Thanksgiving is about more than turkey. Though none of our lives are perfect, we have so many things to be thankful for. We all have life and breath and the possibility of so much joy because of it. We have people who care for us and people we care about. We have somewhere to live, a computer or phone to read this on, food water, electricity and so many other things that we hardly ever think about. Our standard of living is higher than 99% of those who have lived on the earth. And most of all, we can be thankful for Jesus, who came and showed us God’s love by dying and rising again from the dead to save us. Thanksgiving gives us a time to reflect on all of these things and to demonstrate our thankfulness to the people around us.
There are a multitude of voices that tell you both what to do and what not do as you grow into adulthood. You’ll receive mixed messages from parents, teachers, friends, peers, and from the vast influences of the culture and media. And like wearing headphones, you’ll tune some voices out while others speak directly to you. But there is one voice and one message that should govern your life: the Word of God. And it tells us what to flee from and what to pursue in our youth; what to run from, and what to run to:
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
What to Flee
Like a fugitive running away from someone in order to escape captivity, Paul tells Timothy to flee from youth passions. As a young spiritual leader, Paul knew that Timothy would be tempted by passions (strong yearnings; lusts) that are characteristic of young people. Whether it is lust, laziness, disobedience, or immaturity, there are certain “passions” that are common to youthfulness. And they must be avoided at a young age, because they will turn into habits. Take care of the youthful sin now, before it takes control of you later in life!
If we want to see an Uprising, we have to understand our message. Imagine a revolutionary or martyr giving their lives for a message that they were unable to explain to others. People only live out and die for ideas that have taken hold of every part of their being—ideas that they have grasped with their whole mind, heart, soul and strength. If we are going to live lives that change the world, we must let the life-changing message sink deep into us.inflatables
What is the message that we are proclaiming? What is going to cause an Uprising among people today?
We were stoked to have Tedashii at Uprising! He challenged us to “go hard” for Jesus and to “make war.” And that is exactly what Uprising is all about: not to isolate from the world, but to infiltrate the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to rise up and make war. But what exactly are we waging war against?
Ephesians 2:1-3 describes that we are at war against three enemies: the world, the devil, and the flesh.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
These three enemies interrelate through their closeness to our lives, causing us to be even more susceptible to sin. They encompass the physical and spiritual being within us (the flesh), the physical earth and world system around us (the world), and the spiritual realm among us (the devil). At any given moment, anyone can sin by giving in to their temptations, and they all have the same goal of prohibiting spiritual transformation.
- The world refers to the godless world system that is opposed to God. Through the values and beliefs of the fallen world, worldliness can distract, distort, and discourage our spiritual growth.
- The devil and his demons are the fallen spiritual beings that are at war with the kingdom of God. They are the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” that engage Christians in spiritual warfare, seeking to “devour” our physical and spiritual lives through various “schemes” and “flaming darts” (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
- The flesh is fallen humanity’s inner desire and inclination to disobey God’s Word and sin against him and others.