LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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CHAPTER 21

 

YOUNG MEN, DONíT DRIFT

 

YES, IT is the drifting that is most to be feared. Men donít become atheists and swindlers at a leap. For every one who resolutely sets his face against God, there are hundreds who drift from him. Young men come to our great centers of population from holy and blessed homes where they have been born and bred. They are nice, amiable, well-meaning fellows with no intention of going wrong, though perhaps with no very strong resolution to go right. The last words of advice from father or mother ring in their ears, urging them to keep up good habits, in which they have been trained since childhood, and they intend to conform to these. If such a young man falls in company with those who have good influence, it is very likely that he will turn out well; but if he goes into an establishment or a house where there is a fast, gay set, where the Lordís day is unkept, where filthy allusions pollute the talk and gambling fills the leisure hours, after the first momentary shock is over, he is apt to give himself up to the strong prevailing current and begin in sensibly but swiftly to drift. It is not necessary at first that he should commit some flagrant sins. It is enough that, he ceases to resist the insidious influence around.

Young man, is this a true picture of your condition? If so, heed the advice of one who is older, one who is interested in your welfare. Donít drift into loose companionship. A man is made or marred by his friends. Beware of the man who talks slightingly of his mother, father, home, or of women generally. Many men ridicule any allusion to the purity and tenderness of the home circle, and apparently have no belief that woman can be other than the toy or victim of manónever his equal and confidant and friend. Beware of such men.

Beware of the man who professes himself too deeply versed in science of the day to believe in the Bible and who ridicules those who do. A man has no more right to steal away or spoil your faith than he has to deprive you of your eyesight or rob you of your purse. And if he attempt it, he betrays a dangerous character of which you will do well to beware.

Donít drift into extravagant expenditure. Better live on oatmeal porridge and brown bread than spend more than you can afford or drift into debt. The pleasure of a dayís outing or of an eveningís gaiety has a nasty after-taste when for weeks or months you have to avoid certain people because yon owe them money which you can not repay. A young man sometimes spends in a single evening money enough to fill his heart with anxiety for many a weary day and is perhaps tempted to take money which does not belong to him in order to stay pressing demands and in hope of the opportunity of repayment, which never comes. Young man, take warning.

Donít drift into habits of gambling. There is plenty of it all around us, and a man feels rather lonely when he refuses to join in. Better feel lonely than join in. How much better to put the foot down and refuse the first invitation! You mean to refuse the second; but if you are going to refuse at all, it will be unspeakably easier to refuse at first than afterward. Betting is a bad thing and should be avoided. Love and home are sacrificed to the companions of the betting-ring. Business is neglected because they live in the feverish hope of coming in for a windfall and of getting money without giving an equivalent of any sort.

Donít drift into habits of drinking. Nothing is easier than to do this. No man means to be a drunkard when he starts drinking. Those who are now in the agony of delirium were once as pure and true as you are; but they were carried down an almost insensible gradient. Beware of their fate and donít follow their earlier steps lest you acquire a momentum you can not arrest and go down to hell. There is no better safeguard to a young man in life than to beware of the first drink.

They say that smoking leads to drinking. If so, it would be well to avoid the first cigaret. Is it wise to begin a habit for which you can not plead any good reason except that others do it, and which may lead you into drinking, bad companionship, and other detrimental things?

Donít drift into habits of impurity. In all of us there are appetites and desires which are beautiful and innocent enough when kept in their right place; but they are very reluctant to be kept there, and are ever chafing to ascend the throne of the being and assume the mastership of the life. But who shall depict the horrors of the wreckage of all that is bright and beautiful and happy in the life of the miserable victim who has yielded to their first suggestion? Beware of the society of those who are familiar with the ways of darkness and impurity. Beware of spectacles and pictures, of amusements and books, that excite the lower passions. Never go to a place to which you could not take your mother or sister. Never become familiar with a girl whom you could not introduce to the purest woman you know. Never treat a girl another way than you would like a man to treat your own sister.

It is not necessary to yield to temptation. Ask Jesus to help you to be an overcomer. This he will gladly do. One earnest, believing cry for help will bring him near, and when he enters the soul, impurity can no more stand against his indwelling than straw before fire or darkness before day. I wish you a pure and noble life.