The teen years are a wonderful time of life. I hope you are embracing these days as God-given. Teens are some of my favorite people – the creativity, enthusiasm, ingenuity, excitement for life, and more. I love that most teens are willing to rewrite the “rules”; meaning that they are unaware often of the unwritten rules of certain tasks and aren’t afraid to forge through in a new way.
These years are some of the most formative years of your life. How do you get the most our of your teen years? I;ve worked with teens for 20 years and whether they are solid or weak has to do with the three areas below. I haven’t fleshed this out with examples but hope that you are able to gain from this anyway.
- Choose who you are going to serve - Don’t wait until you’re older. There are no guarantees in life. Have you decided for Christ or against him. What you believe about Jesus will determine how you live. It is vital that you examine your faith and any decisions you have made about his gift of salvation. Make sure that they are sincere beliefs! Are you growing in your walk with the Lord? Are you nurturing that walk by Bible study, prayer, memorization of His Word, and fellowship? Joshua put this same challenge in front of the people of Israel. “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (24:14-15).” Set the foundation now for the rest of your life.
- Identity - Know who you are! Ephesians 2:3-5 finds Paul addressing the church at Ephesus. “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” 1 Corinthians 5:15, 21 states “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has com: The old has gone, the new is here! God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When we become true believers, we no longer need to create a false identity. We can know that we are new, we are in Christ and He in us. We need only be true to him. The teen years are when most people begin to build their identity – don’t be distracted and tempted to get your identity wrapped up in this world. Make sure that whatever you do (sports, music, intellectual growth, artistic, etc) doesn’t define you but rather let the fact that you are Christ’s define you. Don’t allow what other people say or feel about you define who you are (be that good or bad). Keep your eyes focused on Him and He will sustain you and grow you to be exactly what He has intended for you. Be so wrapped up in him that it is the very fabric of who you are.
- Image - We all project an image to others. What image are you projecting to others? Are you of this world or are you being made more and more like the image of Christ. Colossians 3:5-10 has an important message for us – “Put to death, therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming. you used to walk in these ways in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (emphasis mine).” Wow – that pretty much lays it out there! We must not fool around! We must live with one thought of pleasing Christ. Spend time in the word and prayer. It is vital to your life.
Be encouraged and choose your master wisely. Be who God created you to be and reflect the image of God. These things will lay a strong foundation for the remainder of your life.