Lesson 4 – Young Adults

Young Adults

Definitions: Life – translated from the Greek word zoe, (taken from An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine).

From English word zoo, zoology.  Zoe (life) is used in the New Testament to mean life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself.  The quality of life He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself and the Son manifested to the world (John 5:26; I John 1:2).

The Greek word psuche refers to the individual.  Psalms 66:9 makes use of both words, “God…which holdeth our soul (life, psuche) in life (zoe).”  John 10:10  “I come that they may have life (zoe);”  Verse 11, “The Good Shepherd layeth down His life (psuche) for the sheep.”

The word destruction (Gr. apolia) does not mean the loss of being but the loss of “well-being.”


The final destination of the narrow way and straight gate is life; life like the quality found only with God.  The broad and wide gate leads to the loss of “well-being.”  Jesus’ analogies in Matthew 7:13, 14 describe the final destinations of human beings; however, they start now.  A decision we make, or sometimes fail to make, sets the course for our lives on the narrow or broad road.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ came into this world and gave His life (psuche) that we might have life (zoe).  He also revealed to us a way to live while in the fleshly body that we might live with God eternally.  It is significant to note Luke used the term “the Way” synonymously with Paul’s preaching about “the kingdom of God” and “the word of the Lord.”  Acts 19:8-10.  The message Jesus taught us about life was pre-determined by why and how God created mankind.  There are no experiments to make on our part.  His way will work and all others will not.  The leader of this way is the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:6).  These are spiritual laws which govern the Christian way of life.  Spiritual laws cannot be changed.  Therefore, Christians enter this walk of life via an unchangable law and we continue to live by an unchangable law in step with the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus (Gal. 5:16-18).

It is because of the exacting laws of the Spirit that Jesus calls it a small gate and narrow way (Matt. 7:13, 14).  The way has been determined and will not change.  It is up to us to find this way and live our lives by it if we are to have life (Matt. 10:24, 25).  All of the teachings of the Bible are inspired by God and they have been given to us by the Holy Spirit’ inspiration.  All scripture is inspired, “that the man of God may be perfect.”  II Timothy 3:16, 17.  The laws of the Spirit of life are found in the New Testament.  God asks us to open our hearts and minds so they can be written, that is, impressed upon our “selves.”  This is the new covenant (Hebrews 10:15-18).  Jesus proclaimed many of these descriptions of the phenomena of development of our inner beings in His Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus said very few people develop their psuche with the quality of life, zoe (Matt. 7:14).  Most people have a psuche that is continually suffering with the loss of well-being and will eternally suffer this same loss called “destruction.”  The Christian religious world has been sullied by false prophets with their promises of “a grace trip to heaven in the sweet bye and bye.”  The graces of reconciliation and justification are supportive of God’s plan to bring the spirit of mankind back to Him as a son of God (Rom. 5:1-11).  These grace doctrines are based on the cross of Jesus.  They have been established so people can have peace with God.  The grace of peace with God “in Christ” is the beginning of life (zoe) for a Christian in fellowship with the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 13:14).

The first “next step” after a Christian’s new birth has been described in Colossians 3:1-17.  The subject of grace for a Christian must always be coupled with Jesus’ description of good and bad fruit (Matt. 7:15-20; 13:23).  The subject for a Christian on Judgment Day will be fruit and not grace (Matt. 7:21-23).  Jesus has coupled the analogy of a good tree and good fruit with a person who has healthy emotional attitudes (Matt. 5:3-12).  They are happy people.  They are the salt and light for unhappy people (Matt. 5:13-16).

It was suggested in our previous lesson that the choices made by youth in the adolescence stage of their lives propel many of them onto the “broad way” leading to the loss of their well-being.  Happily, many do recover and turn back to asking, seeking and knocking in order to recover their holiness and the pearl of great price – the kingdom of God (Matt. 7:6, 7).   The earlier they turn back the less trouble they will have in their recovery from their time in Satan’s kingdom.  Timothy, the spiritual son of the Apostle Paul, is an example of a young person who did not tarry long “in Adam in the world realm.”  Although, he was still “in Adam in Christ” he served God as “salt and light” as a young adult.  Please read I Timothy 4:9-16.  As it was also suggested in our previous lesson, the formative years of childhood development greatly impact young peoples’ decision making processes in their stage of adolescence.  Timothy had the proper environment because his mother and grandmother lived by faith in God (II Tim. 1:5).  In this lesson we will move our study to the period of human life after the full development of both body and spirit.


We will need to go back to when Adam and Eve became aware to start our lesson.  They became aware of their naked bodies after they got the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:25; 3:7).  Young children are not aware of their naked bodies; however, their parents are very aware.  At some point children learn of their nakedness through their passive learning skills or by their parents verbal instructions to “stay dressed.”  Parents should take care not to make children feel guilty about “the parts that are unpresentable,” in their effort to have their children treat them with “special modesty.”  I Cor. 12:23.  Jesus did not use guilt to control behavior.  He did use truth; therefore, parents need to take the time to carefully explain and demonstrate modesty for their children.

The concept of modesty and the concept of ego boundaries develop together as children mature in all of their capacities of humanity; mind, heart, conscience and body.  Ego boundary development begins with children’s understanding that they are in a body of their own at about one year old.  They may be susceptible to “stranger anxiety” attacks when confronted with a new face at this age.  With the help of loving parents, by age three they will begin to move away from infantile narcissism, or egocentrism.  They become less selfish.  Youth are very aware of their “self” in a body.  One of the endowments that came packaged with our awareness “in Adam” is our ability to examine ourselves.  People can think about what they are thinking (I Cor. 2:11).  They can think about how they feel.  This capability is very active in youth and young adults.

As Christians we need “to distinguish good and evil” so that we can have a healthy conscience by which to make our continual examinations (Heb. 5:14).  A pure conscience functions like a traffic signal (Heb. 9:14; 10:22; I Pet. 3:16).  It will give us a green light when our behavior is good and a red light when it is evil.  Christians who are unclear about what is good and what is evil have a weak conscience (I Cor. 8:7).  Some religious people who do not use the word of God to determine good and evil have corrupted and seared consciences (I Tim. 4:2; Tit. 1:15, 16).

Adolescents do a lot of examining of themselves in relation to other people’s view because of their “observing ego.”  They are extremely conscious of what “significant others” think and feel about them.  They tend to identify with the way they think others view them in their pursuit of developing their own unique identity.  They can become overly self-conscious of their view of themselves in relation to others and become fearful of reality if they are not properly guided in what is good and evil in relation to identity.  Identity is important and it should be a part of an adolescent’s spiritual growth.  The Lord considered identity so very important for Christians that He has given us the Holy Spirit to testify with our spirits that we are sons of God (Rom. 8:16).  People who do not have a son of God identity will, of necessity, seek their identity from role models in the world (Rom. 12:2).

Youth who suffer from “role confusion” may feel the universe is unfriendly to them in their pursuit to attain satisfaction for their innate needs.   One of their predominate needs is achievement.  Youth have a strong desire to achieve something, it is an innate urge.  Then they desire to receive applause in order to satisfy their strong urge for glory – another God given need.  Since they may not have much experience or ability in achieving something unique, they often feel “left out.”  They may become depressed.

A quick look at the “Stages of Psychosocial Development” chart by Erich Erickson will show why many adolescents take to the broad road and use worldly methods to hide their hurt.  Please review the previous lesson.  Those who enter adolescence with mistrust, guilt, inferiority complexes and role confusion are sure to have trouble getting their need for achievement and glory satisfied.  Youth whose world view includes eternal life as a son of God will understand their need for glory will depend on hope (Rom. 2:7, 10; 8:24, 25).  Others will go asking, seeking in Satan’s world for the satisfaction of their inherent needs.  Satan has a program for each God-given healthy need, but he lies (John 8:44; Eph. 2:1-3; I Pet. 4:3-5).  Lust will develop as a strong desire that cannot be satisfied when the law of life is forsaken in the pursuit of innate needs.

Let us move our thoughts to what lies ahead for the adolescent in the young adult stage of life.  Another quick glance at Erickson’s chart will give us a prophetic view of what is behind the curtain of life for young adults.   If a youth has the training Timothy enjoyed they will enter into their young adult life with trust in God.  They have faith that His universe will be friendly.  They will believe they are endowed with natural and learned abilities to achieve and be productive.  They will have examined several “prophets” for their role models in the forming of their own identity.  These role model would have been measured by Jesus Christ.  What this all means is that their “self” have the personality traits that we call the Beatitudes.  Their strong character has strength to move on their goals.  It was not weakened because of anger, immorality and the lack of integration towards life’s goal of living with God eternally as His son.

This young lady or gentleman has moved from being dependent on their parents in that they are in control of their emotions and behavior.  They have prepared themselves, or they are in the process, to accept their own financial burden (I Thess. 4:11).  They are candidates for moving into the wonderful world of interpersonal relationships.  They are an integrated person which means they have:

  • An adequate positive self-image.
  • A sense of determination.
  • And skills to make decisions.

They are in a position to make their own judgments about good and evil.  They have the good habit of making choices based on principles rather than consequences.  They are able to set goals because they have a habit of seeking to see how things will work out before they begin the project.  They “will to act” on their plan to reach their goals.  Their will is being controlled by their own minds because they strive to be controlled by God’s will (I Cor. 2:16; 7:37; Matt. 6:10).  They have matured in mind, heart, conscience and body.  They are mature enough to give up their independence for interdependent relationships.

Please note; a person must mature to the state of independence before they can properly function in a healthy interdependent relationship with other people.  When they become independent they are ready to take their place in society.  Christians function as a member of the church with a strong determination to be “salt and light” for God.  They choose a role in the body of Christ for their calling (vocation) to grow and serve the king over God’s kingdom, Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 4:1).

This young male or female is now prepared for marriage and their prescribed role in a family.  Or they may choose to sublimate their innate desire for a sexual relationship and use this energy to serve the Lord free of the marriage bond (I Cor. 7:32-38).  If they are Christians and desire to be married they will be interested to make their own choice of mates for their marriage in accordance with God’s will.  Consider the following:

  • God gave each individual the right to make her or his own choice in life and at the same time take responsibility for this choice.  This applies to both husband and wife.  Ananias was responsible for his choice to lie and Sapphira was held responsible for her agreement with her husband to lie (Acts 5:1-11).  Certainly, help in finding a mate may be appreciated; however, the choice belongs to the individual – be it the male or female (Gen. 24:57, 58).
  • Sons and daughters of God do not become yoked together with an unbeliever in any situation and especially marriage (II Cor. 6:14-18).  Marriage is where two become one.  In fact, a person who becomes a Christian after their marriage is free to remain as “one flesh” with their spouse or, if their spouse does not want to stay with them, “A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”  I Cor. 7:15.
  • God is the ultimate authority in marriage.  Governments are ordained by God in civil matters.  Cultural or personal opinions must be in line with God’s will.  Listen to Jesus’ response to the Pharisees:

‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.  Matt. 19:4-6

  • What we can conclude from this scripture is that God is the power that joins a male and a female together in marriage.  He, only, has the power to un-join.
  • Any other combination of sexes in any union comes from sexual impurities and perversion (Rom. 1:24-27).
  • This union made by God becomes a new family.  This means they leave the oversight of his or her parents.  They can do this because both have attained their independence before they sought to enter the interdependent state of marriage.
  • They are both willing to give up independence and become one flesh.  One thing this means is that they can now share their bodies with one another in sexual love (Gen. 2:24, 25; I Cor. 7:2-5).  The young lady has an innate need for sexual relationship as well as the young man.  Each has a responsibility to the other to give each equal satisfaction.  The habit is called “you win, I win.”  The willingness to adopt this habit is based on the willingness to incorporate the beatitudes into the Christian personality.
  • They are both willing to accept the husband and wife role in marriage as God has ordained.  See I Corinthians 11:3; Eph. 5:22, 23; I Pet. 3:1-7.
  • Contrary to the western culture of “falling in love” as a prerequisite to marriage there is another quality of love that must be decided upon by Christians before they are ready to ask God to join the two to “become one flesh.”  The Greek word for this love is “agape.”  This is the same love Jesus spoke of when He said, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”  Matt. 5:44, 45.  This scripture can, at times, take on real significance in married life.
  • This quality of love is the foundation of a Christian marriage (Eph. 5:22-33).  The man and woman individually decide when they are ready to marry and whom they desire to marry.  Obviously they must choose one another if these two will become one.  The technical term for this process is called “cathexis.”  Cathexis is an investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea (Webster’s Dictionary).   When we apply this process in preparation to our marriage based on love (agape), each party makes the decision to help one another to be winners in their pursuit of all their innate needs – not merely their sexual urges.  Although each party in this marriage loves themselves, they are at the same time extending their ego boundaries to include their spouse.  This is what agape love does.  See I Corinthians 13:4-7.  The young man and woman decide to replace the word love in this scripture with their own “self” before their marriage.  Marriage based on God’s quality of love requires mature integrated individuals.
  • After the wedding vows it is time to “fall in love” which simply means married couples drop their ego boundaries and become one in the marriage bed (I Cor. 7:3-5; Heb. 13:4).

Marriage is God’s way of offering young adults the opportunity to achieve an intimate relationship with the opposite sex in order to satisfy each of their sex drives.  In this act of “falling in love” they may achieve the reproduction of themselves by having children.  This achievement is fulfillment for a very strong urge.  The development and maintenance of a godly home is of great satisfaction for both parties.

Let the young man or woman beware while choosing a mate.  Again please note Erickson’s chart. Young men and women who leave the adolescent stage dominated with inferiority complexes and role confusion will also have difficulty with intimacy.  They will feel more comfortable isolated in their ego boundaries.  Isolation is their safety net from society where they were not able to attain satisfaction for their need for social acceptance.  Intimacy is the bedrock for a happy marriage.

Sometimes when a young man and young woman meet who both feel isolated in their ego boundaries they may find pleasure by sharing their loneliness.  This gives each a wonderful ecstatic feeling.  They are not alone in life any longer.  They suddenly both drop their ego boundaries and feel a comfortable togetherness.  This is what is generally called “falling in love.”  It is a great feeling but it is strongly motivated by their sexual urges.  We understand this point because it often happens to young people at the time their sexual needs are strong and in all cases it is suppose to happen between a man and a woman.  Where it is not a heterogeneous relationship, it is perverted (Rom. 1:26, 27; I Cor. 6:15-20).

Sexual passion is a healthy drive and it can be a great source for energy; however, it will not sustain a lasting marriage unless the two turn to agape love for support of their marriage very early.  We need to understand the difference in extending one’s ego boundaries to take in a beloved and merely dropping them for the ecstatic feeling of falling in love.  The trouble is that ego boundaries will soon pop back in place.  This is what is meant by “the honeymoon is over.”  It is not to say that falling in love is not a great feeling; however, when the ego boundaries pop back in place after marriage the couple still has love (agape) on which to build their home.  When a man and a woman drop their ego boundaries and become one in the flesh without marrying, their ego boundaries will still pop back in place.  Suddenly, the impetus that was driving their relationship will have vanished.  They were fooled by what the world calls “cupid.”  For more on this subject please read the book “The Road Less Traveled” by Dr. M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist.  See the chapter on the myth of romantic love.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why did Jesus refer to a Christian’s life as a narrow gate and road?
  2. What is significant about Adam and Eve becoming aware?
  3. What is the danger in parents using guilt to control the behavior of their children?
  4. Why do Christians need to be highly informed about what is good and evil?
  5. What powerful capability did the human race receive along with awareness?
  6. What is the impact of the quality of life a person develops before they become young adults?
  7. Why might young people’s innate need to achieve give them a problem?
  8. What is the difference in Satan’s program for innate needs and God’s program in Christ?
  9. How does Timothy become a person of importance in our study of this lesson?
  10. What are the strengths of an independent individual?
  11. Why is it important to become independent before one considers interdependent relationships?
  12. List two good habits of a person who has moved away from dependency to independence?
  13. Who has been given the choice to select the spouse of either party in marriage?
  14. Why should Christians marry Christians?
  15. Explain the concept of “falling in love” in regard to “ego boundaries.”
  16. What is the difference in “dropping” the ego boundaries for a relationship and “extending” the ego boundaries for a relationship?

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