In Nigeria and elsewhere in the world, the role and contributions of young people cannot be overemphasized. We can draw inference on this from the general parlance that says ‘Youths are the leaders of tomorrow’. The age bracket of this class of individuals who fall between 18-40 years, buttresses the above assertion. Young people are endowed with some critical attributes, which give them more edge over people within other age brackets. Prominent among such attributes are; speed, energy, agility, mental alertness, time, and opportunities. These qualify them as veritable tools for any project or venture.
Moreso, youth is a phase that should serve as a bedrock for meeting up with life’s future expectations. The ability to constructively and adequately explore this phase has established a distinction among individuals over the years. However, to possess youthful qualities and potentials does not necessarily translate into relevance and influence; because these attributes are not static. They are subject to change and decline in the face of emerging attractions/alternatives. The responsibility, therefore, rests on a wise youth to maximize the opportunities this transitional phase offers him/her; rather than trivialize them. A youthful age, maximized in the right direction, guarantees a gainfully engaged middle age and a fruitful and peaceful old age. Any act to the contrary breeds regrets.
The relevance of youth to societal change and transformational leadership is a crucial factor that should not be undermined; especially as the transition to the future rests with them. A good example to illustrate this point is the religious and civil rights movement luminary, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He imbibed the fundamental character and principles for positive influence as a youth. This quickened his rise to national prominence and dominance, such that by his late twenties, he was already a major force for transformation in the USA.
Exceptional leaders in the world: from medieval times to date, displayed tremendous influence in their youth. This zeal apparently derives from the fact that the tendency to take risks is higher in youthful age than in the later years of life. This may perhaps account for the general conception in the Church that youths are strategic and ready instruments for godly reformations.
Youths, therefore, have a lot to benefit from this phase of life; particularly those without critical health limitations. The above position is the [expected] basic standard for a godly youth. His/her position in Christ cannot be matched by any other status since this position provides all that is necessary and sufficient for living successfully.(Eph 2:6) The presence of the Holy Spirit in a youth ensures superiority and puts him/her at an advantage over the ordinary. Such a youth becomes the signature of extraordinary accomplishments. Therefore, great expectations are placed on the Christian youth, because of the Holy Spirit’s incredible power to initiate and accomplish great things through them and in them.
Furthermore, the Spirit of God endows the Christian youth with a superior spirit, ideas, concepts, and revelations that set him/her above his/her peers. Just like the three spirit-filled Hebrew youths in Babylon, the Christian youth becomes a problem-solver in situations that defy comprehension. Such opportunities become instances to show forth Jesus Christ and his wondrous works. These are actually God’s minimum expectations from His Spirit-filled youth, especially in these last days.
Today the ordinary no longer attracts attention. What creates awe or attracts influence is remarkable. Christian youths are expected to build their communities, cities, and nations.
To stand out in these end times, the Christian youth must be ready to disrupt the status quo and consistently raise the bar in his/her area of influence. The divinely unusual must be a regular occurrence for him/her, through him/her and around him/her. This point can be stressed using the examples of Daniel and his friends. These were remarkably outstanding young men in their time. The advantage the Holy Spirit gave them over their peers was unparalleled. Scripture shows us that they had an excellent spirit which translated into excellent manifestations of the incredible. Nothing less is expected of the present Christian youth. In further reference to Daniel, it is recorded that the King found him and his Hebrew friends to be ten times better than their contemporaries (Daniel 1: 20). Through them, a fiery furnace, heated seven times extra, was rendered impotent. Needless to recall how lions preferred starving to satisfying their hunger with the flesh of Daniel. Only the Holy Spirit can accomplish these feats, making these youths very relevant in their community and to the government. All because the youths made themselves available to God.
A continuous and consistent relevance of the Christian youth, (like Daniel who worked closely with several foreign kings in a land where his contemporaries were slaves) comes by an unbroken relationship with the Holy Spirit. Through this intimacy, extraordinary inventions are accomplished and revolutionary ideas that can improve society are birthed. Such uncommon endowment will strengthen a Spirit-filled youth to cause God’s agenda to be established on the earth.
Just like Archbishop Benson Idahosa of blessed memory, who shook the world in his days. It is recorded that he walked closely with the Holy Spirit. As a young man, Idahosa executed mind-blowing feats. At 37, he built the 6th largest church structure in the world and had the privilege to preach to the largest gathering in a crusade in one day. These were accomplishments were possible because a Christian youth named Benson Idahosa dared to walk closely with the Holy Spirit. Times change but the Holy Spirit is the same. Oh, young man/woman, thou art inexcusable! We may be young, but the Holy Spirit in us is not a teenager or a youth.
The world is waiting for our manifestation as children of the Most High God. We have been designed for superior operations, for signs and wonders. We have the Holy Spirit and His ever-abiding presence. We must manifest now. Further delay is dangerous; as God can use stone if we will not rise up to His call now.
So far the point that is being made is the need for youths to do exploits for the Lord. To do so these necessary conditions must prevail:
• Intimacy with the Holy Spirit and love for God
• A very close and personal study of the Word of God, with a deep longing to witness the demonstration of its power.
These conditions are not only necessary; they are fundamental to the realization of the unprecedented manifestation of God’s power to save, to heal, and to deliver (Joel 2:25-28).
In conclusion, in all ages, the youths have ever been God’s instruments for generational salvation and transformation. Most Christian Missionaries of all times were youths. God is still banking on the youths of today to solve the problems of today and cause His will to be done on earth today, as it is done in Heaven. Every youth is as relevant (to God and society) as ever. O youth arise and take your place, NOW.
Osama Iyawe CPA, PhD