Ecclesiastes 11:9 (NKJV)
9 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.
For some weeks now we have been considering the lessons which young men as part of the body of Christ teach us. Solomon reminds us today that young men are full of energy, vision, passion, commitment, goals, dreams and aspirations. And so he exhorts young men to thank God for this energy and enthusiasm. “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.”
The desires to conquer the world, to chart unknown territory, to discover new things – these are good and noble. The reckless abandon with which young men can press ahead and pursue dreams and visions, is a lesson which young men have to teach us as the people of God. Passion is a good thing. So Solomon urges young men to follow these desires. “Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes.” Take advantage of the passion which God has given you – dream lofty dreams, pursue outrageous goals.
Alongside these encouragements, Solomon delivers one reminder to young men in the midst of your passion: be tenacious in holding on to what is good and right. Too many young men allow their passions to direct them in ways that despise truth, goodness, and beauty. Their passions drive them to seek one more sexual encounter, one more drug enduced euphoria, one more victory at the gaming table. Notice what Solomon says, “But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” One day you will give an account for the choices you have made. One day you will answer to God for the way in which your passions have driven you. One day you will no longer be young.
In other words, Solomon is counseling you young men, that your passion can be put to either good use or evil use. If your passion drives you to honor the Living God and uphold His law, then rejoice for you are being precisely the type of young man He wants you to be. If, however, your passion is driving you to despise or ignore God and His statues, then you are in the clutches of the Evil One. Far from being a young man, you are nothing more than Satan’s tool. Too many young men have assumed that just because they feel like doing something, because they are passionate about it, therefore it must be right. Solomon teaches you otherwise. Passion is good – but it must be driven to achieving that which is honorable in the sight of God. Therefore your passion must be regulated by the Word of God.
What then do we as the people of God learn from young men today? Two things. First, the glory of passion. I fear that many of us have forgotten what it is to be passionate. John wrote to the church of Ephesus, “But this I have against you, that you have left your first love.” Have you forgotten what it is to be passionate? Then look at a young man and remember again and imitate him. Second, the danger of passion. We too must ask ourselves, “Have our passions driven us to evil?” Then we too must look at the Word of God and remember what it is we are to be truly passionate about.
Reminded that we have failed to learn the lesson of passion from the young men in our midst, let us kneel and confess our sin to God.