I’ve often wondered how the Holy Spirit selects BOTH the person with the testimony/witness, and the one who has the potential to hear the Word and respond. Until very recently, I was mostly concerned with adults. It struck me as a little odd that teens would perhaps be witnessed to by other teens. I do know that peer pressure goes both ways.
However, the other day, I experienced a very unusual phenomenon. Unless my spiritual radar was up, I know I would have incorrectly interpreted the events. I was in a high school class room. A conversation came up about various global threats. Students began to argue about how they interpreted those events. Some students began to recite certain passages of Scripture pertaining to the end times. Other students started to proclaim who was going to heaven or hell! And still others were making all sorts of wild statements, to the amusement or annoyance of others!
What an experience! I’m sure that the parents of those Christians (various denominations were represented) would be happy with their responses. They were, after all, mostly, doctrinally correct. Here’s the problem, or perhaps better said, here’s the opportunity: even though the students felt most justified in making their remarks, those same remarks were made in a way that really helped no one come any closer to the Truth!
So, I wonder: what’s the value of a teenager’s testimony if it alienates other teens? Do repentance, conviction, and contrition automatically show up because dogmatic confessions have been uttered? Of what possible benefit is it to “have faith” when it is painfully obvious (in this case) that there was little or no authority and power being manifested? Stereotypical behavior kicks in, and predictable rejection follows that!
Here’s another example to help clarify my point: a Christian student complains that another student rejects Christianity. The other student wants to follow New Age type enticements. The Christian student is VERY frustrated because his classmate finds no interest in learning about Jesus. He is, on the other hand, rather interested in crystals, numerology, and Egyption lore. I asked the Christian student what he thought he had to offer the other student in the way of grace, power, and authority via Jesus. He was puzzled by the question!
I asked if his classmate was interested in going to religious services and conforming to all sorts of personal rules, even renouncing various pleasures and pastimes. The Christian responded, “Probably not.” I asked if he was offering religion or relationship/revelation of the living God. He hadn’t the slightest clue!
There’s such a strong pull to conform or rebel as a teenager. Teens have enough just to struggle with their own relationship with the Lord. Witnessing to others is a real stretch for most. However, if you could see the impact of their actions as I did, you would immediately see the need for a more meaningful defense and answer for the faith than mere recitations of doctrines/beliefs!
If you have teens, work with teens, or know teen neighbors, think about wether they see spiritual power in your words/life. Think about wether they see the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Think about wether they see spiritual authority and discipline in your life. Think about how they experience the way you manifest your love of Jesus. Lastly, please consider how they perceive your relationship with Jesus, rather than religion.
Peace & Maranatha!