Autonomy (self-law) vs Theonomy (God's law) – this war is in the heart of every person. Human beings are like fragile little fish that God put in a beautiful fish-bowl in the middle of a scorching-hot desert with the water just the right wetness, temperature, etc., with just the right amount of food and light and other fish to be happy. This bowl is complete with the pretty colored rocks at the bottom, the little coral reef to protect the fish and help them feel safe, and it even has a treasure chest. But these fish are absolutely incorrigible in their insistence that they need to experience what it is like to explore the dry desert sand outside the fish bowl. Now, God has told them: “If you jump out of the bowl into the sand, you will be miserable and die – and you can trust me when I tell you that because I am the highest authority that exists. I created you, the fishbowl, and the desert.” Nevertheless, the fish insist on trying it. And many regularly die. What’s more amazing is that the fish that remain in the bowl watch the fish who abandon the safety of the bowl die in the desert, but the temptation to join them remains the same.
Recognize this tendency in all your young men – they are like those fish in the perfect little bowl surrounded by the arid desert. The younger the fish, the more likely it is to be swimming up right to the top of the water to consider taking that little hop to check out the desert sand. Our job is to do everything we can to stop them from jumping out because if they do, they will die.
J.C. Ryle says, “Pride sits in all our hearts by nature. We are born proud. Pride makes us rest content with ourselves – think we are good enough as we are – keep us from taking advice – refuse the gospel of Christ – turn every one to his own way. But pride never reigns anywhere so powerfully as in the heart of a young man. How common is it to see young men with big heads, high-minded, and impatient of any counsel. How often they are rude and uncourteous to all around them, thinking they are not valued and honored as they deserve! How often will they not stop to listen to a hint from an older person! They think that they know everything. They are full of conceit of their own wisdom. They think elderly people, and especially their relatives, are stupid, and dull, and slow. They want no teaching or instruction themselves: they understand all things. It almost makes them angry to be spoken to.”
1 Corinthians 8:2 "And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know."