Today we‘re continuing in our message series called “Stages of Life.” In this series, we’re looking at five stages that we all pass through in life. Last Sunday, we looked at the first stage, from childhood through the teen years in our message Growing Up.
Today’s message is entitled Young Adult Challenges. We’re going to be looking at the second life stage when people are in their twenties. Many important and life changing decisions are made in this life stage. Decisions about marriage, career and major purchases, such as automobiles and homes are made. Outside of spiritual choices, the biggest decision often made in this stage is whom to marry.
The reason that marriage is the biggest decision is that marriage was designed by God to be a life-long commitment. In marriage, the Bible says that two people become one flesh. It’s very important that young adults pursue God’s guidance in deciding whom to marry.
Proverbs 18:22 (ESV) He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
When it is the Lord that brings two people together in marriage, that marriage will be blessed by the Lord. Often young adults think that they have to go searching for a mate, that it is up to them to find the one that God has for them. They may become worried if years pass after college and they have not yet been married. However, the Bible teaches that when we seek God’s kingdom first, then He will meet all our needs, including the need for a believing spouse.
Genesis 2:22 (ESV) And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
In the very first marriage between Adam and Eve, God brought Eve to Adam. God is the ultimate best match maker. As a young adult, you don’t have to chase after a mate, thinking that life doesn’t really begin until marriage. Be patient, wait for God’s timing. Don’t settle for someone who is not the right match for you, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. And while you are single, realize that God has plans for your life in that stage. Use that phase of your life to serve the Lord and God will prepare you for the future.
Proverbs 4:21 (ESV) Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.
This verse from Proverbs speaks keeping God’s Word in view and within your heart. Much of today’s culture values things that are not godly and devalues godly things. How can a person keep God’s Word within their heart? Simply by establishing a daily habit of reading, thinking about and applying the Word to their lives.
As we have already noted, the principles of God’s Word are essential to making wise decisions at this life stage. The instructions of God’s Word provide a guard around the lives of single young adults. The next verse goes on to say …
Proverbs 4:22 (ESV) For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
God’s Word is not just ink spots on a piece of paper. Following God’s instructions bring spiritual life to those who find them. God’s Word also brings healing to those who value them. This healing can be physical, emotional and spiritual Paul writes in the New Testament about the differences between single and married life.
1 Corinthians 7:32 (ESV) I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.
Paul himself was single at this point in his ministry. He writes that a single person can completely focus on the things of God in their life. That is because as a single young adult, you have no immediate family responsibilities. You can therefore direct your full attention to serving the Lord. On the other hand,
1 Corinthians 7:33 (ESV) But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife,
A married person has to be concerned about worldly things, such as supporting their entire family. In this verse, worldly things are not sinful things, but simply responsibilities that they have before God for their spouse and children. The mentions that the married man should be concerned about how to please his wife. This is what a believing married man should do, nothing wrong with it at all.
If you read the whole passage, you learn that God calls some to remain single for a longer period than normal or even for their entire lives. Yet others are called to be married and to serve God in that state. The overall thrust of the passage is that God does call some to be single for a longer than normal period of time and a few to remain single for the rest of their lives. Young adults who are single should be focused on pleasing the Lord in all aspects of their lives.
Every person goes through the single stage of life. God decides how long that stage should last as you seek His kingdom first. The life of a young adult single should not be consumed with searching for a spouse. Rather, the life of a single person of any age should be concentrated for serving God.
As you keep God at the center of your life, you prepare yourself for the marriage that God has for most young adults. Each stage of life prepares you for the next stage, if you seek God within it. Use the greater freedom you have as a single to do great things for God. That will prepare you for marriage to another single who is also serving God wholeheartedly. God is the ultimate matchmaker and He will bring the mate He has for you to you in His timing.
1 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
One of the primary temptations of the single life is to disregard the moral boundaries of God’s Word and to engage in sex outside of marriage. In America today, over half of all marriages are preceded by the couple living together. Over 40% of children in America are born to parents who are not married.
These ungodly habits have made huge inroads into the church. Half of all professing Christians think that living together before marriage is acceptable if the couple has dated more than six months. Yet, God’s Word is clear. Sex of any kind outside of marriage is sin. Sex outside of marriage brings negative consequences to both partners.
Contrary to popular opinion, living together before marriage increases rather than decrease the likelihood of divorce. Breaking God’s Word always has bad effects. The verse we just read indicates that sex outside of marriage affects the bodies of the people involved in negative ways.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 (ESV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
This verse contrasts sanctification with sexual immorality. Sanctification is the ongoing process by which a Christian becomes holy, consecrated to God and separated from sin. God’s will is for the young adult believer to pursue sanctification and holiness. Part of growing in sanctification is staying far away from sexual sins of all kinds. Walking in purity involves staying away from media that inflames sexual passions and causes lustful thoughts.
2 Timothy 2:22 (ESV) So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
This verse describes fleeing or running away from ungodly youth passions. And running toward or pursuing the things of God, including righteousness and faith. Who is going to be pursuing godliness? Those who are praying from a pure heart. In fact, this indicates that surrounding yourself with godly friends who are also pursuing righteousness is a key remaining pure in an impure world. Those who surround themselves with friends who are pursuing worldly passions will struggle to remain pure.
Let’s talk for a minute about sanctification, the process of growing in holiness. Sanctification is not a one-time event, it is an ongoing process. A process that continues throughout life. When one surround themselves with godly friends, you are strengthened to remain pure as you pursue righteousness together.
One myth that is prevalent, even among believers, is that your friends need to be people exactly like yourself. The Bible teaches the exact opposite of this belief. Young adults are to learn primarily from older more mature believers who have grown over the years in holiness. Through those kinds of relationships in a church family, young adults can remain pure.
Ephesians 5:33 (ESV) However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Establishing family as a young adult involves first of all finding the spouse that God has chosen for you. I believe the Bible teaches that God has a specific believer chosen for a believing young adult to marry and He will bring the two of you together in His timing. If you are seeking God’s will and following His direction, you will find that one.
Does that mean that every believing young adult is going to marry God’s choice? No, certainly not. But once you are married, then the person you are married to becomes God’s choice and He will help you make it a God-honoring marriage.
This whole passage in Ephesians 5 talks about the marriage relationship. This verse instructs the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church and for the wife to respect and submit to her husband. As both partners grow in following God’s instructions, the marriage will flourish.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Children are a blessing that God brings into the marriage as the family is established. The primary responsibility for teaching the children about God rests with the parents. Parents are to teach their children in the home the word of God. This is to be something that should go on in some respect every day.
Parents should pray and seek to lead each of their children to salvation early in life. Of course, part of teaching children about God is to bring them into the church family, where they will receive additional instruction. However, simply bringing children to church and not teaching them God’s Word at home will seldom lead to a child walking diligently with God. That is another reason that parents need to be growing together in God so that they are able to teach their children God’s Word.
Psalm 127:3 (ESV) Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
One final important verse about establishing a believing family. Children are not a burden to be endured, they are gifts from the Lord, a reward to their parents. And they are the next generation of believers, that will carry the torch of the Gospel to the world.
Our prayers for our children should be that they will ultimately take the cause of Christ further and with more faith than their parents. That each generation will stand on the shoulders of the prior generation and see greater things for God, An important part of young adult life is to establish their family in the Lord’ timing and in His way.
Marriage between one man and one woman was created by God is the only sexual relationship that God blesses. This is the most important decision, that a believing young adult can make in this life stage. Studies show that a relationship that parents of both partners endorse has the greatest probability of long-term success. Young adults should seek the counsel of their parents in their dating relationships.
Raising godly children in a sinful culture is not easy, but God is there to help young families bring their children up in the Lord. In a Christian family, there are wonderful blessings, as well as big responsibilities. Yet, God is there to help you establish a family that honors Him.
The age in which we live has many challenges that young adults face. Yet, it also is an exciting time to live, as young adults follow the Lord in all their decisions. As you live life as a single young adult, guard your heart by keeping it in God’s Word.
Don’t view your time of singleness as simply a waiting period for marriage. The time of being single is a unique period in life to serve the Lord and to prepare for marriage. Seek God’s help to remain pure, in thought and action.
Flee from impurity and pursue holiness in every aspect of life. Don’t be afraid to be different then those around you. Follow Jesus, not the crowd.
Finally, follow God’s direction and godly counsel in finding a spouse to marry. Establish your marriage and your family on biblical principles. God will bring great blessing into your life as you follow Jesus.