12 March 2015

Seek the Lord While You Are Young

Experience tells me that people’s hearts are seldom changed if they are not changed when young. Seldom indeed are men converted when they are old. Habits have deep roots. Once sin is allowed to settle in your heart, it will not be turned out at your bidding. Custom becomes second nature, and its chains are not easily broken.

J.C. Ryle
The prophet has well said, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). Habits are like stones rolling down hill — the further they roll, the faster and more ungovernable is their course.

Habits, like trees, are strengthened by age. A boy may bend an oak when it is a sapling — a hundred men cannot root it up, when it is a full grown tree.

They grow with our growth, and strengthen with our strength. Custom is the nurse of sin. Every fresh act of sin lessens fear and remorse, hardens our hearts, blunts the edge of our conscience, and increases our evil inclination.

Young ones, you may fancy I am laying too much stress on this point. If you had seen old men, as I have, on the brink of the grave, without any feelings, seared, callous, dead, cold, hard as stone — you would not think so.

You cannot stand still in your souls. Habits of good or evil are daily strengthening in your hearts. Every day you are either getting nearer to God, or further off. Every year that you continue unrepentant, the wall of division between you and heaven becomes higher and thicker, and the gulf to be crossed deeper and broader.

Oh, dread the hardening effect of constant lingering in sin! Now is the accepted time. See that your decision not be put off until the winter of your days. If you do not seek the Lord when young, the strength of habit is such that you will probably never seek Him at all.

I fear this, and therefore I exhort you

—J. C. Ryle

HT: Truth Community Church

Further Reading
Dedicated Pastors Produce Discerning Sheep
Resting in the Immutability of God
You Cannot Sneak Into Heaven Without a Cross

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