Set The Bar High

We have a problem in America. This problem is called delayed adolescence. This is when sons and daughters stay at home, dependent on their parents, until they are 30-35 years old. It’s a sad state of affairs when you compare it to the bygone generations. I believe this is because of the low expectations we have set for teenagers.

For nearly 5000 years there were only 2 time periods, childhood and adulthood. It wasn’t until the 1940’s, and in a Readers Digest article no less, that the term teenager was used.

Think about Shepherd David when he killed Goliath, by all accounts a teen boy, or King Josiah who began to rule in Israel at age 8.

More modern ideas would be a kid named George. This kid grew up as a farmers son and at the age of 17 became the official land surveyor of Culpepper County, VA. 2 years later at 20 he was made a Major in the Virginia Militia, and at 23 named commander of all of Virginia’s troops, this man, accomplished as much as many life long military men by 23, and would later go on to serve as the Commander in chief of the American Troops during the Revolution and the first president of the US.

Nowadays, the high end of expectations for teens is that they make their beds and take out the trash.

Do you see the disparity?

And it is in these low expectations that we have failed to model well what they should do. We don’t show them, because we don’t think they can do it.

Titus 2: 6-8:

6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Young men need us to show them how to be men of God, not simply boys playing Christian. They need us to have high expectations of what they can accomplish for the Kingdom of God because that is the only way they will ever believe they can.

They need to know they are not alone in their failings.

Do you remember your teen years? How many times did you desperately want guidance and encouragement back then. Here are some of the conversations I wish someone had shared with me:

  1. “You’re not the only one struggling as a young Christian.” I was certain I was. Surely nobody was battling temptations like I was. At least, nobody was talking about it. That was part of the problem.
  2. “Let’s talk about pornography and lust.” I cannot say strongly enough how I wish a Christian man had cared for me enough to initiate that conversation. Fathers, waiting until you catch your teen in this habit is an abdication of your responsibility.
  3.  “I’ll show you how to read the Bible and pray every day.” I wanted to do it because my pastor told me I needed to do it. Nobody taught me, though, so I struggled trying to be obedient. No teenager should have to learn these disciplines on his or her own.
  4. “God forgives you, but you’ll probably remember your sinful choices the rest of your life.” Had I known 20 years ago that I’d still occasionally hurt over my past sin today, I think I would’ve made some different choices then.
  5. “Be ready for God to change your plans.” You may think you know what you’re going to do with you life, but God may have other plans.
  6. “Don’t be a jerk.” I was at times, especially when I thought I was better or smarter than others. I wish someone had confronted me in my arrogance then so perhaps I wouldn’t deal as much with arrogance now.
  7. “Even teenagers die.”That’s morbid, I realize. None of us knew that fact, though, until a classmate died – and no one talked us through our questions.
  8. “The choices you make today can come back to haunt you.” That’s probably even more the case today. Facebook posts, tweets, and other social media options reveal a teen’s foolishness to others, including college recruiters and future employers. (Tim Challies Blog, edited)

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