The Story Of Two Young Men

Scripture tells Christians to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature and yield to the Holy Spirit. Some Christians will put to death their spiritual nature and yield to their sinful nature.

Unfortunately, some young Christians are more focused on the short-term and the short-term consequences of allowing one’s sinful nature to reign than they are in realizing what the long-term consequences might be. I have lived long enough to have witnessed the short-term and long-term consequences of Christians who have yielded to their earthly natures and those who have yielded to the Holy Spirit. Of course no two situations are ever exactly the same. But I believe the two I am going to describe are fairly typical and they illustrate the differences in choices.

One young man was very outgoing, quick to laugh and easy to get to know. He had an engaging personality and most couldn’t help but like him. He attended church with some regularity but on the few occasions when he was offered an opportunity to serve, he declined claiming he didn’t have time for it. Nevertheless, he had confessed a belief in Christ and seemed to have made a token effort to serve Him. At work he was a different person. He was both ruthless and aggressive and made no effort to conceal his willingness to make decisions regardless of how it would affect anyone else. Words like loyalty, compassion and civic responsibility were not in his vocabulary.

Years later the consequences of his behavior became more evident. His church attendance had dwindled from occasional, to every now and then, to holidays. He was still outgoing, but not as much. He still laughed but it was shallow and he was no longer easy to get to know. In later years I would describe him as being withdrawn. He had become somewhat paranoid, somewhat mean-spirited and hard. He was very successful yet he demonstrated little joy in his success. Only God and the man himself know what personal price he paid for his success.

The second young man made an all-out commitment to serve Christ. His personality and temperament were similar to his counterpart and in the early years there was little noticeable difference between them. Yet he did his best to yield his life to the leading of the Holy Spirit and over the years he too changed. I would describe him in later years as a man turned outward. People were comfortable with him. They felt a kinship with him even when he made unpopular decisions, though admittedly this is only my impression. He did not appear to be as successful as his counterpart, yet he demonstrated a certain joy in his career and personal life. Again, only God and the man himself know the spiritual rewards he received by serving God rather than being self-serving. But from outward appearances, the rewards were beyond calculation.

I believe the moral to this story is that those whom I have witnessed and have seen make an all-out commitment to serve Christ can understand the joy and the advantages that accompanies doing things God’s way. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

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