Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10)
Have Fun But Be Careful
Life is a series of transitions from infancy, adolescence, young adulthood, maturity, and old age. Each portion of life has its blessings and dangers. There is discovery in the heart of an infant. The adolescent is sorting out feelings of identity. Young adults investigate the avenues of life with deep curiosity. The age of maturity is when life becomes more real with responsibilities. Old age is a time of reflection and awareness of mortality. Some of life’s most important decisions will be found in that time of investigation when the spirit of youthfulness runs down the paths of adventure, seeking answers to life. God created man to enter each phase of life with a unique pattern of knowledge, preparing them for the next. That time when young men and women open their hearts to the world can be enjoyable and rewarding.
God created the days of youth to be a time of joy. The Lord tells young people they are living in a wonderful time of life. There is no reason not to enjoy what God has created. Youth is a time of energy and fun when hearts are carefree and not burdened with the issues of life. God wants young people to enjoy every minute of life, soaking in all the gusto of a time in life that seems unbounded. The days of youth fade quickly, and God desires young people to embrace the energy that will one day be gone. Yes, youthfulness is a time of unlimited vitality, but it comes with a cost. The Lord warns young people not to sow their wild oats and expect a crop failure. What they reap in their youth comes due for the rest of their lives.
The warning the Lord gives is a sobering reality that one cannot spend his youth in folly and not suffer consequences. For every action of youthful failure, there will be a time when the debt comes due. God encourages young people to enjoy life and do what they enjoy, but only with the knowledge that every action comes with a penalty. Everyone will give an account before God for everything they have done in life. The advice of wisdom to young people is to enjoy life but never make decisions that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. A shadow of guilt for mistakes made in youth will never make life the full purpose God intended. Many a man has entered the latter part of life looking back at the mistakes of youth with deep regret. God tells young people to live in such a way as to diminish regrets in life.
There is a judgment that comes upon the young and the old. Sometimes, the judgments come to bear in life. Sexual immorality may be fun in youth, but infidelity will scar a soul for life. There are consequences to the freedom one thinks he has as a young man or woman. When maturity comes later in life, reflecting on past decisions will make it difficult to deal with future realities. God warns young people to enjoy life but measure their decisions with the counsel of sowing and reaping. He counsels young people to put away sorrow and remain pure. Do not allow evil to corrupt the joy of youth. There is a judgment coming that will not bring happiness. Life is painted as a time of freedom to let young people live without restraints. The wisdom of God teaches the consequences of youth will live on in life. Life is better lived with restraint to enjoy a time of joy without the consequences of youthful decisions.
God reminds young people there is another judgment coming. This judgment comes when all men stand before the Creator. Solomon ends his thesis on life, reminding everyone that God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. That includes secret things of youth, good things of youth, and evil things of youth. Everything will be there. The best advice is for the young man and woman to enjoy life and live full lives with youthful energy – but to do so with a cautionary warning to sow seeds of righteousness. It is much easier to harvest a crop of goodness than evil. Enjoy life. Make right decisions.