In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
-Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
Today’s world seems to label all teenagers as rambunctious, immature, and rebellious. And while many live up to that stereotype, people sadly fail to see them for who they are- human beings. The true nature of teenagers is not corrupt; their true natures are human, just like the rest of us. And they are in need of Christ’s love now more than ever. This young age is when the world begins to take a toll on them, when they begin to make choices for themselves, for better or for worse.
It is our duty to be role models to these teens, to start them off on the right path as they enter the scary world of adulthood.
Did you know that one of the leading causes of teenage deaths is suicide? Often, the emptiness and sorrow in a teen’s life is a result of a lack of love, sense of purpose, and strong adult figures in their lives. What are we doing wrong, that we would cause teens everywhere to throw away their lives without ever knowing Christ? What can we do to bring our teenagers closer to God?
1. Be there for them.
Sometimes teens just need to feel like someone cares, that there is someone who loves them. It may be that rowdy kid on your street, or it may be that quiet kid at church; all you have to do is let them know that you care.
You never know how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life in such a simple act. Your love will reflect the nature of God; when hurting teens see that you are truly looking out for them, they’ll begin to see the brighter side of things. Go out of your way to give them reason to live, and suddenly they’ll think, Maybe there is something to this Christianity thing after all.
2. Talk to them.
So much could be going on in a teen’s life, and you wouldn’t even know it. Sometimes they just need someone to comfort them and someone to vent to; don’t hesitate to be that person.
You could change someone’s life just by the words you say. Tell them that there will be brighter days that they were made to do great things, and especially about God’s love.
Don’t be too preachy, or that might drive them away. But stress that God loves them no matter what they’ve done or who they are, and that He sent his son to die for their sins.
Emphasize that they were made for a reason, and that one day their sufferings will be taken away, and that nothing compares to the joy that is coming. Suddenly, that teen will seem much less alone.
3. Pray for them.
You may not be able to turn someone’s life around, but through Christ, all things are possible. Always remember our teens in prayer; not only individuals, but that generation as a whole.
They are the future of our world, and we need strength and faith to set a good example for them. Pray that they will be open to what God has in store for them, and that will learn to be wise in an increasingly daunting world.
When it comes to teenagers, many adults steer clear of them. However, God want us to speak his word into someone’s life, and we have a responsibility to train up these young adults.
Bringing teens closer to God is not an easy task; but with God’s interference, the task will be made much easier.
What are some of your own tips for raising teenagers in Christ?