2 Timothy 2:22
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Why is it that it seems that many young people grow up in good homes and go to great churches, but when they become adults they go the way of the world? Many churches and heartbroken parents question if they were too hard on young people causing them to go wayward. I believe the answer to this question can be found in the verse above.
Paul commanded Timothy to “Flee also youthful lusts…” He told Timothy that the way to flee these lusts is by following “righteousness, faith, charity, peace.” Certainly, every parent would love for their child to live a righteous life. Every youth department would love to turn out young people who are following the faith, are lovable, and get along with others. “Righteousness, faith, charity, peace” is how every person is to live for Christ.
But, what is the answer to getting our youth to continue following these things once they go live on their own? The answer is the next two words, “…with them.” Paul told Timothy to follow after “righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Paul knew that the key to Timothy continuing was to have the right friends. If a person keeps their friends right, their faith and lifestyle will stay right. It always comes down to friends.
It is always a friend problem when people go wayward. Galatians 3:1 says, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you…” Paul asked these people in Galatians 5:7, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” The Galatian church was “bewitched” by a person. This church was hindered by a person. Most of the problems with youth is not what they are doing, but who they are doing it with.
Parents, if you want your children to do right, you are going to have to watch who they spend time with. Too many parents are aloof when it comes to their children’s friends. Every person who has ever gone astray from the LORD has done so because of a friend who influenced them in another way. As a parent, you need to know who your children spend time with. You would be wise to show up at unexpected times to see who they play with. Parent, don’t be afraid to ask your children’s leaders who they tend to play with and spend time with. If they have the wrong friends, stop it immediately.
Moreover, when your children constantly do wrong, correct the wrong, but also find out who is influencing them. It should be an alarm in every parent’s mind to find out who your children are being influenced by when they constantly do wrong. Someone is influencing them, and that is why they are not doing right.
Furthermore, be sure that your children spend time with those who not only do right but also do right with a pure heart. Paul was quick to point out to Timothy that the motives of those he does right with are important. Some young people only do right when they have to, but you want your children to spend time with those who do works of righteousness when others aren’t around. You will have a greater chance of your children doing right if you make sure they do right with those who have the heart to do right. Always remember that a heart problem is most likely a friend problem.