Congratulations on your recent graduation. You have put in long hours, hard work, and now you find yourself on the precipice of a summer of fun as you look forward to the next step toward adulthood (and not to spoil your fun this summer, but adulting is hard work too).
As you make your plans for the next step in your journey of life, pause for a moment and consider the words of a wise man who once said these words:
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent (Proverbs 1:8–10).
Whatever you have planned for the future, remember the words of Solomon. In his own words, he had walked down the pathway of rebellion in this world and tasted of sin. In his own words it was “vanity of vanities” and a wasted life (Ecc. 1).
Over the course of your life, you’ve been warned, lectured, taught, prayed over, counseled, disciplined, and given directions by your mother and father. Don’t despise your training in righteousness—it was and remains for your good.
When you cross paths with people who lack restraint and love rebellion remember your father’s instruction. When you find yourself being tempted to sin and to rebel against your God, remember your mother’s teaching. The season of instruction, teaching, and many prayers around the supper table were not just for formality. They were to prepare you for the season you find yourself entering now. The time spent in the living room reading the Bible was not just to keep you from your video games or your text conversations with your friends. It had a purpose and that purpose was to prepare you for today.
Today you are preparing to leave home. You’re preparing to take the next steps in life and that can be quite intimidating at times. Never forsake the Word of God that was taught to you and that has the ability not only to convert your soul but to lead you and guide you down the path of righteousness (Ps. 119:105; 2 Tim. 3:14-17).
Soon enough you will find yourself crossing paths with a specific crowd of people who love sin and walk down the pathway of rebellion (Prov. 5). They might invite you to join their party. As you evaluate them closely, you will not find the graceful garland or pendants upon them that are marks of God’s Word and the faithful instruction of parents who have loved them and spent time with them in the sacred Scriptures. You should be able to spot such temptation by now. It should appear as bright as a red barn in a massive lush green field. Stand firm (Eph. 6:10-18).
Make sure that you follow the path of righteousness and that you keep your eye on the end goal as you journey on in the faith. Don’t be enticed by the trappings of Vanity Fair—be like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress who was fixed on the exit to the wicked city when he entered.
According to statistics—most teenagers leave their church when they leave their parent’s home. Sure they return to visit mom and dad, but they leave church behind. Don’t make that mistake. Remember that the church is God’s will for your life. It does not matter what your plans are from this point forward—keep the local church at the center of your life. No small group Bible study or YouTube playlist can suffice. You need the church (Eph. 4:11-16). You need pastors who will love you and shepherd your soul. Don’t despise their authority (Heb. 13:17). All of those Sunday mornings, evening services, and midweek prayer meetings were not so that you could have more friends or keep membership in a religious club. It was for the good of your soul. You didn’t memorize Bible verses to earn patches on a vest. It was to prepare you for today.
Remember your father’s instruction and your mother’s teaching did not originate with them (2 Tim. 3:16). The wisdom they shared with you and the counsel they provided you through the years came from God’s Word. Keep a warm heart and committed focus upon the Scriptures. It was Jonathan Edwards, who at a young age, penned these words in his list of Resolutions:
Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
You might have gone through a season where you thought you knew more than your parents—but soon enough that season will come to an abrupt close. When you soon juggle insurance, mortgage payments, tax deadlines, maintenance on your home and vehicle, balancing your checkbook, and a hundred other things your parents do each day—your respect level will grow for them for sure. However, in all of your getting in life—get wisdom and instruction from the Lord.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, Get insight (Proverbs 4:7).
Remember your parents. They love you.
Remember your Lord—He has loved you with a love that is unbelievable.
Remember you need the church.
Remember to not waste your life.
Remember to do everything for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)!
Remember to love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)!