God's Power is for You!

Ephes. 3:20 (NLT) Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Live in the Light

We live in a culture that puts cell phones in almost every teen’s hip pocket or purse and computers in most of your bedrooms. The media bombards you with what to want, what to wear, what size to be and what is and is not cool.

Decadence hides behind tolerance and far too many of us fall for its lure. Hormones rage, but the Bible says that pre-marital sex is sinful. "Are you kidding me?" You ask. Everyone you know is having sex – or at least they talk and act like it. Still, you've been taught by your pastor and others you trust that abstinence is God’s way.

Your skin suddenly looks like the surface of the moon and hipster jeans don't seem to be made for any normal body. Although you can have freedom from sin’s confusion and walk in the light, all that sometimes gets mixed up with what to wear, what’s on the schedule and who is that new kid you saw sitting all alone in the cafeteria? He must have been a loser. Oops, that wasn’t nice. Maybe he’s just new. Well, you could help him out. No way! You can’t worry about some strange kid - Not with all that’s on your mind!

The most amazing part about your "messed up life” is that it really doesn't have to be that way. In-between all the confusion, you can be totally forgiven and at peace – Sometimes, it's easy to forget that.

How can you strive to become more like the One who died for you? How do you actually do that "walk in purity" scenario? It’s not like it comes naturally. Don't beat yourself up about falling short. It’s not easy to deny yourself - Often you just don’t want to do the things your parents or other adults want you to do. They sometimes seem to treat you like a wind-up toy. But, maybe that's not such a bad thing, since half the time you don’t know which direction to go next.

Parents wind you up with advice that seems overly simplistic, like, "Just say no", or "Remember that you are a child of God." Adults honestly seem to think that your life’s nothing but charmingly simple and that, because you are a Christian, your choices are easily made. So, off you go into the real world where you are exposed to a great deal more than "simple".

In the end, it’s mostly up to you to figure out how to do the right thing. So to successfully manage your swirling thoughts, you need to rely on someone to help you figure out the how? Who can you trust with the boiling emotions within?

When it all gets too much and you feel like you could just freak from the pressure, where do you turn? Jesus… is the answer to your dilemma. Sound simplistic again? Well, it is! When you have Jesus with you all the time, when you make contact with Him through prayer every day, He won't fail you. He can be the best "best friend" you'll ever have.

Tell Jesus what confuses and tempts you. Find friends who will help you learn to rely on Jesus, instead of all the world’s mixed messages. He will really be there for you in a way that no one else ever could. Check out your local church and Christian youth group. Stay connected to Christian fellowship. And, don’t get me wrong - I want to be clear on this; not every kid in that group is "for real" either! You have to understand that sin is alive and well in this world of ours. Prepare yourself for the truth that there are imposters everywhere in life. Some kids in the group just want to get out of the house on a week night. Others are honestly seeking the right answers but none of those kids will be perfect either. God is still working on us all. In a youth group, however, you do have a better chance of hooking up with some genuine friends.

You can expect to make some friends that won’t talk behind your back, or rag on you for relying on a higher power than yourself, or them. You can comfortably go to the source – Jesus, who waits with baited breath for your love and worship. Give Jesus a chance and see if He isn’t everything He claims to be. Know that Jesus doesn’t want to condemn you or make you feel like a failure. He does want you to see your need for Him.

We all mess up - Show me someone who has never lied, or stolen something, or gossiped about others, or gone too far with the opposite sex - I’ll show you a mannequin! There isn’t any one of us that can claim to be continually walking in the light like Jesus Christ. No one can do the right thing 24/7. So you’ll have to resist that prideful part of you that doesn’t want to admit mistakes and just tell Him what you have done in the past. He can take it. Ask for His forgiveness.

Pour your heart out to the most compassionate man who ever walked the earth. He can renew you and fill you with his Holy Spirit. A lot of teens blow the whole religion thing off. They figure that’s for the older generation. But don’t wait till later to find your destiny and purpose. Don’t miss today’s opportunities because you’re too busy to see them or too proud to search for them. Seek the Lord and all He has for you, just as you are. He will slowly guide you down paths that cleanse and restore your spirit.

Jesus is the only one who will love you and understand you unconditionally. In Ephesians 5:16-17, (NLT), it says, "So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict."

So... now you are prepared to cope with your life and make the right choices. Begin by welcoming that new kid who looks lost and dorky. You know he’s got to be suffering, sticking out in the crowd, all alone with no one to talk to. You may be the only one all day who tries to help him feel acceptance. You can do as Christ commanded in Matthew 25:40 (NLT), "And the King will tell them, I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me."

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