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There comes a time when every parent must sit down and have that much-needed conversation with their teen in order to prepare them for what's ahead.
Some parents may feel uncomfortable, unprepared, or unqualified. Others may not even know where to start, but talking to your teen about what awaits them is vital.
Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
In an age in which sin is glossed over and distributed throughout varying channels in society, parents must realize the formative role they play in the foundation and growth of their children's spiritual development.
As this world continues to be tossed to and fro by the whims of culture and competing ideologies, it's important that teens hear from their parents the authentic truth of Jesus' ability to love, lead, save and deliver. More than just a routine of right actions, parents can help usher their children into an authentic relationship with the Lord in which they know their God.
Psalm 145:4 says, "One generation shall praise Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts."
Parents have the opportunity to see God give their teens "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power" (Eph. 1:17-19).
Unfortunately, everything about our culture is set to entice and lure young people into believing they only live once. But the truth is that each human soul was made to live forever. It's true that our bodies will die, but the spirit of every person will continue to live.
Our teens must know this truth. And they must know the One whom they can rely on in this age, as well as in the next.
While we often think of missions as an ongoing project occurring in the farthest reaches of the earth to people from different cultures, a primary mission field for parents resides in the home. Those in desperate need of the gospel are not only thousands of miles away. Most often, they are downstairs in the family room or in their rooms plugged into media, receiving messages and paradigms based on man's way of thinking.
The only thing that can truly counteract the false gleam of sin is the beauty of Jesus. Revelation 12:11 says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death."
That's why an authentic, growing relationship with Jesus, in which teens are confident in God and relate to Him as the God who became fully man is necessary for every teenager.
Thankfully parents are able to dispel myths and rumors, field questions daily and actually help lead teens to search out a genuine relationship with their Maker for themselves.
An intentional relationship with God is rarely one that is entered into without an introduction. That is why the Lord made it clear that as His followers we are to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19–20).
When parents want their children to be good stewards of money they teach them about money. And when parents desire for their children to be productive members of society, they teach them about morals, ethics and hard work. Young people are never left to their own devices to figure out how they feel about chores, the house rules, their family members, possessions or parents' standards. The same approach can be set for their spirits—the part of them that will last for all eternity.
Just as Jesus in on the throne interceding for us, parents can follow this example, praying for their children to see Jesus as He is, as a man and not just an activity to be engaged in once a week or a friend to call when they need a little extra help.
Jesus is not insurance and He is not a band-aid. He is God. But children aren't born knowing this truth. It is revealed to them by the Spirit of God.
Parents have the unique opportunity of being able to help guide teens into this truth in the midst of car rides to and from school and band practice, over evening meals, and while out running errands.
And while every parent desires for their teen to have accurate information about God, like many conversations this is less about how much you know and more about getting your teen started on the right path for them to discover more and grow in intimacy with Jesus.
You can encourage your teen to seek the Lord through the simple, but effective plan of helping your teen know God, trust Him and talk with Him.
Help Your Teen Know God
The consistent aspect of a child's nature is that they may not always do what their parents tell them to, but they often do what they see their parents doing. When you exemplify the daily relationship of walking with the Lord, it is easier for teens to gain an understanding of what an intimate relationship with Jesus can look like. As you read your Bible and devotional, take moments to fellowship with Him and seek Him in your family's affairs, teens are better able to grab hold of the practical outworking of intimacy and apply it in their lives. Parent can easily call their teens to an authentic, growing relationship with God through simply displaying their own daily relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Psalm 145:8-9 says, "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all His works."
Help Your Teen Trust God
Most children grow up believing their parents are stronger, wiser and less flawed than they are. While you don't need to divulge all of your areas of weakness, being honest about a person's inherent sinfulness and your own need for the Lord and His leadership can help teens understand the state of every person without Christ. Even in your flaws, you can point to the One who makes all things new, who has faithfully led you and provided for you throughout your life, which will help lead your child to look ultimately to Christ for all things.
"The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Ps. 145:14–16).
Help Your Teen Talk with God
When teens know they are fully loved and greatly desired by the most powerful and kind ruler alive, their confidence is built and their identity developed as a son and daughter of God. The more teens talk with their Father, the greater insight they have into His character and ways. As they read the Bible, pray, and meditate upon scripture verses, teens are able to grow in knowledge of God and grow in intimacy with Him, knowing His voice. From this place, they are better equipped to confidently pursue their calling in partnership with the Lord.
"The Lord is near to all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and will save them" (Ps. 145:18–19).
Then we will see the Lord answer the unarticulated cry of our teens' hearts: "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may quickly spread and be glorified, even as it did with you. And pray that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men, for not all men have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command you. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ" (2 Thess. 3:1-5).
To help your teen grow in intimacy with other believers, we offer Awakening Teen Camp for teens ages 12–18 and our annual summer conference Fascinate. Both events offer times of encounter as teens seek after the Lord, engage in prayer, worship and powerful teaching and moments of ministry in a corporate atmosphere.
Fia Curley serves on the NightWatch at IHOPKC, participating in prayer, worship and intercession from midnight to 6am. She enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders and immigrants from non-Christian nations.
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