Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.
Much of Solomon’s wisdom literature in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes is aimed at young people. Often his advice is to listen to advice, approach life soberly and work diligently. But here he adds balancing statements to encourage young people.
It is natural to want to have fun—to rejoice and let your heart cheer you. And it is okay to enjoy life, if you never forget that God’s laws are for our benefit. Remember that if we break them, we bring automatic penalties on ourselves.
The best way to remove sorrow from our hearts is to put away the cause of sorrow, which is evil—doing things that are contrary to God’s way of life.
Childhood and youth are fleeting—like a vapor or trying to grasp the wind. Of course, as we get older, we may look at our whole life that way. This perspective can help us live this life to its full potential and, more importantly, to prepare for a purposeful eternity.
For more about God’s perspective and purpose for our lives, see our section on “What Is the Meaning of Life?”