“You just don’t understand.”
“Why do you have to be so mean.”
“I want to live my own life!”
These common complaints are usually part of the rocky and challenging life of teenagers. Teenagers are no longer little girls and boys but they are not yet adults. The transition from childhood to adulthood is a path laden with potholes and blind corners.
Teenagers experience bodily changes that are sometimes exciting and at times awkward. They undergo emotional changes that can be confusing at times. Teenagers also reach out for “adult status” but at times their efforts are hurried and risky.
God’s Word the Bible has some fine counsel and advice to help teenagers through their challenging years. Here are a few:
Remember your Heavenly Father
Ephesians 3:14,15 reads “On account of this I bend my knees to the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.” God is the originator of the family arrangement and he knows best what is good for us.
The teenager who listens to his/her heavenly Father is wise and will benefit from following God’s counsel such as this one:
Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: “I have no delight in them”; Ecclesiastes 12:1
Teenagers can draw close to God by reading his word the Bible and by communicating with him through heartfelt prayers.
Respect your Parents
The originator of the family has given mothers and fathers the responsibility of taking care of the children they bring into the world. He has also given children (including teenagers) the command to be obedient to their parents.
Children, be obedient to YOUR parents in union with [the] Lord, for this is righteous: “Honor your father and [your] mother”; which is the first command with a promise: “That it may go well with you and you may endure a long time on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3;
Observe, O my son, the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Proverbs 6:20
It is in a teenager’s best interest to listen to his or her parent(s). Parents know more than their children and their life experiences make them qualified to impart knowledge and wisdom to their teenagers. When the Bible is used as a guide to teach teenagers the path of righteosness, the result will likely be a family made up of God-fearing teenagers.
Be Aware of the the “desires incidental to youth”
There is enormous pressure on teenagers to fit in and go along with the latest trends. At times peer pressure tempts them to engage in practices that are immoral and illegal. The Bible encourages teenagers to:
Flee from the desires incidental to youth, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call upon the Lord out of a clean heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
Youthful energy, inexperience and desires can be a dangerous combination if allowed to go unchecked. The Bible gives youths counsel about:
- work – (The very craving of the lazy will put him to death, for his hands have refused to work. Proverbs 21:25)
- cheating – (The LORD hates anyone who cheats, but he likes everyone who is honest. Proverbs 11:1, Contemporary English Version)
- abusive speech – (Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from YOU along with all badness. Ephesians 4:31)
- drunkard (Do not be misled. Neither fornicators…nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards…will inherit God’s kingdom.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10)
- clothing (Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3,4 New International Version)
- friends (A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Proverbs 17:17, Amplified Bible)
- violence (Do not become envious of the man of violence, nor choose any of his ways. Proverbs 3:31)
Stay within your assigned boundary
Not much is said of Jesus during his early life. However the Bible makes a significant reference to a time when Jesus was 12 years old. As is customary his parents Mary and Joseph took him to Jerusalem for the festival of the passover each year. On one occasion his parents were returning home to Nazareth and noticed that their son was missing. They eventually found him in the temple where he was “sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning them.” (Luke 2:46)
Although young Jesus was doing something commendable his mother said to him: “Child, why did you treat us this way? Here your father and I in mental distress have been looking for you.” (Luke 2:48) His parents made him aware that they would appreciate it if he told them of his whereabouts. Doing so would put them at ease and prevent moments of “mental distress” such as the one they endured for 3 days.
Just as the son of God was required to make his parents aware of his whereabouts, today’s teenagers should do the same and live within the boundary set by their parents. This boundary includes where teenagers are allowed to go, what activities they can engage in and what time they should return home.
These limitations are for a protection. Also the heavenly Father expects parents to set limits and enforce discipline as part of effective parenting.
A rod and reproof impart wisdom, but a child who is unrestrained brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15 (NET Bible)
As a teenager matures and act more responsibly, a parent should relax the restrictions placed on that son or daughter. Parents should always be mindful of the Bible verse that says “YOU fathers, do not be exasperating your children, so that they do not become downhearted.” (Colossians 3:21)
“My son, my law do not forget”
As a teenager approaches adulthood, he should be preparing himself for life away from home. His parent(s) would have hoped that their wise teachings are taken to heart. Thus, the departing teenager or young adult will be motivated to resist the world’s pressures even when his/her parents are not watching.
My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you. Proverbs 3:1,2
Here are some valuable Bible verses that should guide your daily life:
- The Golden Rule “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.” Matthew 7:12
- Love your neighbor “Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore love is the law’s fulfillment.” Romans 13:10
- Conquer evil with good “Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.” Romans 12:21
- Seek peace “If possible, as far as it depends upon YOU, be peaceable with all men.” Romans 12:18
- Be kind, be forgiving “Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave YOU.” Ephesians 4:32
- Be faithful “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” Luke 16:10