As you are entering the teen years of your life, you probably have observed someone who has gone through this process before you, maybe an older sibling or a friend. They may have handled it with grace and for God’s glory or perhaps they didn’t. You may have noticed the changes made during this period in their life. They grew taller, looked a bit different, and they were expected to make more and more decisions on their own. No one is perfect, but perhaps you’ve had a godly teen role model in your life. How did they accomplish that? Maybe, you have not had such an example in your life and you are wondering if it is even possible to live through the teen years with a godly reputation to show for it. If it is possible, how then?
In this article I am going to share my personal thoughts on the subject, from my own teen years, and examples from Scripture of how God has used young people to make an impact for His kingdom. Each person’s walk is going to be different, but the goal should be the same: to bring God the glory in whatever we do.
The Teen Years can be Sweet Years
One of the most tragic lies that young people believe, is that the teen years are meant to be a time of rebelling and of partying. Even though you don’t plan on rebelling, there are certain expectations for you to do so. As a young person, not quite or just beginning the teen years, you may not know why that is. There are so many pressures and decisions made during these years that it, certainly can be a trial and error period. There are also several freedoms given during these years that are hard to adjust to, for both parents and children. As you struggle through the hard times in life, know that God is trying to do a mighty work in your life. He prepared hard things for many of His followers, to get them where they needed to be. Take comfort in the Scriptures and try the following advice out for your own life.
1. Realize that YOU are responsible to God
One of the saddest things is when a person, who grew up in a Christian home, grows up to walk away from the Lord because, they didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. Sure you can walk the walk and go to church, read your Bible, pray, and even witness, but those things don’t make you saved. Only by accepting Jesus as your Savior are you truly saved. You have a decision to make. It is not possible to tack on your parent’s faith to your life. You have to accept Jesus as your own. Trust God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to guide you. God wants you now! Let Him take control. Here is a great quote to help put things into perspective. “God’s way is the way we would choose, if we knew all of the facts.” This is so true! Many times young people don’t want God’s plan because they think that God doesn’t know what is best. Well, He does! He knows the details that you like, the desires that you have, and the purpose for your life. He knows because He gave those things to you. Trust Him fully!
2. Listen to the Authorities that God has given you.
There are those older and wiser put in your life for a reason. Your parents, grandparents, and even older siblings are examples of authorities, in your life, that should be involved. They are placed there for a reason. The authorities in your life should use wisdom and God’s Word to guide you. Listen to them. Be respectable and give honor to them, even if you do not understand why. Often the answers that you don’t want to hear or the answers that you don’t understand, will be the path that is going to benefit you later. The book of Proverbs is full of wise words, begging children to listen and obey their parents. Often a verse from Proverbs starts by saying, “My son…” and/or some form of saying “Listen up!”.
However, not everyone has those types of influences in their lives. God still has a plan for you in their care. Even ungodly authorities need respect and curtesy. If you are trying to be a Christian in an ungodly home, you are still called to give your parents honor. Hold hast to your convictions, if based in God’s Word, while being a light to those around you.
Jesus, the ultimate example, displayed this beautifully.
Jesus had godly parents and He honored and respected them. In Jewish culture a boy became a man at age thirteen. Keeping this in mind, consider this example. When Jesus was twelve, He and His parents went up to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. Without His parents knowing, Jesus stayed to speak with the religious leaders in the temple. (I am not saying to leave without your parents knowing! Just keep following.) Mary and Joseph had gone a day of traveling, assuming that Jesus was with family. When they discovered that He wasn’t with them, they had to travel back to Jerusalem. That was another day. In Luke 2:46, it says that after three days, they found Jesus in the temple. After being questioned by His parents, Jesus answered respectfully while He also made it clear that He was about His Father’s business. Then, without a fight or a sigh, Jesus went home with His parents. Later in life, at His crucifixion, Jesus still honored His mother by seeing that she was cared for by John. (Luke 19:26-27) Jesus gave His parents honor while doing what His heavenly Father led Him to do.
3. Be Open and Honest
If there is one thing that destroys relationships it would be the lack of communication. When communication breaks down, it creates walls. An open flow of communication is necessary in any relationship, and will be especially necessary as a young person starts to make decisions on their own. Discuss things in your life to your parents. Be honest and open. If God has blessed you with wise parents then they will be overjoyed to hear the thoughts, concerns, and struggles coming from your heart. Tell your parents about your struggles. They are there to help you and, more than likely, they will relate to your struggles because they have been through similar situations. It’s a lie to think that your the only one struggling with something because you’re not. Give them your heart and trust their advice and counsel.
For further on the topic, here is an article.