There has arisen a generation of young people in the world which seek ever more and different activity. They can well be called the “go-go generation.”
One reads in the daily papers of the student demonstrations and protests. These burn draft cards. They march with their placards repeating slogans concerning the ending of certain wars, the breaking down of color barriers, and the need for greater freedom to experiment with drugs of various sorts.
One sees youth walking with their beards and long hair; with their tight and short skirts and bare feet. There is imitation of favorite singers, of movie starts.
To have entertainment, fun, is a national craze. The entertainment must be novel, daring, morally questionable. There must be parties involving “wine, women, and song.”
Youth begin to have that heady conviction that they have power. They aim to topple governments. They seek to usher in a new order—one which pleases their fancy. Youth will shape the world into that utopia it seeks. In their eyes, nothing is sacred or holy any more.
For youth, those of this world, there is nothing firm or established either. The old laws are outdated. Religion has no place. The Bible is not true. The standards of the past are outmoded. One must establish that which is new and relevant to this age. We must make for ourselves another “morality” than that which was true in the past. We must not be bound by all sorts of rules and regulations: thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not kill. Rather the principle of love must motivate us. With it, all things are possible. There can be adultery, robbery, or even murder.
It’s the “go-go generation.” It is not new or basically different from that of the past. Generation after generation has seen much of the same thing. But recent years has brought development. Modern communication can link the youth of all nations that they can readily imitate the worst that is manifest in the various areas of the world. Modern inventions can allow for more “fun,” more corruption, than has ever been seen in the history of this earth.
And the end is not yet.
We must face it. What is appealing to youth generally in this world, is a great temptation also to the youth of the church of Christ. You are human. You are born also out of Adam. The entertainment of this world does attract. When we seek a good time, the world has many things to offer.
Nor are the temptations the same as they were in the days of your fathers and grandfathers. Then there was far greater division between the world and the church. Then there was not television and radio to present the world within our homes. Then there were not the movie theatres to tempt. Wickedness there was in abundance. But it was not so readily accessible to them. No, your forefathers were not perfect. They too devised many ways to sin against the laws of God. Though they were not as closely connected with the world about them, they carried with them that same old nature which you have.
But we live today in the last times. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is again today. Man continues his mad way to destruction ignoring the fact that judgment is at hand. He has developed much in the ways of sin. He makes use of the many inventions of our time to accomplish his evil desires.
And where do you fit it? You are a normal person. You are filled with vitality. You want things to do and places to go. No one sits home all the time anymore. The ideas of your parents seem obviously out-of-date, particularly so since they did not at all live in times as you do when they were young.
There are two related dangers into which you, as covenant youth, can easily fall. First of all, there is the very real danger that you find time only for the natural. With all the emphasis upon action, upon involvement in this world, there would appear to be no time for anything but this. There is not merely the godless, evil things which can be done, but there is the question of the use of your time. Youth tend to use every available moment for selfish purposes.
On the other hand, there is little or no time for any spiritual activities. That is what this world (and the devil) wants for you too. If you have no time for spiritual activities, you will pass from youth to adulthood without knowing the fundamental truths of Scripture, without knowing the confessions of the church, and you will be a prime target for every wind of false doctrine which blows in our day.
It is not easy to be a Protestant Reformed young person in 1966!
“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments; for length of days and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. So shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:1-4). Many other words of wisdom are spoken to covenant youth in this book. This fact must be seen there: the children of the church, covenant seed, are to be distinct from those of the world. It is a shame when youth of the church are indistinguishable in dress, action, conversation form the youth of the world. In covenant youth must be evident that fear of the Lord which is the beginning of all wisdom.
I know, you are filled with the enthusiasm of youth. You do not intend to sit home every night of the week—and your parents d not expect you to do this. You want things to do and places to go.
First, do not be so eager to use every extra moment you have in order to be on the “go.” Some young people find no time to study their catechism lessons, no time to prepare for society. This is wrong. God has also given you time to use wisely—and those who find no time for these spiritual activities, are abusing this gift of God to them. You ought to find time to do such things—and do them in that spirited way which seems to fill the youth when engaged in non-spiritual activities. The study of God’s Word ought not to be a bore but a blessing and pleasure.
But also youth want their activities. Again, I say, don’t imitate this “go-go” generation. There must be a greater attempt to seek fellowship with covenant youth. There are many things you can do together which do not involve a fellowship with this world nor a seeking of that corrupt entertainment it has to offer. Find these.
Activities you can find within the church itself. To what extent are your activities purely selfish? Possibly young people can find an outlet for their energies by going to the aged and shut-ins to read to them and speak to them—and pray with them. Does all this sound to you to be boring—even foolish? It may seem that way to us because our standards of judgment are set far too much and too often in harmony with the generation of the youth of this world.
But covenant youth too are a “chosen generation…a peculiar people that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”