Summary: A Graduation Message
Lies our Teens are Falling For.
My project this spring and summer has been trying to grow a new lawn. I made the mistake last winter of not getting our leaves up in time and they sat, raked in a big pile for the entire winter. When we finally got around to raking them up, it was too late for our grass, so we had a huge circle in our lawn that was completely bare, along with a corner of the front yard where my brother got stuck in the snow and spun his tires for 15 minutes. I learned an interesting thing about grass. Even if you follow all of the directions, that doesn’t guarantee that the grass will grow. Some will sprout right up, other seeds took much longer, some haven’t grown at all yet. Grass will grow under my sidewalk through concrete but I can’t get it to grow in the nice soft dirt with fertilizer and all that good stuff!
Working with the grass has reminded me of my job of working with teens and of parenting teens. Both can be frustrating, both take a lot of time, effort, and attention, and both can have beautiful end results. And like the grass seed, you never quite know what you’re going to get with each teen. Some will thrive with love and spiritual food and some will seemingly not respond at all, only to sprout some time down the road. Then there are those that will never respond and refuse to grow despite our best efforts. No matter how different each teen is there are certain things that as parents and youth workers, we know are beneficial to every teen and there are things we know are harmful to every teen. They may respond in different ways to these things but deep within the heart of every teen are certain needs and insecurities that Satan loves to exploit and take advantage of to turn the hearts and minds of our teens away from the God who created them and loves them. This morning I want to look at just three of the lies our teens are falling for.
Lie # 1 Freedom means Forgetting
High School is an exciting time. You are growing up and becoming an adult and learning to make decisions on your own as your parents begin the process of letting go of their little child. You get your driver’s license, your first boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re spending more time with friends and less with family. A lot of changes are taking place and there is a freedom that has never been there before. Graduates, when you go away to school, or move out and get your own place and a job, suddenly, you answer to yourself. That’s exciting, freedom is fun. It can also be incredibly dangerous if the exercise of your freedom leads to the setting aside of all that your parents have built into you.
Andy Illustration: Our dog obeyed inside, but if he got loose, it was a different story. He was a different dog but it took a near tragedy (getting run over)to bring about that change.
So many teens equate freedom with throwing off the teachings and discipline of their parents to find their own way in the world. Without realizing it, in exercising their freedom, they are stumbling back into the bondage of sin that comes from an undisciplined life.
Teens, listen to these words in Proverbs that show the importance of your parents teaching and correction.
PR 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
PR 1:9 They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
PR 6:20 My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
PR 6:21 Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.
PR 6:22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
PR 6:23 For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life,
Parents, never stop teaching and training your teen and teenager, be thankful for the parents God has given you and honor and keep near to you the things you are taught. Satan would have you believe as you leave the house that freedom is about casting off and moving on. True freedom is found in clinging. Clinging to what you were taught, clinging to faith in a depraved world, and clinging to Christ who alone can give you freedom from the lies and tricks Satan has planned for you.
Lie #2 Acceptance is Worth the Compromises
When I started thinking of temptations that teens face, so many jumped into my mind. Drugs, sex, alcohol, bad language, movie they watch, music they listen to, and the list goes on and on and most can be traced back to the desire to fit in.