Young men, do not be too confident in your own judgment. Stop being so sure that you are so right and others wrong. Don’t trust your own opinion when you find it contrary to that of older men, especially to that of your own parents. Age gives experience, and therefore deserves respect.
2. Love of pleasure
Youth is the time when our passions are strongest – and like unruly children cry most loudly for indulgence. Youth is the time when we have generally our most health and strength: death seems far away, and to enjoy ourselves in this life seems to be everything…’I serve lust and pleasures’, that is the true answer many a young man should give, when asked “Whose servant are you?”
Not thinking is one reason why thousands of souls are thrown away forever into the lake of fire. Men will not consider, will not look away, will look around them, will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of the present days, and wake up to find they are damned for a lack of thinking. Young men, none are in more danger of this than yourselves. You know little of the perils around you, and so you are careless how you walk. You hate the trouble of serious, quiet thinking, and so you make wrong decisions and bring upon yourselves much sorrow.
4. Contempt of Religion
This also is one of your special dangers. I always observe that none pay so little outward respect to Christianity as young men. None take so little part in our services, when they are present at them – use Bibles so little – sing so little – listen to preaching so little. None are so generally absent at prayer meetings, Bible studies and all other weekday helps to the soul. Young men seem to think they do not need these things – they may be good for women and old men, but not for them. They appear ashamed about seeming to care about their souls: one almost fancy they think it a disgrace to go to heaven at all.
5. Fear of Man’s Opinion
It is terrible to observe the power that the fear of man has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, and to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and the tide. What others think is right, they think is right, and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, their God.
J.C. Ryle in Thoughts for Young Men