HAVE you ever purchased a gift for a close friend and then watched your friend’s face beam with surprise and appreciation upon receiving it? You probably thought long and hard about what type of gift would be appropriate for that person. Now consider this question: What kind of gift can you offer your Creator, God? At first, the very idea might sound absurd. What does the Almighty God need from a mere human? What could you possibly give him that he does not already possess? The Bible answers at Proverbs 27:11:
My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me [as having failed in my parental duty].
As you likely know from your study of the Bible, it is Satan the Devil who taunts God. He asserts that any who serve God do so, not out of love, but for selfish reasons. Let them suffer hardship, Satan claims, and they will quickly abandon true worship. Consider, for instance, what Satan said to God regarding the righteous man Job:
Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face. —Job 1:10, 11.
As revealed in the Bible account, Satan called into question not only Job’s loyalty but also that of all others who serve God—including you. In fact, speaking of mankind in general, Satan said to God:
Then Satan answered the Lord, Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. (Job 2:4)
Do you see your role in this vital issue? As indicated at Proverbs 27:11, God is saying that there is something you can give to him—a basis for him to make a reply to his taunter, Satan. Imagine—the Universal Sovereign is calling upon you to share in addressing the greatest issue of all time. What an awesome responsibility and privilege is yours! Can you fulfill what God is asking of you? Job did. (Job 2:9, 10) So did Jesus as well as countless others throughout history, including many youths. (Philippians 2:8; Revelation 6:9) You can do the same. Make no mistake about it, though, there is no neutral ground in this matter. By your course of action, you will show that you support either Satan’s taunt or God’s reply. Which will you choose to uphold?
God Cares for You!
Does it really matter to God which choice you make? Have not enough people already remained faithful for him to give an adequate reply to Satan? True, the Devil asserted that no one serves God out of love, a charge that has already been proved false. Still, God wants you to take his side on the issue of sovereignty because he cares about you as an individual. Jesus said:
Just so it is not the will of My Father Who is in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost and perish.—Matthew 18:14.
Clearly, God is interested in the course you choose. More than that, he is affected by it. The Bible makes clear that God has deep feelings that are stirred by the good or the bad actions of humans. For example, when the Israelites repeatedly rebelled, God was “pained.” (Psalm 78:40, 41) Before the Deluge of Noah’s day, when “the badness of man was abundant,” God “felt hurt at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5, 6) Think about what this means. If you adopted a wrong course, you could cause your Creator to feel pain. This does not mean that God is weak or is ruled by emotion. Rather, he loves you and cares about your welfare. On the other hand, when you do what is right, God’s heart rejoices. He is happy not only because he has a further reply to give to Satan but also because he can now become your Rewarder. And that is something he wants to become. (Hebrews 11:6) What a loving Father you have in God!
Rich Blessings Now
The blessings that come from serving God are not to be experienced only in the future. Many youths among God’s people are blessed with joy and satisfaction right now, and for good reason.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes, wrote the psalmist. (Psalm 19:8)
Better than any human, God knows what is good for us. Through the prophet Isaiah, God stated:
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way that you should go. Oh, that you had hearkened to My commandments! Then your peace and prosperity would have been like a flowing river, and your righteousness [the holiness and purity of the nation] like the [abundant] waves of the sea.—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Conforming to Bible principles will help you to avoid much pain and heartache. For example, the Bible says that those who have developed a love for money “have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) Have any of your peers experienced the harsh reality of this scripture? Some young men and women are heavily in debt simply because they must have the latest brand-name clothes and cutting-edge technological gadgets. Being saddled with long-term, high-interest payments for things you cannot really afford is a painful form of slavery!—Proverbs 22:7.
Consider also the matter of sexual immorality. Throughout the world each year, countless unwed teens become pregnant. Some give birth to a child that they have neither the desire nor the ability to raise. Others submit to an abortion and pay the price of a tormented conscience. Then there are young men and women who contract a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS. For one who knows God, of course, the greatest consequence of all would be a damaged relationship with God. (Galatians 5:19-21) For good reason, the Bible says: “Flee from fornication.”—1 Corinthians 6:18.
Serving a Blessed God
The Bible describes God as a “Blessed God”. (1 Timothy 1:11) He wants you to be happy too. In fact, his very own Word says:
Rejoice, O young man, in your adolescence, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your [full-grown] youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
But God sees beyond the present moment and can perceive the long-term consequences of both good and bad behavior. That is why he admonishes you:
Remember [earnestly] also your Creator [that you are not your own, but His property now] in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], I have no enjoyment in them—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
Today, many youths have found great happiness in serving God. For example, 15-year-old Brenda says:
I can hold my head high. I have a healthy body because of abstaining from smoking and drugs. I have valuable guidance given me through the congregation that helps me to combat Satan’s awful pressure. My face has a happy glow because of the up-building association made available at our church. Best of all, I have the unbeatable prospect of eternal life on earth.
Like Brenda, many Christian youths are putting up a hard fight for the faith, and this brings them joy. They realize that their life—though challenging at times—has real purpose and a real future. Continue, therefore, to serve the God who has your best interests at heart. Make his heart rejoice, and he will make you rejoice now and to time indefinite!—Psalm 5:11.