Sometimes I think parents hope that their teenagers will love Jesus so that they will be safe and secure through the tumultuous years of adolescence. It’s the “If Jonny is a Christian, he won’t drink, smoke, chew, or sleep with girls that do…” religion.
The problem comes when you look at if from a teenagers point of view. Everything about the teen years is about living on the edge and doing something different with their lives, yet the church and parents seem to wrap a Christian package of safety and security. It’s no wonder teenagers, in mass, are leaving churches in America. They watch oh-so-dull relationships with Christ and hear oh-so-dull speeches about purity and make one big connection: Christianity is boring and the world is exciting. What a completely wrong representation of a very controversial Jesus!
I have never looked at Christianity as a safe place to land. I grew up in a non-religious home where my dad looked at religion as weakness. When I decided to make Christ a part of my life as a teenager, I was being “rebellious” to the way I was raised. I knew that I was walking into a land-mine of controversy for the rest of my life. I would need to know what I believed, why I believed it, and defend that belief at a moments notice. I would need to live out my faith with actions and attitudes that never faltered. I would be far from safe and far from secure.
I have carried those feelings into my adulthood. I look at living daily for Christ as a great challenge and very risky. I look at the things that are asked of me in the Bible and say…CAN I REALLY LIVE THAT WAY AND HAVE GOD COME THROUGH FOR ME? Try giving 10% of your income to your church and living off the rest…better yet, try selling ALL of your possessions and giving the money to the poor. That’s what the Bible challenges us to live like…Feeling safe and secure now?
Our teenagers want to see the risk in it…and believe me, there’s plenty to show them. It’s time for our older generation to get off of our lazy spiritual butts and live out the adventure that God laid out…preach the Word, give money you don’t have, shut off the computer when your tempted to look at porn, don’t whine about who hurt your feelings at work and be Jesus to them, go on a missions trip, pray out loud over your family at dinner…whatever it is…give your faith some legs.
The good news for all parents of teenagers: I didn’t drink, smoke, chew, or sleep with anybody as a teenager. You really can have the best of both worlds because once a teenager sees how incredible a life with Christ can be, they will do what it takes to succeed.