Christian Living

Spiritual Life

When Teens Choose God Over...

When teens burn out or just feel detached and divided, chances are they’ve missed Moments.

I define a Moment as choosing God over  ___________. That blank is something in which we put more faith in, find more hope in, and show more love to than God. Could be a person. Could be a place. Could be anything.

When we choose ____________ over God, we’re falling out of love with Him. That might sound a little sensational, but consider the ways Jesus tells us to love him:

  • By obeying Him (John 14:15, 21)
  • By putting Him first in our lives (Matthew 22:37-40)
  • By sharing Him with others (Matthew 10:32-33)

When we’re burnt out or detached, we’re not insanely in love. It just doesn’t fit. Think about couples who are just crazy about each other. Listen to them. They talk about each other all the time. It gets annoying—if you don’t understand where they’re coming from.

They’re insanely in love.

When our Moments arrive, we have a choice to make: Get closer to Jesus or stay in our rut. I know that sounds like an obvious choice, but it’s not.

Ruts are easy. You don’t have to change anything about yourself. Getting closer to God instead of ____________ requires big changes.

Engaging your teen in these three concepts is an excellent way to nudge them to that crazy love relationship with Christ.

Hearing God’s Word (Not Reading It)

Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of God. I like how this verse doesn’t say faith comes from reading. We read the Bible plenty. But to actual hear? That’s another story.

Hearing is when we dive into God’s Word as if we’d just found the secret to the universe. Hearing is when we stop leaning on our pastor or parents’ knowledge of the Bible and begin experiencing the two-edged blade by ourselves.

It’s the difference between going to a football game . . . or hearing about the game from a friend. You might get the same final score and play-by-play. But you’ll miss the smell of the grass. The electricity of the crowd. The crunch of a killer hit.  

So think about that. What does God’s Word mean to you? Is it just a book that looks good on our shelf, iPhone or Kindle?

Or is it something we run to? Something that gives us life?

We’re not always going to close our Bibles feeling lightening-struck. But we can certainly feel wowed.

Digging through treasure does that to you.

Speaking More and More and More Jesus

When you start hearing God’s Word, you can’t help but talk about Jesus. I mean, He died for us. Considered that lately? Like, really?

Jesus knows everything, including your pain and deepest thoughts. His death wasn’t just personal to those who watched Him hang on a tree. He knows your name, your passions, your hurts, and your need for love and a Savior. And He died for it.

For us.

We will never fully understand why, but He did. We will never fully understand how, but it happened. What we can understand is that He. Is. Amazing.

Do you talk about Jesus freely? When does He enter your mind? What happens when He does? It’s an amazing thing when He does. Because that burnout and detachment starts feeling like power. Like love and self-control.

Jesus. Let His name rev you up.

Praying that Whatever God Wants ... Will Happen.

“What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?”

Ever been asked that? It can be hard to answer. But what if the interviewer spun the question like this: “What do you want God to accomplish through you in the next five years?”

I don’t know about you, but I’d be tempted to answer the same way I would the first question—listing everything I wanted to happen.

But following Jesus requires an answer closer to this one: “Everything He wants to accomplish—whether that matches my desires or not.”

When we pray “God’s will be done,” we are saying to Him, God, you know I’ve got plans and dreams. And I know you’ve got plans and dreams for me. Sometimes mine match yours, and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, I choose your way because it’s perfect. Even when it hurts.

Without this surrender it’s impossible to choose God over ___________. Because as soon as something happens that we don’t think is fair, we blame God and shift our focus back to ___________.

Even great people like John the Baptist, while in prison, questioned God’s goodness because he didn’t understand why he was in chains while there was a lost world to reach.

We need to want what God wants even when we don’t understand. For when we finally surrender to this concept, it’s like choosing God over dictionary.com.  

Moments are God’s way of shouting: “Come back to Me.” Have your teens heard Him lately? Are they choosing ___________ over Him?

Maybe their Moment involves a guy or girl. Maybe it’s their love for drugs or drink or lust. Maybe it’s something completely different. Only they know.

Shrugging away Moments is a big mistake. C.S. Lewis said God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, and shouts to us in our pains. He said hard times are “God’s megaphone to rouse” our deaf selves. When we’re hurting and feel God speaking, we need to listen.

But many teens don't want to. They need a nudge.

Are they choosing  ___________ over God? Do they hear His Word? Do they talk Jesus? Do they want what God wants?

Have these discussions with them and start meeting Moments head-on.

© Caleb Breakey. Used with permission.

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