By Ada Brownell
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand” (Jeremiah 18:6).
If you don’t die young and Jesus doesn’t come back during your lifetime, you’ll probably spend about 75 percent of your life as an adult.
The decisions you make in youth help to form your adult character and mold your personality (and even your body) in ways that are difficult to change. The real “You” peels off the mask when you become an adult and who you are is revealed.People who do great things often look back in awe, because when they were young they had no idea how God would use them. On the other hand, I’ve met people who don’t like who they became. One old man told me he wished he could live his life over—as somebody else.
Many people assume they became the person they are because of their parents and other outside influences. Sure, what happens to us and around us affects our lives, but it is how we react to our environment that determines what kind of person we become.Your environment affects who you are as much as the genes that held the pattern for your nose and ears. Often environment determines whether or not you use foul language. If family, friends, and your entertainment speak filth, those words pop into your mind. But that doesn’t mean you have to say those words.
If you have been abused, that could affect the kind of person you are and might help determine what kind of parent you become. It’s a generational thing, where the sins of parents are visited into the third and fourth generation.
But children who have been abused are successful people, successful Christians, and good parents who don’t abuse their kids. If you know someone in your home has had sex outside of marriage, that knowledge could affect your behavior when you date. Yet, young people whose relatives committed sexual sins can go into marriage as virgins and remain faithful to their spouses for life.
It is not easy. It’s a matter of the will.
Your “will” is an integral part of who you are. Many theologians define the “soul” as the “mind, will, and emotions.” You also have a “spirit” and a “body.”
Understanding the will is simple. It’s the part of you that says, “I will do something” or “I won’t.”
But we can never be good enough to go to heaven in ourselves. That’s why Jesus came. The Bible says, “It’s not by works of righteousness we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). Because of His mercy, Jesus bled out so sinners could be clean and live forever (John 3:16).
Yes, we were formed with some of the same gene clay that runs through our heredity, but we can become a masterpiece or a garbage receptacle. If we allow just anything in life to influence us, we’ll probably end up a trash can. But if we submit our lives to the master potter, the Heavenly Father, He will mold and shape us into something beautiful.
Adapted from Ada Brownell’s book, Imagine the Future You, copyright 2014. Links: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1489558284 Also available in audio ITunes http://ow.ly/TY6uO