Over the years I have witnessed many teenagers come to Jesus in their faith only to, a short while later, completely give up on it. I’ve decided to write up a few things that every teenager needs to know when they decide to come to Jesus in their faith.
1.) Jesus isn’t an emotion:
Teenagers are very young and vulnerable as they are discovering who they are as an individual. The teen years can be the most emotional years of our lives. I have experienced thousands of teenagers come to Christ at events I have spoken for. Many times that experience can be a very emotional one. But for certain events like camps, conferences and church events teenagers can experience an incredible high point in their life that is connected to the commitment they had just made in following Jesus. When they return home, back into the real world, reality settles in and that high emotional feeling can easily fade away. They begin to question whether their commitment to Jesus was real or made any difference because they don’t experience the high emotions they once had. Many times this results in a walk away from their faith in Christ. The truth is, that teen confused Jesus with their emotions. It is true, meeting Jesus can be a very emotional moment but the true proof that we actually committed to him is found when those emotions aren’t present.
Jesus isn’t an emotion, he is the anchor for our soul when the good emotions aren’t present.
So if you are a teen that is reading this, it’s important to understand what is happening with your emotions in the midst of spiritual change and healing. Understand that Jesus isn’t your emotional ups and downs. When you feel lonely, sad or depressed it doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t with you and it doesn’t mean you can’t come to or be with Jesus. If you meant your commitment, it was real.
2.) Following Jesus isn’t easy:
Many times teenagers can be mislead on what it looks like to follow Jesus. Somehow, it’s often taught that when you follow Jesus your life will become better. No doubt about it, there is definitely truth to that. Following Christ and, choosing to live the way Jesus lived when he walked this earth, will certainly lead your life choices in a better direction and bring peace, joy and contentment to your heart. The part that teens, and many people in general, get wrong is that they think Jesus makes their life perfect. When Jesus doesn’t come through in making their life perfect they begin to believe either he is a liar or simply not a strong enough God. The truth is that when you choose to follow Jesus it can sometimes be harder than the alternative way of living but it can bring about healthier, more Godly results to your life. Following Jesus doesn’t mean your life will be perfect but it does mean that you have a perfect hope in the midst of the storms. Following Jesus doesn’t mean that racism will stop or that terrorism will end but it does mean that you don’t have to fear such things. I often explain it from the stage that it’s like you’re in a sail boat in the middle of the ocean.
You can’t control the wind and the waves but you can control which way your sails will go.
It means that, when the storm comes and the waves crash and the thunder strikes, that you have an anchor to lower and reach a firm foundation to keep you from capsizing. That anchor is your hope in Jesus. Jesus is your anchor. Choosing to follow him means that you have an unshakable hope in an unshakable God that will bring you through your storms. Follow Jesus may not be easy at times but it is definitely worth it.
3.) Its more than a decision:
Following Jesus isn’t a simple decision you make that sets you up for life. It’s a commitment. Following Jesus is truly that, following. Many times a teenager will decide to follow Christ and leave it at that. A single decision. Unfortunately, if that’s all you do, you miss out on the true life Jesus can give you. Following Christ is committing to live your life above the ways of this world.
When we decide to confidently follow Christ in the midst of hard times it shows God that we meant the decision we made.
If we choose to follow Christ and then ignore him and fail to follow through with that decision we hold ourselves back from the blessings that God wants to give us. If we continue to live that way it reveals that our understanding of following Christ is Skewed. Following Christ is more than a decision it’s a commitment. A commitment to live a life following Jesus instead of following the world. Living your entire life the best way you can to the glory of God and not the ways of the world.
These are a few things that are important for a young person to understand when it comes to following Christ. If a teenager can commit to following Christ with their whole life, committing every part of their life to him and refuse the ways of the world it will bring life to their heart and soul here on earth as it is in heaven.