A brief study of the lives of some people in the Bible (including the challenges they faced) should be able to give us a good idea of what is meant here by a Christian youth standing out in a generation like ours.
Joseph, for instance, separated himself from the ungodly conducts of his brethren though his position in his family was such that he could easily have been influenced, intimidated and dissuaded from the truth and right way (Genesis 37:2). But he shunned evil and when he was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt, he also fled from an opportunity to commit a very grievous sin which many other youths would have eagerly grabbed (Genesis 39:7-12).
Again, among the persons selected to represent the great Hebrew congregation in a special task concerning the future of Israel and their conquest of other nations, the edifying report and thoughtful comments of Caleb and Joshua distinguished them from their colleagues whose reports had plunged the whole nation into confusion, mourning and murmuring, and eventually attracted the displeasure of God. Indeed, Caleb and Joshua won a place in God’s heart with their own good report (Numbers 13:1-3, 17-33; 14:1-12, 26-30).
Also, when many of the children of Israel began to partake in the sinful lifestyles of the ungodly nations around them, and even joined in the worship of their gods, God’s anger was physically demonstrated. He (God) requested that the heads (leaders) of the people be hanged. While a very solemn session of deep mourning and mass repentance was going on in the camp of Israel, some frivolous fellow sought to compound the already bad situation by fueling the anger of God with his odious action of bringing a strange woman into the camp, while the people were still crying and repenting before the Lord. But Phinehas who was able to interpret the situation accurately and knew what might further happen if an urgent action was not undertaken, rose quickly to the occasion and destroyed the evil doers and thus turned away God’s wrath from the camp of Israel(Numbers 25:1-9).
After encountering Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, Paul began to go for only those things that were expedient, not allowing himself to be pre-occupied with the things he regarded as non-essentials though other people were being brought under the bondage of those things (1Corinthians 6:12; cons. 1Corinthians 8:13).
David in all his dealings with Saul would not repay evil with evil even when he had a number of opportunities to do so and please those who were with him who were itching to hurt Saul because of all the evils he had done against David (1Samuel 24:1-11). On His part, the Lord Jesus Christ, our perfect Example, would not compromise His righteousness in the face of daunting challenges and false promises from the wicked one (Matthew 4:1-11), etc.
Having carefully and prayerfully examined the few examples above, you must by now have in your mind a clear understanding of what it means to stand out and live by that decision. A youth who has chosen to stand out is one that has decided and made every effort to be different, walking and living a life different from and opposed to the ‘acceptable’ ways, norms, principles and lifestyles of the present world; his aim would be to please God at all times and excel above others. This preference must be clearly demonstrated and manifest to all (cons. Matthew 5:13-16).
Having now known what it means to stand out from among others, we will now like to know how a Christian youth desirous of lifting up the Lord’s banner in this our time can do so.
READ TOMORROW: How the Christian Youth Can Stand Out