I was born in Tembisa, the second largest township in South Africa.
Like many in our part of Africa, I was born into the Roman Catholic Church, and our family, like many, practiced both Romanism and ancestral worship. Growing up I was a troubled child. Rebellious. Fatherless. Poor. It wasn’t until my mom was born again that hope was born.
After breaking through the clutter of the Roman Catholic Church, and gaining freedom from the worship of ancestors, my mom would take us to church with her each Sunday. I attended church every week (sometimes by force) and Sunday school. I knew Scripture by heart. Nevertheless, I was not saved. I lived a life of bitterness, hurt and loneliness. And I had no father-figure to guide me.
When I was 16, I came to the knowledge of Christ and finally understood what he had done for me. A preacher from Europe had come to preach in a revival at a church not far from home. I went home from the meeting with a lot to think about—sorrow over sin competed with the newfound joy of learning that there was a Savior. I woke up the next day resurrected spiritually from the dead.
Two years later, in my first year at a university in Pretoria, a classmate introduced me to John Piper’s sermons, and I came to believe and love the biblical teaching of God’s sovereignty. Hearing the word preached was like watching an intense football game (whether soccer or American football!)—you don’t want to move your eyes, ears or attention from the screen. I came to believe and love the sovereignty of God. My view of Christ was at an all-time high as I came to see that God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him. But that was not the end.
No fulfillment in a wasted life
Two years later, I came across Don’t Waste Your Life in a Christian bookstore near campus. Though I had planned to read it over Christmas break, I couldn’t wait—I started opening the pages.
The book radically transformed my thinking of the Christian life, and I had no choice but to look at myself and prayerfully make some changes. Through much study of the Bible and prayer, God fueled a deep passion within me for Jesus Christ.
Society had lied to me. It told me to wait until I was “older” to live a Christian life. The great untruth the world speaks to us is that we can find more joy if we delay or neglect a life spent for God’s glory. It feeds us the lie that fulfillment is found in what proves to be a wasted life.
Have you listened to the lie?
Especially in the 21st century, society tells us to put Jesus on the shelf until we’re older. You only live once, so you need to spend your time focusing on what’s trending on Twitter, the new music, or fashions, or social status, or finding a spouse, or securing a good-paying job. Essentially, we’re told that living for Jesus is not only uncool, but it’s a waste of time. Better to spend our youth pursuing wealth and prosperity and worldly pleasures.
This lie is so embedded in our everyday life that we don’t even realize its effect. It’s hidden in television and movies, in ever-trending music videos and university lectures. In every case, we’re taught that gathering money and getting stuff is our highest joy.
Don’t listen to the lies. The meaningful life is not found in getting stuff. In the end, even family and relationships cannot shoulder the load of ultimate significance. The only meaningful life is one laid down for others’ joy in Christ—and you are never too young to begin. It is better to lose your life altogether than to waste it on meaningless pursuits.
Never too young for true life
It doesn’t matter whether you were born in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia or the Americas, you’re never too young to pursue Christ and his will for your life.
Charles Spurgeon once preached, “You young men that are strong, overcome the wicked one, and fight for the Lord while you can.” With the same words, I urge young Christian men and women around the world, overcome the wicked one, overcome the lies that make us spiritually lazy, and fight the good fight of faith. You are never too young to live for Christ.