Looking for a good, quick read over Spring Break? I highly recommend “Thoughts for Young Men” by J.C. Ryle. This book is written specifically for young men (although it is very applicable and challenging for women as well), warning them against the dangers of the sins of their youth. It is not only a warning, but an exhortation to stand strong and live a holy life.
This book speaks of how there are very few young men who are living for the Lord, but are rather living recklessly like the Prodigal Son. Most young men see their youth as a time to enjoy their lives by doing whatever they want, but Ryle speaks of how living a life pleasing to God is the greatest pleasure one can experience. This book reminds us of how serious and how short our life is, and really sparks deep, thought-provoking questions within our hearts. Ryle doesn’t speak lightly on the issues that young men face, but addresses them as plainly and bluntly as one can, because he understands the consequences that come from living an unholy, ungodly life.
I have read this book countless times, and every time I do the Lord re-teaches me the importance of breaking off every known sin, no matter how small it may seem. In chapter four Ryle says, “a small leak will sink a great ship, and a small spark will kindle a great fire.” We often categorize sin by how big or how bad we think it is. Murder, sexual immorality, rape, divorce, and such we view as really bad. Small and secret inward sins such as pride, jealousy, lack of contentment, and hidden idolatry are sins that we sometimes think aren’t as bad as the others, and therefore we make exceptions for them. God reminded me recently of how all sins are dangerous and can destroy ones soul and therefore need to be dealt with and cut off immediately.
God has also spoken to me through chapter five when Ryle quotes Acts 13:36, speaking of David, saying, “he served his own generation by the will of God.” God showed me that if I want to be used like David to serve and reach my generation, I need to start to be more serious about how I live my life, spend my time, view myself, and rely on God in prayer.
Being used in the ministry by God is a privilege that He entrusts to those who are submitted to Him in all areas of life. This book has once again called me to raise the standard of holiness in my own life, so that Christ can be the most glorified in my ministry. I don’t want the work of God to be hindered in my ministry because of my own pride, love of pleasure, fear of man, lack of prayer, hiding of sin, and so on. I want to take my life and my ministry seriously.
This book is a great, simple read for both men and women. The chapters are only five to ten pages each and the book itself is shorter than 100 pages, but you will need lots of time to think and pray through the things the Lord speaks to you about after each chapter.
Pick up a copy from Amazon or the Book Table at a Sunday gathering, and challenge yourself to read it prayerfully over Spring Break!