What would it look like to see a teenager on fire for God? What if we lived our lives as a living sacrifice for Jesus? What if we valued our Bibles as greater than our phones? What if we viewed God’s opinion as more valuable than others’? What if we treated following God’s commandments and being like Jesus as critical? What if God came before social media, clothing, sports, and even personal safety in our lives?
Does such a teenager exist? Please introduce me to them!!
Many stereotypes are placed on millennials and especially teenagers. People tell us we are lazy, ignorant, act entitled, easily sidetracked, and technology obsessed. And although we are looked down upon, we are not expected to ever do anything more than fulfill those stereotypes.
Constantly, I’m being bombarded with people saying how terrible and worthless millennials and teenagers are, but I’m never told how to become valuable and people never ask me to help serve with anything. Instead of taking the time to teach me a work ethic and show me the wonders of non-technology, they just complain that we aren’t learning these things ourselves.
Even in the church teenagers are treated differently than adults. You’ll never see an “adult group” where older members of the church get together to play games, eat pizza, and hang out with friends. They go to Bible studies where they intensely study the Bible.
But, in many churches, teenagers can never just get together to study the Bible or learn about God, instead, there is always a game, meal, or a fun trip attached to it. I’ve never understood this. Are teenagers only capable of having fun? And we wonder why this generation feels entitled!
As teenagers, we need to take a stand against these stereotypes. We’ve come to a point in our lives where the spiritual baby food is no longer filling. We have become restless because we are unable to study the Bible for ourselves because we have never been taught how to. I long for someone to come along and challenge me spiritually, but instead, I am looked upon as weird for wanting more than is being given at youth group.
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
Many times we are told the first part of the verse: don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Every Christian, even the teenagers, has something that God has taught them, a lesson they have learned, or a story to tell. We should be learning from each other, old as well as young.
But don’t miss the second half of the verse: set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. How do you get people to listen to what you are saying and take you seriously as a teenager? Act like you should be listened to! Use your speech not to tear others down, but build them up and encourage them; conduct yourself in a way pleasing to the Lord; love God, but also love others as yourself; have faith in God and trust him to lead you and teach you; stay pure and don’t corrupt yourself with bad influences, in person or on the internet.
If we, as teenagers, start acting mature and studying God’s word for ourselves, we are not only going to grow in God, but people are going to see our example and learn from us.
Don’t continue to accept spiritual baby food, but begin tasting and savoring the goodness and greatness of our awesome God. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough because of your age. God can use anyone as long as they are willing to be used and live their lives open to God’s presence. I pray that God will open our hearts so that we can offer our lives to him to be used for his glory. I also pray that God will open the eyes of the people around us so that they come to realize that the teenage years aren’t a waste, but that there are teens willing to honor and glorify God with their lives.