“Teens will be teens” is one pastor’s response when he heard that some students in his youth group were drinking, smoking and doing drugs. Although parents and leaders were aware, these kids not only continued in their habits but they led other teens down the same destructive path. Now ~ I’m not going to criticize the thoughtless comment because I will be the first to admit to often speaking before thinking.
But unfortunately, some people think that teenagers should act foolishly and impulsively and this is their time to do so.
As children navigate through their teens from childhood to adulthood, it’s important for the adults in their lives to gently and continually guide them toward Jesus ~ not make excuses.
It’s a breath of fresh air when young people are living for the Lord, blessing others and are mindful of their future. The world notices. It should be expected because what else is a child of the King to do? Obey God and serve others, of course!
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Lives can be saved or destroyed by the words that are said because words matter. Young people can impact younger children who look up to them and want to be just like them, be a blessing to their peers and family, and also set an example for the older folks who have forgotten the right way to live ~ or the right things to say. Adolescents have a stronger influence than they realize. It is important to always look to the Lord and put Him first in everything ~ including what we say.
Even children are known by the way they act, whether their actions are pure and right. Proverbs 20:11
It’s a well known fact that kids will sometimes do dumb things. Which is why they are closely supervised by adults until the age of 18 or older and car insurance is usually sky high until age 25. They’re still growing and learning.
When mature adults act foolishly, it’s inappropriate and embarrassing so it shouldn’t be overlooked or tolerated when teens engage in this type of conduct.
When we were in high school, there were a group of teens in our youth group who were bold and faithfully served the Lord. Some had godly parents who were good role models and some not so much. We had a super great youth pastor who carefully guided us and encouraged us to walk with the Lord. He challenged us, taught us, and lovingly pushed us out of our comfort zones.
At the same time, there were adult leaders in our youth group who were living worldly lives and destroying the very kids they were suppose to serve.
It’s a tough world to live in and living a selfish life will not make life easier.
There comes a point in everyone’s life when they decide which path they’re going to take. Teens don’t need to wait until after they do all the stupid and foolish things first before deciding to live right.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.
Teenagers will often have a low self esteem. But the truth is ~ it’s OK. It’s OK to still be learning and failing and not knowing what to do or say. We’ve all been there. No one goes from being a kid into a perfectly mature adult over night. Most people don’t become that in a lifetime. But continually looking to the Lord and growing in Him will make all the difference in the world.
Young people: God loves you so much and is crazy about you. He knows every little detail about your life and He will guide and direct you. He loves you so much that He died on the cross for you.
All you have to do is believe and trust that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead. This is important. The most important decision you will ever make!
You don’t need to try to impress people. If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, God is already pleased with you and you matter to Him. You have the freedom to love yourself and to love those around you ~ even if it’s awkward and imperfect.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
And Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6
Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
We can have faith and trust God even when things look grim to us. Many people go to college after high school because they know that the hard work and dedication will bring rewards in the future. It will bring a better life and a higher income.
Teens need to think that way for their personal decisions also. Making good positive choices in their daily lives will make a better future for them and their future family. One day teens will have a family of their own and the things they do today can affect their future spouse and children.
Teens need to learn the value of having faith and seeking God every single day.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 2:22-23
~ Seeking and loving God
~ Loving others
~ Right living
~ Self Control
~ Sexual purity
These are all areas teens need to learn and grow in. They’re not going to do this perfectly and they’re going to fail, but that’s the beauty of growing up. You learn from your mistakes.
Being intentional in your children’s lives to show them accountability with love and direction is immeasurable.
~ SHOW UP
~ BE THERE
~ WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD
Parenting teens isn’t easy and I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I’m learning this as I go along even though I wouldn’t exactly call myself a newbie.
Sadly, we have found that it’s not uncommon for teens in church youth groups to engage in cruelty, rejection, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, porn, and homosexuality. These are not just the typical rebellious teenager or unchurched bringing a negative influence to youth groups but homeschooled children, church leader’s children, and children whose parents are very active in the church. No one is immune.
It takes faith and boldness to be a teenager who is a shining example these days ~ but it’s a life worth living. Strength and courage comes from God and parents can make a huge impact on their children with their loving encouragement and faithful prayers.
People who are quick to dismiss our concerns haven’t raised a teen in this tech savvy, politically correct, God-hating times. Be vigilant and look to the Lord. If something seems off, investigate until you’re satisfied. Don’t be afraid to hold your teen accountable. It may very well save them.
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