2 Corinthians 1:21-2:4
Many of you have asked yourselves, “What am I going to be when I grow up?” Even for those of you who are older, there are infinite possibilities to this question. But there is a question that maybe some of you have not asked yet. “When I’m grown up and I’ve become what I wanted to become, then what do I do?” Do you sit back and rest and do nothing for the rest of your life, because you have arrived at where you wanted to be? Do you try to come up with another goal to achieve? What do you do?
While it is a good thing to ask yourselves what you want to be when you grow up, I believe there is a more important question for you to ask yourselves, and that question is: “Who do I want to be when I grow up?” Who you want to be is different from what you want to be. When you think about what you want to be, you think about what kind of job you want to do: fireman, business owner, doctor, construction worker, lawyer, nurse, priest, police officer, chef, and so on.
When you think about who you want to be, you think about what kind of person you want to be. Do you want to be loving, kind, merciful, patient, forgiving, courageous, honest, pure-hearted, and faithful? Do you want to be cool, respected, envied, rich, and famous? Do you want to be hateful, cruel, without mercy, impatient, unforgiving, cowardly, dishonest, wicked, and faithless?
I ask you this, because not many people say that they want to become evil when they grow up. And yet, the world is full of evil people. The world is even fuller of people who can’t make up their minds about who they want to be. They hope that the good things they do will somehow balance out the bad things they do so that no one will look at them and say, “He’s a really bad person.”
Who do you want to be? Is there a person you can point to and say, “I want to be like him/her”? While you might have an idea of who you hope to be like when you grow up, I would like to put forward and example for you—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we think about who our Lord Jesus Christ is, we think about all the qualities a person should have. When we hear the stories about Him in the Gospels, do we ever think, “You know, He really shouldn’t have done that”? He is loving, kind, merciful, patient, forgiving, courageous, honest, pure-hearted, and faithful. He tells the truth even if it hurts some people to hear it, but He never does anything simply to hurt someone. He never holds grudges or seeks revenge. He forgives endlessly. This is who He asks us to become.
But how will you become this person God wants you to be? Is it enough to just want to be a good person, or do you actually have to do something about it? Do you ever get anything just by wanting it? Clearly, we have to work at becoming the people God wants us to become. So how do we do that?
- Pray every day, as often as you can.
- Our Lord Jesus Christ healed the sick and fed large groups of people, but He always made time to pray by Himself. Some may ask, “Father, what do I pray about?” Did you wake up today? Thank God that He gave you another chance to get close to Him. Do you or someone you know need help with something? Ask God for His mercy and His help. Have you done something you weren’t supposed to do, or have you not done something you were supposed to do? Ask God for His forgiveness, and ask for His help to become the person He wants you to be.
- Treat people the way you want to be treated.
- Be obedient in the small things.
- —schoolwork, keeping our rooms clean, being truthful. None of these things is too hard for us. We might not want to do them, but really that doesn’t matter. We all have to do things we don’t want to do. If we can be obedient in doing these small things, we will learn how to be obedient to God and His commandments. If we can’t, we won’t.
Who you will be when you are grown depends on who you are being right now. You are young. That is not a curse nor is it a length of time in which you sit around and do whatever you want. You are young. That is a blessing. Pray every day, as often as you can during the day. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Be obedient in the small things. Do it now, because it’s harder to learn as you grow older. Do it now, because you don’t know if you can do it later. Do it now, and trust that God will make you into that person He wants you to be.
Talk about things you find challenging about being obedient in the small things. What are some things you can do to help you with these challenging areas?