I recently had a conversation with one of my teenagers about some things that concerned me with her behavior. Her response was, “Mom, I’m a typical teenager who doesn’t talk a lot and likes to stay in her room or see my friends.”
Now, I was definitely like this. In fact, I was much, much worse than she is. My parenting style is a struggle in finding a balance of assuming she is or is not like I was, and judging her for my own sins between the age of 10-19.
My question now, as a mom and true believer in Jesus Christ is, why should teenagers (or anyone for that matter) get by with saying they are “typical,” meaning they reflect the worldly view of every other teenager? Or, when a family member says, “That’s just how the Simpsons are,” or “That’s Thomaston blood.”
Wait, I thought we were made new in Christ and the old had passed away and the new had come? Although family traits or stereotypes can be fun to joke about, to cling to any hereditary behavior from your earthly father/family, from an earthly last name, negates the very power that Christ used to change us.
In fact, that’s why when we see a tattooed, motorcycle guy walking into church with his leather on, that we’re so guilty of judging his outside appearance, when we don’t know what Jesus has done to the inside (and we really have to stop looking at the outside, unless my girls are dressed without a skirt extender.)
Maybe he was once rough and rowdy, getting into bar fights and staying drunk all the time, or maybe…the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead washed over him one day, and he fell to his knees before the Savior that loves him, and went wholeheartedly after the Lord ever since that very day. I’m pretty sure Saul-turned-Paul-the-murderer was dressed in a religious robe when God had to blind him to get his attention.
Back to my original thought though… Do kids get a pass for every mistake they make because it’s what everyone else does? Or is it really possible to raise teenagers who want to be “set apart?”
1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
I know a lot of people would disagree with me on this – saying there are rites of passage for teens and college students, but why are we okay with them sowing their oats in worldly rituals, when Christ clearly has called us to be different?
Why wait until your 20’s to “settle down,” and get more involved in church? What if you don’t make it to your 20’s? What if you put off knowing the Lord and then run out of time? Why would we ever want to tell the Lord to wait – that we will “BRB” after high school or college, while you “live a little?”
Proverbs 20:11 says, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
Note: I know they will all make mistakes. We can’t know grace without falling. My concern these days is for teens and students who know the truth, know the gospel, but willfully want to move away from it because they actually don’t understand it…
Oh, how I wish I had known all this and studied it and lived it in my teenage years. I was in church three times a week, but I was just there. I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t saved and did not understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ.
Saved isn’t a church term. It’s a Bible term. Over and over again He tells us… and what are we being saved from?
A fallen world. The earth. Currently under satan’s rule, seeking to and fro whom he may devour because he knows his time is short. He needs to take out people, distract them, discourage them, saturate them with worldly pleasures, so they don’t look to Christ. He’s like a death-eater from Harry Potter and there are demonic forces at work every second of the day – to fight against Christ and the building of his Kingdom.
So, who’s fighting for the Lord? Do we say we are all Christians because that’s the family line, but we do nothing like a Christ-follower?
Do we excuse our complacency because “that’s life,” or “life is hard.”
I’m writing this for me as much as I am for the person reading it. Depression kept me out of the battle for too long, and attacks from other people made me want to shrink away and not care about anyone else at all.
But, Jesus died for everyone. And He didn’t die for us to be “typical” in this world. He died so we could Royal. Set Apart. Chosen. Missionaries. Warriors for the gospel.
And He meant right now.
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Philippians 2:14-15 – “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
1 Peter 1:15-16 – “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Psalm 119 – “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 – “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”