An Example She was the sweetest old lady you would ever meet. Crippled with severe arthritis, she sat in a chair by her front window day after day. She sewed, crocheted, knitted, and made braided rugs to sell so that she could give the money to various missions. She had a heart for the Lord’s work. She longed to see missionaries go out to foreign lands and win souls to Christ. And she was a prayer warrior too. An incredible Christian lady! When I left home early in the morning to go hunting or fishing, she was by the window in her chair. When I came home late at night from a church meeting, she was still there. She loved and lived missions. One day while visiting her, I asked how she came to be so interested in missions. The story she told deeply affected my life, and I will never forget it. As a teenager she accepted Christ as her Savior. As she grew in her walk with God, she felt called to be a missionary. She surrendered her life to that call and prepared to go to Bible School for training. She met a young man who was kind, handsome, and wonderful. Before long, they were in love. But there was one major problem. She was a Christian and he was not. She was called to be a missionary, and he couldn’t care less about the Lord’s work. She was faced with a very big decision. Should she respond to her God-given call to the mission field or her personal desire for marriage and happiness?
She said “No” to God and accepted this young man’s proposal to marry. She knew in her heart it was not the right choice. But she was young and there would be plenty of time for missions. And besides, maybe she could get him to start going to church and maybe he would get saved. Couldn’t that be her mission work now?
Teenager, every day your life is filled with choices. Some are very small and some are very big. But you have to make choices, and you will live with the consequences of your choices, whether good or bad.
The very first decision recorded in the Bible was a bad choice. When confronted by the serpent (Satan) in the Garden of Eden, Eve chose to disobey God, and so did Adam (Gen. 3:7). As a result the whole human race was plunged into sin (Rom. 5:12). And we’ve had problems making the right choices ever since.
Teenager, there are four great influences working in your life every time you have to make a choice. There are personal interests: What you really want to do. There are peers: What others want you to do. There are parents: What those who care most about you want you to do. And there are principles: What God wants you to do. Let’s look closer at each one of them.
• Personal Interests: We all have personal interests. They are personal desires, likes, dislikes, goals, ambitions and other things that we consider to be very important to us. And the choices we have to make will be greatly influenced by our personal interests. That’s why it is so important to make sure that you live by godly values, and that your interests are the things God is interested in for you. If your personal interests and God’s interests conflict, you better take a serious look at yours and make some changes.
• Peers: The people we choose to associate with, our peers, also have a tremendous amount of influence on us. Many teenagers have been tempted to make bad choices because of the influence of their friends. They knew what they should do, they knew what was right, but the “peer pressure” was just too great and they gave in to it. Choices were made that they have regretted the rest of their lives.
How sad that people who have so little serious interest in us can have such a strong influence over us. Choose your friends very carefully. You could live a long time regretting a bad choice of friends. Proverbs 1:10 says, “If sinners entice you, do not consent.” Choose the kind of friends that will motivate you to do the right thing, not the sinful thing.
• Parents: And what about parents? The generation we are now living in says this: “Do your own thing. Be yourself and live your own life. Parents are out of touch with what really matters. Make your own choices.” But teenager, God gave you parents to do more than merely provide a house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, etc.
God wants your mom and dad to be your main source of wisdom and counsel, to guide you in learning how to make the right choices. After all, they’ve been a lot further along the road of life than you have. They’ve learned a few more things along the way, and some of them the hard way. Learn from their experience, and their mistakes. Let them help you avoid the “pot holes” of life.
And besides all this, God tells you to “Honor your father and mother … that it may be well with you” (Eph. 6:2-3). When parents are included in your decisions that reduces a lot of pressure on you. When parents are excluded that increases the pressure on you. And who needs more pressure! Keep mom and dad in your corner, on your side, as an ally not an enemy!
• Principles: Then, there are the principles of God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 says that God’s Word is a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” It shows us the right way to go, and the right thing to do. It gives us the wisdom of God to help us make the right choices. And who knows more about life than God does? After all, He created us! Why not take advantage of His wisdom and counsel. It will save you a lot of heartache that comes from having the wrong friends, going in the wrong direction and making the wrong choices.
Have you been wondering about my old friend, and whether you’d hear the end of that story? Well, she went on to tell me through her tears, the regrets of wasted years. Yes, they married, but their marriage was not a happy one. They had children. As they grew up they followed their father, and none of them ever came to know the Lord. They got married, but all ended up in divorce. Her husband died young and left her with very few good memories.
She was broken in spirit and health. In short, she paid a terrible price for her wrong choice. She admitted that her present interest in missions has been simply her attempt to “pay something back to God” for her failure to choose what she knew was right for her many years before.
Now teenager, what about you? The choices are yours. Be very careful how you make them. The rest of your life and that of many others will be affected by your choices – for good or for bad! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).
By Jack Palmer
Teenager, How Will You Answer Life’s Most Important Questions?
What are the most important questions you can ask yourself? Is it what kind of job should I get? Or where should I go to college? Or what career should I pursue? Or whom will I marry?
While all of these are important questions, none of them are as important as the two Jesus, God’s Son, asked His disciples: “Who do men say that I … am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt. 16:13-16).
Your answer to the first question shows how much you know about what your friends think. Your answer to the second tells Jesus what you think of Him, and where you want to spend eternity!
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org