"- even as I did, myself.
What then . . . do I seek to dampen your ardour, or to put old heads on your shoulders? . . . I surely hope not! But since the getting clear of encumbering interests is a painful process, and the breaking of habits of thinking and acting formed in these years is difficult, let me make a simple suggestion. It is that, even now as you are reading this chapter, you will pause and listen intently for a certain "still, small voice". . . the voice of One Who (in human terms) was Himself a young Man
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me:" Matthew 11: 29.
"It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth," we learn from Lamentations 3: 27; while the contrasting details of Ecclesiastes 11: 9 are a record of "Youth’s Revolt"- fruitless revolt! against the wearing of any yoke contrary to its own inclinations, impulses and insufficient judgment. Perhaps somewhere above this low level, yet much below that of our Master’s call to us, we shall locate the plane of our own Christian walk after we have made notes of our chief interests. And perhaps, (Oh may it be so!) there may be aroused once more within us all a longing to be, truly, "All for Jesus! - all my being’s ransomed powers."
-"But, Mr. Paul, I don’t seem to be that way. I guess it’s the way I was born, or brought up, or something. But I can’t seem to want to be much different than I am. Yes, I’ve prayed lots about it, but it doesn’t seem to do any good. I know I’m not like what I ought to be; but I am what I am, and I can’t help it - nobody can!"
Hmmm. Sounds quite hopeless, doesn’t it? Yet surely it cannot be hopeless, else of what value are all the exhortations in the Word - such as 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15, for example? There we read, "For the love of Christ constraineth us . .
Without going further, let us notice the implications of that word "constraineth." It means (in the original) "to be held together"- or compressed . . . compressed into the single channel of living described in the next verse as living, not unto themselves, but "unto Him which died for them and rose again."
Did you ever see men digging in a sewer trench? Their entire field of activity is bounded by the trench walls. There is not much room to "cultivate wide interests" in such narrow confines! Their type of working exactly pictures for us ONE CHANNEL LIVING - the very idea behind the thought, "constrained by love . . . to live unto Him"- a single channel of living which we soon discover, however, to be as wide as the interests of the living God! To use the metaphors of Ezekiel 47: 1-5, the waters may seem but ankle depth at the start, but straight ahead lie waters which cannot be passed over -"waters to swim in."
But why do we find it such a hard matter to get started, and to work up an interest in, this love-constraining form of living?
These verses declare that the death of all for whom Christ died is counted as having taken place when He died on the cross, this truth reminds us at once of Rom. 6; and there, in verse 13, we discover the main factor in our failure to be constrained by the love of Christ into one-channel living. It is the failure to have yielded ourselves unto God. No wonder our interest wanes!
Now let me emphasize that the definite act of yielding oneself to God stands (as we professed in our baptism) as the starting point of a proper progress in the things of God. That the Holy Spirit intends us to understand that it is a definite, single act of yielding of which He is speaking is indicated by the aorist tense in the following clauses: Yield yourselves unto God; so now yield your members, vs. 13, 19; present your bodies, Romans 12: 1; first gave their own selves to the Lord, 2 Corinthians 8: 5. Grammarians tell us the aorist indicates "a completed action": (see Green’s Grammar, or the Newberry Bible).
But does the going to our knees to hand over, definitely, to the Lord "all we are and have" bring about some wonderful new "second blessing"? No, it does not! All that happens is the establishing within us of a NEW ATI’ITUDE TOWARDS OUR GOD. But it is this that makes it possible for Him to begin to work in us more fully "to will and to do of His good pleasure":
Phil. 2: 13. Then, each morning, we shall need to give it the daily support of daily renewal, in order that we shall faint not:
2 Cor. 4:16.
So you see your case Is not hopeless after all, my discouraged young friends! Let us be in a hurry to obey Rom. 6: 13, and so to rid ourselves of the old, hindering, self-pleasing attitude which denies that we died with Christ and rose again to walk in newness of life. Then His love-constraining one-channel living - unto Himself - will become our top interest.