18 is the age of freedom. But the question we should ask ourselves is are we really ready for this freedom? Everyone grows up differently with different boundaries and limitations placed on them. So for the person who has always been able to do everything 18 is less of a big deal but still extremely important. For the person who grew up not able to do anything 18 is so great but so horrible at the same time. We think freedom is great because the limitations are finally taken off, and we have the autonomy to do what we want, when we want, and how we want. When 18 hits boundaries are taken off but the purpose of those boundaries may not be fully realized until it is too late. Boundaries protect us in order to protect our freedoms. It sounds like a clear contradiction that boundaries protect freedom? Oh, but they do.
Boundaries exist to keep us in a place of safety and security where we can enjoy all that life has to offer. Sometimes our parents may have told us not to stay out past dark. That boundary protects us from getting hurt. Other parents may have told us not to have sex. That boundary protects our health and independence. Some may have been restricted to not drink or do drugs. Those boundaries allow us to continuing living life in this free world.
We may think we can handle living a life of no limits but with no limits also comes limitless consequences for our actions. When we can finally can start hanging out late we may find that out of no where many of our friends and family members are turning up dead. When we start having sex we might be scared because we got an STD or realizing we can’t afford to go to school or work a job and raise a child on our own, and the future we had planned goes out the window. Or when we finally start drinking and doing drugs and then mix those things with driving and going out in public we could find ourselves in jail for years. With freedom comes responsibility. When we step into freedom we also step directly into the consequences of that freedom.
18:21 is not a group or organization that wants to control or dictate what to do or not to do. 18:21 is dedicated to helping develop those stepping into freedom to be prepared and equipped to handle the responsibilities and consequences that come along with it. 18:21 is here to guide young adults towards the abundant life, a life of eternal freedom, and away from a false freedom that could result in even more limitations. God instructs us to live within His guidelines now, only because He knows that is how we will get to experience freedom forever.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
So many believe that they can find the riches of life by following the ways of this world but that is not true. Full and abundant life comes by Jesus alone. In John 10:7-10 Jesus tells us ” Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.'” God does not want our life to be snatched out of our hands because we refused to listen to Him and instead followed the ways of the world. We are His sheep and He cares for us. He set a path out before us which is good and leads to goodness for all the days of our life. That does not mean life is guaranteed to be easy, because parts of it will be hard, but it does guarantee that we will have an eternal future that is secure in Christ.
So how do we life life on this narrow road? How do we do the things that please God? It all starts here in Romans 10:9-10
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
We don’t have to be perfect to come to God, instead when we come to God he will begin to perfect us as we develop true relationship with Him and allow our hearts to be changed and molded to look more like His. God will teach us how to live in His guidelines, and the Holy Spirit will direct our steps along the way. We should be grateful and thankful that God has established a path of limitations that leads to our ultimate freedom and even more so glad that He sent His son to suffer the consequences of our sin and missteps so that He could welcome us into his love and grace with open arms! Remember that in Christ there is HOPE, FREEDOM, and ABUNDANT LIFE!