Financial independence and the power of money
The taste of financial independence is a sheer joy and pleasure to many young adults. Once they were strapped with limited financial resources and have to depend on their parents for sustenance. Now being able to work and gain financial freedom has empowered young adults to get what they have always wanted. As one literally experiences the power of money and what it can do, one can be affected by it in many ways.
First, the young adult’s calling as a good steward is challenged. They may be tempted to only spend what they have earned on themselves. It may affect their desire to give cheerfully to support the work of the Lord in the church as they realize the opportunity costs of having to give up a certain lifestyle or to forgo buying a certain item that they crave for. The desire to contribute to the church’s needs is frequently challenged by one’s own desire for more earthly things, pleasures and pursuits. Unwittingly, young Christian adults can get caught up in the pursuits of material and worldly gains. The temptation to accumulate more wealth can cause the young Christian adult to work hard at the job in order to be able to afford the things that one desires after. This is particularly true in an age of materialism and self-gratification. It will start to blur one’s Christian’s perspective and calling as a pilgrim and stranger in this world. This is a great danger young Christian adults must be wary of and seek to avoid. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24, Luke 16:13).
One aspect of holiness for the singles has to do with how one deals with loneliness. Loneliness can have a debilitating effect on young Christian adults who are trying to cope with singlehood. Loneliness can drive young adults to be involved in all sorts of activities to fill up the voids in their lives. They can end up indulging in work or pleasures; or drowning their feeling of loneliness in unending activities, videos/TV/movies watching, attending courses, etc. The more sociable ones may seek companionships and find solace in their friends through clubbing, drinking, pleasures, fun, etc. However, if young single Christian adults could devote more of their life and time in the church and God’s work, they could divert their energies to the service of God’s people and be more involved in the life of the church.
One significant and constant challenge of young Christian adults is to know the Lord’s will regarding their calling to be single. As one sees more of their peers getting married and having covenant children, one becomes more and more concerned of being ‘unmarriageable’. The temptation to compromise grows stronger as one pines for companionship or longs to be married. One has to remain steadfast, be very prayerful, constantly seek the Lord’s will and wait upon the Lord to provide; and not to ‘take things into our own hands’ and be unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14).
One other challenge of young single Christians is the tendency to have wrong motivations to remain as singles. One possible reason could be that to stay single, one could have more free time for oneself without having to think about the spouse’s or child’s needs. Furthermore, one could use all the monies earned entirely on one’s wants and needs without reservation or inhibition.
Young single Christians need to be reminded that as the bride of Christ, married to the Lord, they are to be wholly consecrated to Him too. They also have a role to play in the church as they are more likely to have more time to participate in church activities or to serve the church. Like what Paul says in 1 Cor. 7:32-34, singles need not be cumbered with the affairs of married life and upbringing of children. They have more time to engage in the Lord’s work. They can also spend a good part of their time growing in the faith and knowledge of God’s word through reading good Christian books, listening to good sermons online, attending Bible studies, etc.
As a Married Couple
Young married Christian couples also have their fair share of challenges in their marriages. They have to struggle to fulfil their new roles in their marriage: the young husband learns to exercise his headship responsibly and lovingly, loves his wife, provides for the family, leads in family devotions, etc., while the young wife learns willing and loving submission to her husband, loves her husband, be a keeper at home, cares for the family’s needs, etc.
When the first child arrives, besides adjusting to the new arrival, the challenge is to learn how not to allow the baby to dictate the couple’s lives. While it is true that in the initial months after birth, the disorientated baby will soon follow a certain schedule, do not be afraid to upset the schedule some of the time so that as young couples you are not cut off from fellowship with others. The addition of a newborn should not prevent you from serving in the church either.
One of the challenges faced by young Christian couples is managing time for one another and yet be able to maintain their own personal space. They have to be careful that their earthly cares do not take precedence over the spiritual demands of the family and yet be able balance their time to be involved in the church. They have to prioritise their time so that they do not forego spending personal time with one another as well as spending time together learning God’s word and encouraging one another as couples.
Another challenge faced by young Christian couples is in the area of finances. The couple has to agree on how the finances are managed and what they spend on. The husband ought to consult his wife on their expenditures especially on big ticket items before making any decisions. Decision should be properly made after having discussed thoroughly with his wife. The young husband will soon learn that it is better to have the blessings of his wife than to deal with a fallout.
‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ can be a temptation to young Christian couples. Relying only on one breadwinner will take its toll inevitably on what kind of house one stays in, whether to buy a car, whether to eat in some fancy restaurant, or where to go for holidays, etc. One has to learn to be content (Phi. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:8; Heb 13:5a) with what God has provided and not compare themselves with what other families have or can do. One has to learn to live within the means God has provided the family.
What we have seen above are challenges and temptations that constantly affect you as young Christian adults as you struggle to live a holy life. Whether as singles or as married couples, you realise that it is an uphill battle you have to fight each day with the three-fold enemy of self, Satan and the world. It is not easy. You are constantly reminded of your depravity and weaknesses each time you fall into temptations. However, do not be discouraged. The path you are taking is one trodden by many fellow Christians before you. The circumstances may be different, but the challenges and temptations remain very much the same. Seek the older brothers and sisters for their godly advice and encouragement. One has to be constantly reminded that our Christian life is that of a pilgrim and stranger on this earth. We have no abiding place here. We are to “lay up treasures in heaven, where neither moth and rust doth corrupt … for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:20-21). God, through our pilgrimage, is preparing us for the life above. By the power of His grace, cleave unto the LORD your God (Josh. 23:8) and turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left (Josh. 23:6). He will surely bring you through your life’s journey till you reach the heavenly shores.
Written by: Wee Gim Theng | Issue 50