5 Ways to Seek God as a Young Adult

We all remember what it’s like to get our first taste of real freedom in life. A time when your parents allowed you to make a decision for yourself that used to belong to them. For many of us that experience came when we got our driver’s license. For me, that was the pinnacle of my existence when I turned 16. There was nothing else that mattered in life other than my ability to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted (it’s ok to laugh at my naivety). I immediately got a job at our local movie theater and began saving the $1000 my parents told me I needed to contribute to my first car. Before too long there I was, sitting in the driver’s seat of a 1995 Infinity i30. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Sure the paint was a little chipped, the seats had some cracks, the headlights were slightly cloudy, but she was mine!

After a few months of owning that first car and experiencing small tastes of freedom, I was ready to make bigger decisions about how I wanted to live my life. I called my parents and asked their permission to stay out a little later before spending the night at a friend’s house. They initially refused and told me to come home, but after several minutes of begging and pleading they allowed me to make the choice for myself. Elated, I told my friends and we were, quite literally, off to the races.

The next phone call I made to my parents came after I crawled out of my passenger window from an upside down car.

To this day, that was the most anxiety I have ever felt about a phone call. I knew for sure I was grounded until graduation, was never driving again, and would have to make new friends; there was no recovering from what I had done. Yet, that’s not the response I was met with. I was met with a hug. I was met with, “It’s alright.” I was met with, “I love you.”

I had freedom that night. That freedom led to failure. But here’s the truth we all need to hear…
The failure I experienced that night taught me a lesson no success would have ever taught me. I NEEDED the freedom to fail.

Below are 5 ways to grow closer to God as a young adult. Whether you are in college, have joined the military, entered the workforce, taken a gap year, or are just figuring out this thing called life there is one thing we all have in common. We must receive and accept the freedom to fail.

So parents, this first way is for YOU. You must give your young adult the freedom to fail. If they don’t receive that freedom from you they will be cut off from the success they could experience and the lessons they could learn through failure. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of granting that freedom, consider Jesus.

In Luke 9 we see Jesus send out His disciples out into the world to proclaim the gospel and heal people everywhere. Think about this for a moment-- Jesus gave His disciples the freedom, power, and authority to go represent Him in towns all over the region. If there’s anything we know about the disciples it’s that they failed over and over again. They fought with each other, they doubted and even denied knowing Jesus after His arrest. Ultimately, Jesus knew that they needed to be prepared for the time after His ascension into heaven when the church would begin and grow through them. He knew the only way they would be ready to lead the church was to send them out while He was still there, in person, to lovingly teach them and correct their failures (see Mark 9:14-29).

Jesus still works that way with us through the Spirit. He lovingly teaches and corrects us every day as we fail. Will we as parents follow Jesus’ example for our children?

Young adults, what about you?

Are you ready to take the next step of your life, not simply vocationally, but spiritually? Are you ready to be used by Christ in new ways for His kingdom and His glory? Ways that you have never been used before? Are you ready to fail as you explore your calling? Do you want to stand before God as a “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)?

Here are 4 ways you can grow spiritually as you graduate high school, go to college, move out, start a new job, or whatever phase of life you find yourself in as an 18-25 year old with a new freedom you have not experienced before!

1.  PRAY
This is always the most basic yet undervalued way to experience God’s presence in our lives. Philippians 4:6 tells us we need prayer in everything! Dwell on that word for a moment. Everything. There is no moment in your life, no choice you will ever make, that you don’t need to talk to God about.

This is especially true when that choice is causing a level of anxiety in our hearts. The simple (but not simplistic) cure to anxiety and worry is prayer. Praying rightly is difficult. We often pray for our own desired results. We pray that God will work on our schedule, in the way that we want. But what if we simply dwelled on the goodness of God, remembering all that He has already done for us, and prayed that He would work things out in His way (v.7-8)? Then what if we took steps in our lives that followed God’s plan instead of our own (v.9)? God tells us that “the peace of God will guard our hearts” as we pray in this way.

As we pray we will need to make a choice in our heart to count the plan of God as joy in our lives. James 1:2 tells us to choose joy in trials, but this is not a blind joy. We are not commanded to be happy without knowing why we should be. Verses 3-4 tell us that we can choose joy in difficult circumstances because we know everything is happening for a reason. Again, it’s not some secret reason that we get no insight into. The reason is clear. The trials we go through in life complete us. You will never be the follower of Christ you are designed to be without the refining fire of difficulties in your life. Yet, we often miss this truth because we wallow in self-pity or get trapped in depression over the trials we face. We need to remember the reason we are facing these trials, that God is using them for specific, glorious, life-giving reasons that are often too far in the future for us to fully comprehend.

Our joy comes from what we focus on. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 4:16-17, telling us not to lose heart, while he was in jail, most likely hearing over and over again of Christians being killed. Are you focused on the kingdom of God or the momentary affliction in front of you?


None of us are meant to go through life alone. We are all designed to be dependent on one another as a one body, the body of Christ. Yet, so often I hear of people isolating themselves due to stress, workload (school or job), sadness, exhaustion, or sometimes just feeling like they are better off on their own.

Let’s look at Jesus again though. Think about the night of His betrayal and arrest. Jesus felt the stress of what He was about to endure as He sweat drops of blood. He knew the burden of sin He was about to endure. He knew the immense sadness He would feel as He was separated from the Father. He knew the exhaustion His body would face as He was beaten, lashed, stoned, and crucified. However, He knew He was not better off on His own as He prepared to go through all of this. Matthew 26:36-46 shows us that Jesus wanted to be with His closest friends as He prepared for His darkest hours on this earth.
We need a community that will challenge us, support us, pray for us, and spur us on in life. Just as importantly we need to commit to doing the same things for others. Community is not primarily about what you will gain but what you can give. Where there is a community centered around the mutual building up of one another-- there you will find true life change. If you don’t have that, maybe God is calling you to start it… No matter what, we must not give up on community.

Jesus needed community. We need it even more. None of us are better off on our own.

In a culture where truth is relative to each individual, we must consistently and diligently choose to love objective truth. We must first of all believe that some things are completely true, no matter what anyone else says about them. We know this is true scientifically and historically, but so often the culture wants to limit objective truth when it affects us emotionally or experientially. The thought process is, “What we feel about a situation or statement is true, but if someone else feels something different then their truth can be different from mine.” On one hand, there is some validity to this. We can experience the same situation and feel vastly different about the outcome. For example, when your class takes an exam it is extremely likely that each of you will walk out of that exam feeling differently about how it went.

However, what you cannot do is say that because the exam made you feel bad it is not a true exam, and therefore the score shouldn’t count. The exam is still true, no matter what feelings you have about it. This is the same concept we should apply to our understanding of truth. There are certain things that are true no matter what we or anybody else feels about them. To be a Christian we must categorize Scripture and its teachings in the realm of objective truth. Then we must love this truth so much that it saturates into the depths of our lives. John 8:31-32 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” The word is what is true, and the truthfulness of God’s Word is what sets us free from the bondage of sin in our lives.

Here is the ultimate question you need to ask yourself…
What will you do with your freedom?

How you answer that question will continually define you as you go throughout your life. Will you fill your time with safe choices and worldly pursuits? Will you seek only your own truths and desires?

Or will you submit your freedom to the rule of Christ in your life? Will you pursue Him in prayer, choose His joy over your own self-centered desires, find a community that builds up, and commit to truth that lasts forever? Will you follow Christ to the ends of the earth, knowing that wherever He leads you is better than wherever you would place yourself? Will you use your freedom, your life, to build His kingdom?

What will you do with your freedom?
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