To Serve the Present Age

Brother Steve Clapper shares some of his life experiences and admonishes the young men to consider how the decisions and choices they make today will affect their life and future. Have you given up everything to be a disciple of Christ or have you fallen into the traps of pride, arrogance, drugs, alcohol, love of money, sexual immorality, pornography, media, internet, or entertainment? If you find yourself in bondage, you can be set free! “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14b).

The Kingdom Fellowship Weekend podcast is available through many outlets. Listen online, download episodes, or subscribe through your preferred provider.

Dial-A-Message code 1907# to listen by phone (click here for more information).



Father, we thank You, Lord, for how You have been pouring out Your blessing on this weekend, Lord. Father, I thank You that we can talk about subjects. We can think. We can reflect. We can be challenged. We can be convicted, Father. We can be inspired to press on. And Father, my prayer is that this weekend would not be an end, but just a means, Lord, in the journey of growing in Your likeness and pursuing You, of knowing You in deeper, more fuller ways; of being able to say that Jesus is Lord in new places in our hearts that You have not been Lord before.

Father, I pray that you would bless Brother Steve. Lord, You know the challenge he had in the last day or two of sickness. Thank You that he pressed through, did not give up, and that he’s here. Father, I pray that You would give him health. Give him strength, Lord. Give him a clear mind and bless him with an anointing of Your Spirit. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God bless you, Brother.

Steve Clapper:

Ok, thank you, Brother.

Good afternoon, brothers. I’m really glad to be here today, and especially challenged to be able to face a group of young men. I guess the burden on my heart as a man and with the experience I’ve had in my own life and what I see happening in the lives of many others – I have a burden. I have a burden for you. I have a desire to see that you will be able to do well in your lives, that you will become productive men in the Kingdom of God, and that God will do great things in your lives.

So, what I’m planning to share on here, is somewhat from my own testimony. I’m going to share some of that, and then out of that, I’m going to share in Scripture various things that I have learned, some challenges that I have had, and the work that God has done in my life, and the work that God wants to do in your life as well.

Just a little bit about who I am, so that we sort of know each other somewhat – I’m a real estate agent. I’m an investor in real estate. I’ve been doing that for about ten years. Before that, I was in the computer software industry for about fifteen years. I had one year in Kenya, Africa. When I was a young man, I was at a rescue mission for a year in Illinois. So I’ve been around a little bit. I’m married to my wife Mary Lou, and we have three daughters. We live in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, which is up toward Altoona, so we’re not very far from here.

As I was thinking about sharing with you here today, I guess my mind went back to my own life, my own experience as a young man. I want to encourage you, and I want to challenge you.

The question I want to begin with is this:

Here you are this day. What are you going to do with your life?

What are you actually going to do with your life? You have one life. Here you are. What are you going to do? It’s a question you need to answer. And it’s not necessarily something to answer quickly, but it’s a question you should be exploring, you should be thinking about, and you should be coming to a very firm conclusion.

Many boys, many young men in our day are like ships without a sail. There’s no direction; they’re out there bobbing around. They don’t know where they’re going; they don’t know where they’re at, and they generally don’t get very far.

The theme of the weekend is “The Heroes of Faith” and it’s an inspiring theme from my perspective. Now we can look at that. We can look at the people in Scripture, and we can say that these people were so great, and they did such great things, and I could never possibly do the things that these people did. You could become intimidated a little bit, and you could become discouraged. But I guess the way I look at it is, I am inspired when I see another person, whether it be in Scripture or whether it be a person today, who is doing the will of God, who is actually responding properly to the challenges that they are facing. A person that is out on the front lines, so to speak, in spiritual battles that are happening in the Kingdom. And you may think to yourself that you could never be a hero of the faith.

But I would say this: You can be a hero of the faith, especially to people whose lives you touch. If you get married at some point, then it would be to your wife, to your children, to your grandchildren, to others that you influence. A person that you influence and win to Christ, that person is going to view you as a hero. So I want to encourage you in that.

I grew up in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, which is just outside of Altoona; it’s on the south side. I was part of the Church of the Brethren, growing up. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Church of the Brethren, but I was sort of in the middle of the road Church of the Brethren. The Church of the Brethren runs the whole spectrum; we were sort of in the middle. We had some truth. There was something there if you were interested. I’m very thankful for that. I’m very glad that I was raised with the influence of a Christian church. It was not the best church. Certainly a lot of things were lacking there. The way I describe it is, we didn’t have a full understanding. A lot of things we did not understand. But the things that we had, I’m thankful for, because that helped to lay some foundation in my life.

I’m the fifth born of eight children. So we had a big family. My parents are both deceased at this point. When I was young, I would have thought that we were just the normal American family. I would have thought that this is what a family is like. This is the way things are supposed to be. I didn’t realize some of the problems that we were actually facing, and they later came to a head.

I want to say this – as I share some things, I have to be careful in that the Scripture does instruct us to honor our parents, and I want to do that. On the other hand, we got to tell the truth of the situation. And so, anything I say about my parents, please don’t view it as a negative. I love both my parents. I will say this, I especially appreciate the good things that they have done for me, and there are many many good things that they have done, not the least of which was exposing me to the Word of God. And that I am thankful for.

But I don’t know that either of my parents really were converted. We always went to church. That was number 1 priority with my dad. But I think that was a big part of what being a Christian was for my dad, was just being connected to the church, going to church. As far as life, there was a disconnect. And my dad had some different problems. I still remember the time when I was, I guess, probably around 15-16 years old, when my dad came and told me that he was going to jail. I was in shock! I didn’t even realize what was going on. And he did go to jail.

My mother left my dad and ended up connecting with another man. And so our family situation was in a turmoil. It was a mess. Where I was at in my life, God was already working in my life. God was already doing something in my life, and I was responding, at least to some degree. But the crisis in the family really made me search for answers. It made me look for something that had some kind of stability, something that I could latch a hold of that was of value, and that I could count on. I really began to seek and to search and to look into the Word of God. I was a typical young guy. I would say I was not a rebel. I was not a person who was bent on going out and just doing a bunch of evil things. I had a conscience even before I was really converted, and I tried to live a fairly good life. But I had different challenges, different problems with sin. That was a reality in my life.

As I began to study Scripture, as I began to ask God different questions and to search for answers, I was just spending tremendous time searching the Word of God and seeking the face of God. And God was doing something. God was doing something great in my life. It was during this time that I really began to understand the teaching of Jesus in Luke 14. If you have your Bible, I’d encourage you to open to that.

We’re going to talk about the concept of being a Christian.

What I grew up with was more the concept of you responding to an invitation; you say you want Christ as your Savior; you want to have your sins forgiven; you’re baptized; you join the church. And that is what it means to become a Christian. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying anything bad about any of those things, but I do want to say this: there’s more to it than that. There is something that has to happen in your heart if you are going to be a Christian. There is a change that must take place in your heart, at the very core of your being. And it is that change, which is actually more of the essence of being born again. This has a lot to do with it.

In Luke 14:25-35, this is Jesus speaking:

  1. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  2. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  3. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  4. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  5. Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
  6. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
  7. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  8. Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  9. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  10. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  11. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Another Scripture that I want to bring out that ties in with this is in Matthew 10:39. This is Jesus speaking to you:

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.

Matthew 10:39

I ask you the question: What are you going to do with your life?” and Jesus is saying to you, “If you find your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for My sake, you will find it.” The concept here is the giving of your life, the surrender of your life. Giving your life to Christ, so that you can serve Him, and do His will. Salvation requires you to give your life. I remember as a young man reading these Scriptures and wrestling in my heart, Am I actually willing to give everything to Christ?

I don’t know if you’ve come to that place yet in your life. I imagine some of you have. I imagine many of you have not. But I want to share that with you today. If you’re going to be a Christian, if you’re going to be Christ’s disciple, it requires the giving of your entire life! Not just parts, not just pieces, not just some, but it requires ALL. There is no greater privilege that you have, there is no greater cause, there is no greater mission that you could be a part of, there is nothing of greater value that is offered to you than to follow Jesus Christ, and to do His will.

If you want to have Christ as Savior and still be in charge of your life, if you want God’s best and the best that the world has to offer, if you are willing to give much, but you’re not willing to give all, you cannot be Christ’s disciple. That’s what Jesus is saying here in Luke 14.

What does it actually require to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?

1) It requires complete surrender. Total surrender, giving up, giving your life. It requires hating your own life (verse 26). You have to hate your own life, which means you’re going to follow Christ; you’re going to do what Christ says, not what you say. So where there’s a conflict, you’re going to follow Christ. That’s the idea of “hating” your life. It requires the death of self. Now you’re no longer in charge of your life, but Christ is in charge of your life, and you’re going to obey Him. You have to die! You must die! “You are dead,” the Bible says, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). You must die, and you will find new life in Christ.

2) It requires forsaking all that you have (verse 33). You have to give everything that you have. That’s material possessions, but it’s more than material possessions. It’s all the relationships; it’s all the desires of your heart; it’s all the things that you hold dear to yourself. You must forsake them.  

3) It requires total commitment.

4) It requires 100% obedience. If you do not obey Christ in ALL things, EVERY thing, you’re not His disciple. Many of the things are easy; many things are challenging; some of the things are very difficult. But when you think about the heroes of the faith, when you think about some of the people that are being shared about this weekend, and you think about people who have actually died for their faith in Christ —

I remember when I was just a young guy, just trying to – yeah, I want to follow Christ, but I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do that! I’m not sure I’m going to be able to go to the stake and be killed for Christ. God gives grace for those situations when we face them. It’s hard to know ahead – How am I going to respond in this situation or that situation? But I have confidence in this. I have given my life to Christ. It is my heart’s desire to follow Him, and to be true and faithful to Him, even to the point of death. And I believe that should I ever face that situation, that God will provide the strength and the grace in that moment, where I will be true and faithful. And I trust the same for you. But you need to be willing to give even your actual physical life. That you give it to Christ.

Obedience. In Luke 6:46, Jesus said, “And why call ye Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things which I say?” That’s perplexing. People who call Jesus “Lord,” but they don’t obey what He says. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not right. It’s not as it should be. We need obedience.

5) To be a disciple, it requires “hating” others (verse 26). You have to hate father and mother. You have to hate brother and sister. You have to hate your wife and your children. Now this is kind of strong language. We think of hatred as being a sin generally, but it’s not in this case. The hatred that he’s talking about is – Who are you going to be loyal to? What is most important to you? Your relationship with your wife or your relationship with Christ? Your relationship with your parents or Christ?

I’ve actually experienced this in my life. This was when I was young, and I didn’t really have a great support system.  One of my siblings was going to get married; he was going to marry a divorced woman, and I knew that that’s wrong, and I’m not going to be able to support that. I shared that with him, and he was not pleased! And it changed our relationship, and that relationship remains changed to this very day. But I knew where my loyalty was. And while I still love my brother, my love for Christ is greater, and I don’t regret remaining true to Christ, and following Him, and honoring Him.

It’s loving Christ above all others.

6) Being Christ’s disciple means taking up your cross and following Him. To “take up the cross” – the cross is a picture there of suffering, where you’re actually going to be ridiculed for being a Christian. You’re going to be mistreated. You’re going to be viewed as a bad person. And it can get a lot worse than that. You got to be willing to suffer, whatever it takes, if you’re going to follow Christ.

7) Discipleship means Jesus is first. Jesus is King. Jesus is Lord.

8) Discipleship is a life of faith and obedience. If you’re looking for a good foundation in your life, do you remember what Jesus said there in Matthew 7 at the end of the Sermon on the Mount? Do you remember that? He talked about two men building a house. One man was a foolish man, right? He built his house on the sand. The other was a wise man who built his house on a rock. But what did He say those two things actually represented? The sand and the rock. Do you remember that passage? Jesus said what? The man who hears my sayings and does them is the wise man who builds on the rock. His house lasts. The man who hears my sayings but does not do them, he is the foolish man, and his house is destroyed. The house is your life, and you want to build on a solid foundation.

So this concept of discipleship – if you do not settle this question, it is very likely that you will flounder all of your life. And the reason is, to actually experience the power of God in its fullness, it requires a full commitment. It requires being willing to obey even when it hurts, even when it’s a major sacrifice. It’s in those experiences that our faith is purified, and our faith shines forth like gold, and you actually experience the benefits of such faith. So I want to lay that challenge before you today, young men. Settle the question. Give it very serious thought. It may take you time to wrestle through it, and that’s fine. I don’t push people to make any decisions at any time because this is your life we’re talking about, and God is expecting you to stand true to what you say.

So that’s the issue of discipleship. Disciplining your life after the Lord Jesus Christ, following Him, having Him as your Lord and Savior.

I had an experience that I want to share with you. I really wish I could not share this, but I’m going to share it because it needs to come out. Several years ago, I was speaking to a young man, and he was facing some real challenges in his life. He had been raised in a Christian home. I’m not sure what went wrong with him, but he was beginning to turn from what he had been given.

And that’s one of the lessons I want you to take with you today. Take advantage of what you have been given. Whatever it is. Some have been given a lot more than others, but whatever good you have been given, take advantage of it. Use it. Don’t throw it away.

This young man was struggling. I remember him sharing with me. I was trying to figure out, because I had known him off and on for years, and he was in a spiritual battle for his very soul. And it seemed like at that point he was rejecting some of the temptations that he was experiencing, and he was wanting to do what was right. And I don’t know where he was actually at in that moment, but I do know that it wasn’t that long after that, that he basically turned his back on the church. He turned his back on his parents. He wanted to go out and live a life of sin – I don’t know how else to say it. He was drawn to that life.

So he went out. He connected with people that drink and carouse and do sexual immorality and all the other things. He was in that for a time, and he got himself into some problems. He ended up in jail, and I thought, now he’s in jail; hopefully God is going to speak to his heart and help him to realize that he got to change his ways. But he served his time, and then he came back out. So he made his decision of what he wanted to do with his life. He found his own life.

Things went for a period of time until one day I got a call from his brother, and I can still remember right where I was at that moment. He said this young man was dead. I said, “What happened?” He said, “He shot up with some kind of drug.” I don’t know if the drug was tainted or if he overdosed, or what the problem was, but that was it. I remember sitting at his funeral my heart just aching beyond belief. Why?! He gave his life. He gave his life for the wrong thing.

You have an opportunity to give your life for something that really matters – something of value! And for the glory of God, not for shame.

I talked about discipleship.

The next thing I want to look at is Escaping Satan’s traps.

I’m going to share a number or traps that young men especially are facing and falling into. You may be in some of these. I don’t know. Hopefully not. But whether you are, or whether you are not, you need to be aware of these traps, and you need to avoid these traps, and if you are in these traps, you need to get out! Because some of these things can cost your very life.

God’s will for every Christian, for every believer, is that we would have victory in Jesus Christ. So part of salvation is not just the forgiveness of sins, but it’s actually where God teaches us how to live, where we actually have the power of God, the Resurrection power of God in our lives on a daily basis, where we are no longer in bondage to sin. It’s not just a dream. It is God’s desire for it to be reality in your life.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32

It is Christ’s ministry; it is His work for you to experience the truth, (which Jesus Himself is the Truth), and to find freedom from the bondage of sin. You need to understand that. If you are beaten down now in your life, if you are defeated (I’ve been there), don’t give up. But understand that it is God’s desire for you to be free. It is God’s desire for you to have victory. That is His intention, and that is what He provides. Satan wants to keep us in bondage, because when we are in bondage, we’re in trouble, but we’re also very ineffective in any work that we could do to impact anyone else in a positive way.

1st. The first trap I want to look at is Pride. Arrogance.  

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Proverbs 8:13

I don’t know if this is something that you deal with or not. This has actually been a problem in my life, the issue of pride. It’s to view oneself as great. It’s to think more of yourself than what you should. That’s the idea of pride that we’re talking about – the thing that God hates. Pride is irrational. It is self-promoting. It is self-deluding. It is self-glorifying. A person that is proud has a skewed view of reality. They don’t have the correct picture of themselves and their relationship with God and others. Pride is a big problem. But at the extreme, if you go to the extreme end of pride, you will actually become a fool. You can’t be taught. You can’t be shown anything. You can’t be helped because you already know it; you already have all the answers, and you’re bent on going your own way.

Pride is something that God hates. It is something that God will not allow to stand. It is something that He has said He will deal with. “He will bring the proud low” (Job 40:12). He will bring His own discipline. He will bring His own correction. I know from personal experience that it can be very painful, where God will humble you, till you realize that yeah, I guess I’m not what I thought I was.

Beware of pride in your life. Don’t let it take root in your heart.

Now to clarify, there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. There’s a difference between boldness and haughtiness. They’re not the same thing. Now proud people can be very confident, and they can be very bold. But just because a person is confident and bold does not mean that person is proud. Confidence and boldness are actually things that come out of walking in the truth, walking in the Spirit in your life, and gaining victory over sin to where God is at work in your life, and you’re experiencing the power of God. So, I just want to make that clear. Sometimes people think a person that has some confidence – not so much confidence in themselves, but confidence in God, confidence in the Word of God, confidence in what God wants. That’s not a bad thing; that’s not really an indicator of pride. “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God,” the Bible says, and God will “exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). Watch out for pride.

2nd.  Second trap is Drugs and alcohol.

Why is it that people use drugs and alcohol? I’m curious. Any ideas? Why would people use drugs and alcohol? Somebody said pleasure. It makes you feel good, right? It’s to feel good. That’s the primary reason that people use drugs and alcohol.

I worked for a year at the Wayside Cross Rescue Mission in Illinois, and it was when I was a young man, 20-22 years old. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How people’s lives had been totally destroyed through drunkenness and through drug addiction and these things. We need to understand the danger. We need to watch out for these things.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1

Are you deceived by that? Is there an attraction there for you? Beware of drugs and alcohol. I think for a lot of us who grew up in a family without these things, it really helps a lot, and maybe you don’t have any desire there. I don’t know. But the pressure for some of these things and the lure of them is actually very strong in the world. Many many people get themselves pulled into this, and become addicts, and face all kinds of challenges as a result.

3rd. The next trap is – I have a couple of different things linked together, but they’re kind of tied together. It would be: The love of money. Wasteful spending. The use of debt.

I just kind of put these together in one package. The thing that’s happening here, as far as I can tell, with the love of money is it’s the belief that money is going to make you happy, right? If you had more money, you’re going to be happy. If you had the things money can buy, you’re going to be happy. This is a challenge that we face.

Your happiness will not come from having more money. There are situations where having more money is a real blessing, and money is something that we need to pay our expenses and get by. We understand that. But having a lot of money doesn’t make people happy. Often the opposite is the case.

If you think that spending and buying and getting and having is going to satisfy you, it will not meet the needs of the heart. It will not give you what you’re thinking.

This is where a lot of people, and young people especially, get themselves into some different types of debt problems. Think about your life being useful in the Kingdom of God, being free to go where God may send you, which could be many places. If you are in debt, you may not be able to go, because you have obligations that you need to repay. So borrowing makes you a servant.

The borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

I think we know that verse. Borrowing puts you in a servant position. You become obligated to pay that back, and you have to continue to do that over time. The reason that people borrow – why do people borrow? I ask that question. Why would you borrow to buy something? Why? 

Can’t wait. That’s exactly right. The thing that borrowing does is, it allows you to buy something today that you would either have to wait for or completely do without. So when you borrow for things, especially things that are not necessary, you are displaying a defect in your character. You’re thinking that you have to have whatever this is. If it’s not a need, you don’t need it. You don’t have to have it. It’s something that you should at least put off, and maybe do without.

The way that you handle money, and the way that you handle finances, it tells a lot about you. It tells a lot about the discipline that you have in your life or the lack of discipline. The skill there in saying, “No” to desires and the discipline of that will be an asset to you as you work in the Kingdom of God.

I know a young man right now. He’s doing remarkable. I mean, he graduated from college at the top of the class. He got a good job. He’s making good money. He’s getting additional certifications. I would say, from the world’s perspective, he is on target to be a millionaire, probably, I would think within ten years. The problem is, he doesn’t follow Christ. He has turned his back on Christ! It’s a sad situation. He has the love of money, and he’s seeking after that.

4th. The next trap – Sexual immorality and pornography.

The desire of a man for an intimate relationship with a woman is a normal natural desire. It is not bad. It is not evil. It’s not something that is of the devil. That’s a normal thing. That’s part of being a man. It’s the way God made us. The question is: What do you do with the desire? That’s the real issue. What do you do with it? If you allow that desire to take control in your life, you’re going to go places that God doesn’t want you to be. The desire is there to motivate you to marry and to have a family and to love your wife and to enjoy the privileges that go along with that.

And so as a young man, this is an area that in our society has become a major major source of temptation and a battleground that is wreaking havoc in many lives. I would like to know, but I’m not going to ask. But I would love to know, in the group that is present right here, how many in this group have looked at pornography this month. I would love to have an answer to that. In most circles, the numbers are staggering. It’s just hard to imagine.

In the old days, when I was young – I actually fell into this trap. I was not seeking after it. I actually found pornography without looking for it, and I got sucked in, and I was in bondage for a period of time. But in the old days (my case was an exception) you kind of had to look for this. You kind of had to take the initiative if you were going to be getting involved in pornography. Those days are over. Now it’s looking for you. It’s coming after you. Before it was, “Stay away from it.” Now it is, “Defend yourself.” You have to take steps. You have to guard your heart! You have to be ready! Because I am telling you, those temptations are all around you. They’re in your hand. It’s everywhere.

So this is an issue that I want to warn you. When you’re involved in this, there is a corruption in your heart that is happening, which is somewhat difficult to explain. I’ve experienced it. The guilt. The guilt is terrible! And the fact that here I am trapped in this, and yet I keep going back; I keep doing this over and over again. It’s just destructive to the very human make-up. Sexual immorality can cost you your life. Read Proverbs 7, and you’ll find out. It has landed many men in spiritual ruin. It is a trap that the devil continues to lay and continues to succeed in bringing people down.

5th. The last one I want to look at is Media, Internet, and Entertainment.

It kind of ties into the pornography somewhat, but this is sort of a different subject. I was raised on television. We had television. I spent hundreds and hundreds, possibly thousands of hours in my life in front of the television. When I was converted, one of the real battles that I had in my life was to break free from the television. It was a fight! Praise God, I got the victory.

But I tell you, it was easy compared to what we’re dealing with today. With media all around us, and always with us, the draw is there, the temptation. Things have really changed.

I was at Pitt University this week on campus. The students were there. I was in the cathedral of learning, a fascinating building on the Pitt campus. It’s a very large building like a cathedral. I was inside, and I just happened to look around and there were maybe 30 people around in there, and I just started to look. What prompted me is that I went over to a table, and here there were about 10-12 students – every single student was looking at their phone. Not one of those people was in conversation with anybody else around that table. I thought, now this is strange. Then I looked at the whole room, and I think around 80% of the people had their phone.

I have a phone. I use my phone. The phone itself isn’t the problem, but it becomes a problem when the phone becomes a toy. A phone is a tool, not a toy. Tools are for adults; toys for children. So that was the problem with TV for me; it was a toy. It is also an instrument that Satan uses to bring images and to bring ideas and to bring temptations. I’ll tell you what, there was no way that I could watch TV and work through all that to keep the temptations away. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get victory when I was watching TV. But I was able to get victory after [I stopped watching TV.]

The phone, the computer is a good tool. I use a number of things. In real estate, I’m an agent. We have electronic signature now. We have our listings on there and our showing requests. It’s tremendous the time that is saved. It’s good. But as a toy, all the media and all the glitz, and all the things that go along with that, it’s actually capturing the hearts of people. I don’t know if you have seen this, or maybe you have experienced it. Your life is about your phone. That’s your whole life. It’s about what’s happening on the phone. It’s who you’re connected with there. It’s what you’re watching. It’s what you’re pursuing.

If you remember back in the Old Testament with Absalom, it says in Scripture that he stole the hearts of the men of Israel, and by doing that, he was able to overthrow the kingdom. Satan is using the same kind of strategy, where through all these things, people’s hearts are being drawn in, and they’re coming into bondage.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

1 Corinthians 6:12

Is the phone a sin? No, it’s not a sin. But if you’re in bondage, if you’re addicted to your phone, that’s a problem. You’re under the power of it. If you constantly watch things on your phone which you know go against what the Bible teaches, and things that draw you into temptation, that’s wrong. You’re not to be doing that. You’re filling your mind with garbage.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things edify not.

1 Corinthians 10:23

We want to focus our time and energy on the things that edify.

Well, those are the things I had to share there of the traps. I’ve been in a number of these traps. I know what it feels like. If you are in these traps – any of them, I want to say this to you, you can get out! God can help you get out of that trap. God can deliver you! But it goes along with what we talked about at the beginning. You have to be a disciple. You have to surrender all. You have to follow what God says. You have to please Him.

God wants to set you free! If you’re not able to get free in your life, if you are defeated, if you are in bondage, let me say this to you (you’ve probably done it). Obviously, reach out to God. But if you’re still floundering, reach out to other godly men that you have confidence in.

I’ve become part of something that’s been a real blessing to me, and that is – for the first time in my life here in the past few years, I started meeting with a group of men. We just share what’s happening in our lives. We share the struggles we might be having. We share prayer requests that we might have or seek advice for problems or situations that we have. I’ve seen in this group, in just a short time, I have seen God do tremendous things in that. That was something I did not have as a young man. I was kind of out there on my own.

But I encourage you, reach out and find help! Because God wants to use you in the work of His Kingdom. God wants you to be someone who can actually be a blessing to others. A person that can bring deliverance to others, a person who can bring wisdom to others, who can bring other people to Christ. That’s what God wants to use you for. But to really be in a good position to be used, you need the experience yourself. You need deliverance yourself. You need victory yourself.

1 John 2:14 I’m going to close with this verse. It’s beautiful.

I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

1 John 2:14

Hallelujah! Is it true in your life what John writes? God wants it to be true for every one of us.

So I encourage you, I challenge you. We want to be there for you as young men, to help you become grounded and established in the faith and become useful as soldiers in the Kingdom of God.