Five questions to ask a young man


For the despondant, lacking growth or zeal, what hope is there of moving on to gaining blessings? There are a few things I say often, and David Murray has these and some more in a helpful format I now copy.

This post is a direct adaptation theft of David Murray’s note Five questions to ask a depressed person. Read the original first.

Young men have problems. We are immature, not sure where to go. The young man of Proverbs is not stupid, nor set in his wrong ways, but he needs encouragement to turn to Christ. He needs to be told that setting his heart on what is good is necessary. He may be unhappy, despondant or genuinely depressed in some of the cases I know, or just wayward and flapping in the wind. Where is he at?

  1. “Do you accept that you have a problem?”

    Simply because someone wants advice or help doesn’t mean they have chosen wisdom over the company of fools. He might not even know what is right, or be willing to throw his lot in with any course. “It is very common for [young men] to deny” that they need to submit to any authority to grow, or to take charge of their difficulties at all.

  2. “Are you willing to explore all the possible dimensions of this problem?”

    Some people just want a quick-fix to their difficulty finding happiness or fulfilment, acceptance over rejection. But, unless a person is willing to explore all the possible dimensions, most effort will be frustratingly handicapped.

  3. “Do you want to be made whole?”

    We struggle to submit to Christ’s teaching in so many ways, and when large areas of our immature lives are held in our own grasp, it is hard to let go. Part of the sinners’ prayer is a commitment to turning over all our lives to Jesus; it includes a promise and hope in sanctification, but there are many on the borderline who profess Christ but when pressed will not even nominally admit that he justly claims everything. These are tough cases, when it is no different from working with a non-Christian. There is no hope of moving forward unless we can exhort each person to ask Christ to give them a desire to have their all.

  4. “Are you willing to do what you can to contribute to the healing process?”

    “[P]astors are often faced with the frustrating situation of people who need their help, yet are not taking the steps required to benefit from this help: practical suggestions are not followed through, Scripture is not read, necessary medication is not taken, friendships are shunned, etc.” There is a shining hope on offer, and it takes a desire to have it combined with a willingness to work towards it to see progress.

  5. “Do you trust me when I tell you that you have good hope of recovery?”

    “As hope is such an important part of recovering from depression, I’d like to ask ‘Do you have hope of getting better?’ However, as depression usually involves a general sense of hopelessness, initially I ask them to trust me that there is hope, rather than have that hope themselves.” This is tough, but the Spirit will bring joy and hope for change and a new heart to all who seek him. Press on, put down nominalism or freewheeling and take up an eager desire for more. Joy, zeal, passion quiet or noisy; these are for absolutely all believers, and each of us is to take them up.