How to be a Man with a heart for God as a Teenager
It’s a good thing God looks at our heart…in every word and action, in every look and deed. As our children grow and work out their faith, Judah shares great truth for us to point our kids in the direction of pure motives…of being after God’s own heart.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27
The Bible tags David as “a man after [God’s] heart” (Acts 13:22), and like David I did some pretty good things like leading worship for youth group and working as a Day Camp Coach sharing God’s Word with kids. However, I also failed to obey God’s commands and at times chose selfish gain, just like David.
Being a man who pursues God’s own heart, according to scripture, is as simple as abiding in Christ and bearing the overflow of good fruit (John 15:5). Really simple, right? Easier said than done.
Since I can’t re-live high school here are three practical ways you can point your children to do a good job of abiding and bearing fruit in their youth, and thus being known as a godly man rather than a good man.
Here are the challenges/warnings:
- Use your gifts. God blesses each of us with gifts intended to be used for His glory (1 Peter 4:10-11). My encouragement is to assess what your gifts are, and what avenues are available to put them to use. Additionally, it’s important to remember why we are intended to use these gifts. Keep reading to hear more about how I made this mistake.
- Don’t just look the part. Although I was aware of my gifts and made effort to use them, I subliminally, and even intentionally, chose to deploy them for selfish gain and recognition from others. As I challenge you to use your God-given gifts, I also warn you to daily evaluate your motivation. If we “love praise from man more than praise from God” (John 12:43), we will never bring glory to God no matter how “good” our actions appear. So, if we want to avoid being “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of… all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27), we must remember the motivation for using our gifts (1 Peter 4) and how God evaluates us (1 Samuel 16:7).
- Be known. Surround yourself with godly friends, and confess to them. James 5:16 says to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed”. If people knew the struggles going on in my life as a teen, I would never have been able to deceive myself into thinking I had it all together. The whitewash on my outward appearance would have been stripped away. Confessing to others reminds us of the reality of our weakness and sinful nature, and in turn urges us to pursue the heart of God, the only source of restoration and change to that nature. I do not seek after God’s heart when I feel as if I have it all together. A teen after God’s heart will have a real grasp on their glaring need for Him, and for me that started with confession.
Hind sight is always 20/20, but it doesn’t mean that foresight must be through rose colored glasses. Know the truth about who you are, and direction God is calling you. Like David, God doesn’t expect perfection from us, rather He desires pursuit of Him.
What gifts (talents/skills) has God given you? How would you like to use them? Do you have friends who know you well? Do you trust them? Have you trusted them with the parts of your life you’re ashamed of?