There is a bill board in a city south of here that states “labor pain does not stop at birth.”  Undoubtedly, the message presented was addressing the challenges that face parents in raising their children.  Paul admonished fathers to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4 b).  There is much joy to see children place their faith in Christ, believing that He died for their sins and rose again. These youths have the assurance of the living presence of the Godhead in their lives.  Possessing a new nature that comes with the new birth, they have an opportunity to develop a walk with the Lord.  While we think of adults as being the mature ones in the faith, there are many young people who have made the Word of God the vibrant factor in their lives.  Age is not a factor in spiritual maturity.  Every generation of Christians, young and old, have the same privilege of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Apostle John expressed his admiration for a family in which a lady and some of her children were examples of living a life that was worthy of Christ.  “How happy I was to find that some of your children live in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (2 John 4 TEV). For those to whom John was referring, as well as to us, living in the Truth demands the consistent execution of two essential factors in the spiritual life.  The first is being in fellowship or filled with the Spirit.  In writing to the churches in Galatia, Paul urged … “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal 5:16 NASB).  That means, keeping short accounts with God so that when sin is committed, it is quickly confessed to the Father.  John expressed God’s provision for restoration to fellowship when he wrote … “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9-10).  This is a grace provision which restores the filling of the Spirit, thus placing the believer in a posture to serve the Lord and glorify Christ.  In this condition of having no unconfessed sin in the Christian’s life, God the Holy Spirit is able to accomplish His work in and through that individual.  Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians … “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:13). Paul reminded the Ephesians that … “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). However, for the Spirit of God to be effective in directing and enabling one’s spiritual walk, the individual must have knowledge of the Word of God. This second essential factor provides the material which the Holy Spirit uses to mentor and accomplish His work within the realm of the believer’s life and area of influence.  The Apostle challenged Christians to learn and effectively use the Scriptures in their daily lives … “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15 NASB). “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:9-11 NIV).  Paul’s prayer is for all believers irrespective of age.  The secret to living a life that is honoring to God regardless of the circumstances of life was expressed by a teenager enslaved at the hands of the Babylonians … “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105).  “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11).  “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word” (Ps 119:114).

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