“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Young men come to the PAYH from diverse backgrounds and home life. There seems to be with each one of them a necessary adjustment time to get to what we call “over the hump” of a drastic life change living at the Youth Home. Schedules, respect for authority, work ethic, life without addictive substances, spiritual input, and memorizing Scripture all represent an almost 180 degree turn from what they were previously used to.
Does a positive response to these changes come easily? Not at all. It takes time. Often, it is initially one step forward then two back, and sometimes it is no steps forward! You just do not go from using addictive substances to not using at all, or from giving in to anger to consciously restraining anger, without some problems in body, mind, and emotions. Attitudes definitely have to be calmed and adjusted. From being required to do hardly any work from whence they came to actually working daily, paying attention in classes, and responding with respect to authority, these are all part of a “hump” to get over. It never happens overnight.
Through all the years in the long history of the Youth Home, we have extensive experience to know that genuine salvation in Christ of a young man makes all the difference in the world. There is all too often a profession that one has “accepted” Christ, but, nevertheless, the authenticity of salvation is evident in the actual changes that take place in his life thereafter. One who has truly come to “know” Christ as his Savior cannot help but talk of what he is experiencing and testifying to the presence and impact of Christ. He is one who pursues the righteousness of Christ and desires to please Him in his behavior and life.
How much of a transforming effect does genuine salvation make in any of our lives? Are we radically and immediately transformed? Or do a lot of our former characteristics remain? Those who are “in Christ” are aware of this promised process of sanctification in re-creating our lives, in making us into a “new creation.” It is a life-long process that does not conclude until we experience glorification beyond the grave. And yet the Scriptures tell us if anyone is in Christ he/she is a new creation at that point. There is mystery in this whole process, primarily because all of us are still sinners, though redeemed sinners; for, as the definition of sanctification declares, we are, in being and becoming sanctified, dying more and more unto sin and living more and more unto righteousness. This indicates a growing, progressing movement in us.
Therefore, recognizing the vital importance of knowing Christ and becoming a new creation in Him in their future success, we seek to evangelize and disciple the many young men who providentially come to the Home. All our efforts are not successful, but we work in that direction with energy, prayer, and purpose. The mission is wearying and difficult. It requires perseverance by the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. But this is our calling and our mission.
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
(Verse 4 of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain,” 1738)
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