Down To Earth Discipleship    .    Getting real with issues facing young Christians today
Chapter 13
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13. Reflections from the co-author

In many ways, being a Christian in one's 20s is hard. It is a time of life in which we are making many choices for ourselves which will substantially shape our future. We are looking for a person to marry, a job to do, and a place to live - and these things cannot be considered in isolation. We are deciding how to spend our time and money, and how best to employ our gifts and abilities. And as if this wasn't hard enough for unbelievers to do, as Christians we must also seek out and stick to God's will and purpose for our lives.

It can sometimes feel that Christian discipleship does little more than unhelpfully restrict us in our range of options. It limits our choice of life-partner to heterophile Christian, and bans us completely from half-hearted romantic relationships and casual sexual activities. It places obligations of love on every aspect of our lives, and obliges us to seek and pursue God's will over our own every step of the way. It makes us accountable for everything we do, all of the time. I hope no one ever said that being a Christian was the easy way out, because if they did they've never really tried it.

On this path to which we, as Christians, have been called we have two great comforts. The first is that God's will for us is good, his purposes towards us are to prosper and not to harm, and that in following we can expect to find at least enough blessing to see us through, and often much more. The second is that, whatever our lot in this earthly life, it does not compare with the blessing and joy which await us in heaven, which the New Testament teaches are the reward for our perseverance in the faith.

Part of this perseverance is a discipline to commit ourselves to God's ways - to faith, to love, and to purity of life. What this means in practice can sometimes be difficult to discern, let alone to live out consistently. For this reason God surrounds us with Christians in his church, both older and wiser brethren who can teach and guide us, and peers with whom we journey together. Most importantly of all, God provides every Christian without exception, from flag-waving Pentecostal to incense-burning Catholic, with his Holy Spirit to strengthen and sanctify us throughout our earthly lives. Moreover, we have his forgiveness when we fail, and grace to try again.

Let us heed then the wisdom God has provided for us, lean on those around us to help us apply it, and pray to God for strength to persevere. He has bought our souls with his own Son's blood, and rescued us in his grace, so we can be sure that he is not about to let go of us, even if we sometimes feel like letting go of him. In this confidence then, a confidence in his faithfulness much more than in our own, we can push forward in living this life in obedience to his will, as we wait for the hope of eternal life when all earthly struggles will be past.