A Battle Within: Proverbs 24:1

There is an interesting proverb that aptly fits many students in our ministry; I would almost say it could be their theme verse. Proverbs 24.1 “Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them.”

I sat in my office with a student who is 19, loves Jesus and is doing much for the glory of Jesus in his own life. He said to me, “I wish Jesus would just take away the lust of my heart so I could live the rest of my life like Paul serving Jesus.” What this student was getting at is that in his heart he wants things that God has not allowed him to have. There is a battle going on inside his heart, one that is causing him to wrestle with these thoughts. This is a battle I am thankful for as a student minister.
Many of our students do the right thing. They are, for the most part, morally upright. Yet much like the student above, they wish they were somewhere else. So they may sit there in my group on Saturday night worshiping Jesus, singing songs to Him, reading about Him, yet they are envious of the men who are out drinking, partying or whatever it is. This is why our youth ministry must seek to address the idols of the heart. Merely just keeping students from drinking will do little to nothing, because their heart wants to do those things. Their desires are to be out with their friends partying, not serving Jesus. They would rather be having ‘fun,’ as defined by the world, than worshiping Jesus.
How do we address this? How do we approach the student who seems to have it all together, yet on the inside desires the things of this world? We must lead students to treasure Jesus above anything and everything that life can and will give them or death could take away from them. This means that Jesus is worth more than the pursuit of anything the world can offer them. He is more worthy of their praise. Our part is to make sure that we treasure Jesus and that our hearts are not envious of evil men. We must teach a Jesus that is to be treasured.
Passage to help us treasure Jesus
Romans 11:36
Psalms 16:5-11
Jeremiah 9:23-24
Jeremiah 2:12-13
Isaiah 12:2
Luke 2:10
Matthew 13:44
Philippians 3:7-10
Philippians 4:4
These are just a few passages that can lead our hearts to treasure Jesus above the deeds that can and do look so tempting to us. May we be a people who love Jesus so much that He removes the desires for anything other than Him.