One hears a lot of talk about the “now generation.” It may be a bit difficult to determine what the expression means, but the general idea seems to be quite evident. Especially the youth of today wants to do their thing NOW. They are unhappy with the “establishment” and want to change it, and that right now. They express their resentment against the established order of things by wearing long unkempt hair, matted beards, filthy, tattered clothing, and show a complete disregard for all law and order. They resort to demonstrations, riots, destruction of property, and, if need be, to revolution. Although they have nothing constructive to offer, they want a change, and they want it now.
Even that does not fully describe the NOW people. Many of them refuse to work. They want to enjoy life to the full; to get everything out of living that they possibly can. They may use beer and hard liquor, but they even more readily resort to drugs. They try to escape reality by getting “high,” by making a “trip,” by bringing themselves into a state of “ecstasy.” Many of them rock and sway with their rock and roll music. Some blasphemously associate themselves with Jesus, Who is also regarded as being opposed to the establishment of His time. As “Jesus’ children” they add their “religious strain” to their sensual music. The pagans in their idolatrous immorality could not outdo them. Many of the now generation indulge freely in sexual intercourse outside of marriage, yet refusing to assume the responsibilities that normally accompany marital relationships. They make free use of the pill, and, if that fails, they want the freedom to practice abortion. They would like to escape the venereal diseases that result from their promiscuous living, but already these diseases have reached epidemic proportions in many, areas of our country. America is swiftly becoming the filthiest, most immoral nation of the world. The result is misery, disgust with living, while the institutions for the mentally ill are overcrowded, and suicides “to escape it all” are on the increase.
The now generation is not waiting to fill up the cup of iniquity at some future date. They are filling their measure as fast as they can right now. This is only another sign of the times, warning us that the end of the ages is upon us. For what can come of all this? Only lawlessness, open defiance of all decency and morality, internal revolution, and world wide chaos must follow. The future looks very dark.
Yet that is the righteous judgment of God upon those who ruthlessly trample His law into the mire of sin. “Vanity of vanities,” saith the preacher, “all is vanity,” even everlastingly into hell. (Ecclesiastes 1.)
And because the preacher was wise, he gave, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sage advice to the covenant youth of his day, which applies just as much, if not more so, today. He tells them that they may and can do what no one else can do. They can “do their thing.” They can live their lives to the full, following freely the dictates of their hearts and minds. Just listen to him: “Rejoice, O young man (and young woman, for that matter) in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the sight of thine eyes.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9).
A teenager is strong. In the strength of his youth he can flex his muscles, work hard and fast, and even find time to test his strength and skill in various sports. As a young woman she is like a bud unfolding in her tender, feminine beauty. She also stands in the virgin strength and vitality of youth. Covenant young people are, likewise, spiritually strong. They are new creatures in Christ with renewed, sanctified hearts. Their minds are devoted to God and to His Christ, according to that new life of the Spirit. They are able to resist evil and the evil one; ready and capable through prayer to make some of the most vital decisions of life.
A teenager is alert. This is the time to learn, and the inclination of heart is there to probe deeply into things, devour greedily more knowledge, absorb it, and stow it away in the most uncanny computer of all, the human brain. In God’s covenant he acquires knowledge of the Scriptures, of his God, and of his Christ. He sees God’s handiwork in creation, even as he experiences God’s grace in his heart. He recognizes his divinely appointed place in his family, in the church, and in the midst of the world.
The teenager is care-free. No, covenant youth is not careless or indifferent. But he is not yet burdened with the cares of life. He may often feel as if he is carrying all the problems of the world on his young shoulders, but actually he is not yet personally concerned about the many perplexities of life.
He can remove from him the sorrow for sin by way of repentance, and thus experience the joy of forgiveness. He is able to fight sin, even the sin that works so powerfully within his old nature. He knows that the paths of sin, as enticing as they may be, are slippery paths of worry, trouble, misery, yes, in one word, death. For apart from God, childhood and youth are vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:10).
And therefore, covenant youth, you are the genuine, the only proper NOW generation. As the wise preacher, still under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, left you the sage advice: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”
Always keep in mind your Maker.
He is the living God, Who, some six thousand years ago, created heaven and earth by the word of His power. It was not necessary for Him to depend on some slow process of evolution within creation. He knew that the smallest microbe could never come into being, could not even exist apart from Him, much less could develop into different creatures of various kinds. He spoke and it was; He commanded and it stood forth; for He called the things that were not as though they were. We know that, trust in it, and rejoice in it by faith.
He created you. He formed you as. an individual, with your own’ personality, your own nature, your own peculiar gifts and talents, to take the divinely appointed place in life which only you can fill. You are a distinct masterpiece produced by the Hand of the Master-Craftsman, the living God in Christ Jesus. He had His own purpose in making you exactly what you are, so that, under the guidance of His Spirit, you can walk in those good works which He has appointed for you. You have your own place in the church, to work out your own salvation to the welfare of others, and thus to the glory of His Name. (Eph. 2:10). Committing your way to Him in prayer, He guides you in all your decisions, so that you have the assurance of His “well-done.”
Remember Him Who created you with the sole purpose of re-creating you in Christ as His son or His daughter, as a member of the family of God, to enter into the assembly of the saints in heaven, to serve Him forever in the new creation.
By grace you can follow the dictates of your sanctified heart. You can see with a spiritual eye all God’s mighty works. You can stand in the strength of youth, resisting all evil, defending the right.
In that sense you are the NOW generation that can do your own thing. And you must do it now. Don’t waste your time in sinful wanderings. Don’t make rash, sinful decisions that burden you the rest of your life. Do prepare yourself, like a runner training himself to run a race, for life’s demands. Even now work the work of the Lord, redeeming the time, so that when the burdensome days of old age are upon you, you may benefit still from what you acquired in your youth. And afterward, be ready to receive the crown of life.