I remember having a few good friends in my high school years who influenced me in both positive and negative ways. The opinions of my friends were far more important to me than the opinions of my parents. There were many times I would lie to my parents by telling them I was going to ‘youth group’ at the church, when in fact I went to the local movie theatre with friends instead. Since they both ended at the same time, there was no problem of my deception being discovered. Just as the influence of peers and friends plays a major role in the social and life development of an individual, in the same way, I have found this to be true in my faith development as well.
The most awkward times of our lives are the teenage years. These years are filled with brutal changes in hormones, brain development, physical changes, attraction awareness, and the infamous constantly asked question, ‘why?’ It is during this stage of life we begin to challenge everything we have been taught, questioning all opinions and rationale.
Moving from a child stage of faith to a young adult stage is very much the same. We suddenly begin to question our faith.
- Is the bible actually true?
- Is there a God and how can we know for sure.
- Does God actually like me?
- Who can I turn to when life’s pressure gets too intense? The list goes on.
This ‘young adult’ stage is critical in the journey of becoming more mature in our faith in Christ. For those who have grown up in a Christian home, it is critically important that they come to a place of moving on from having and believing ‘mommy & daddy’s faith’ to discovering their own faith. To those who have not grown up in a Christian home, you will move from a place of not having faith to having faith. Each person is on their own personal journey. The last few days we have been looking at the ‘child level’ of maturity, today I want to explore the next stage and see what it looks like.
The apostle John dealt with this issue in 1 John 2
- I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one.
- I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.
There are two major victories that define ‘young in the faith’, the first is having won the battle with the evil one. The second is that God’s word lives in your hearts. These are significant markers to help determine where you are on the journey of growing into spiritual maturity. Your age does not necessarily have a bearing on where you are as I have seen many ‘much older’ folks who have been believers for a long time, yet struggle with believing they are forgiven. (child level)
It is in this ‘young adult’ phase we will be asking a lot of questions. We will challenge those things we have been taught. We will begin to see how others view theology differently than we do. We will be testing and practicing disciplines and actions that better reflect the life of Christ in us. We will be inconsistent, we will have victories and failures. This is a teen stage, would you expect anything different?
Sometimes we can become too obsessed with trying to reach a goal or stage in life that we completely miss out on the joy of the journey or the person (Christ). Tomorrow we will continue to explore the ‘young adult/teen’ stage and find out what it might mean to ‘win the battle with the evil one.’
QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY
- Do you see teenagers talking like small children or even acting like them? (Does it make you question their maturity?)
- Does the language change as they get older? (bigger and better words?)
- Do teenagers mess up a lot? (if so, then why are we surprised when they do?)
- If you have teens, have you noticed that it takes a long time for them to learn certain patterns and remember many important life lessons?
- Can you see the importance of knowing these ‘stages’ so that we don’t judge each other in the wrong way?
VERSE FOR THE DAY
1 John 2: (NLT)
2 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world…..
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining…..12 I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. 13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one. 14 I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one. 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
VIDEO FOR THE DAY
Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMfjDKAqARs
Heavenly Father, remind me that you are in charge of my maturing process. Help me not to get my expectations too high. Allow me to be patient with others who are at different stages of growth and teach me how to simply love them, unconditionally.