One of the hardest things to do in raising teenagers is convincing them that you, the parent, know better than they do. I say its one of the hardest things… its actually darn near impossible! Something happens to a child when they become a teenager that makes them think they know everything there is to know about life, and at the same time, makes them think that their parents don’t know anything about anything.
This predicament makes even the simplest rules and instructions a battleground. Why do I have to wear a helmet when biking? I’ll just be careful. Why do I have to go to bed before midnight on a school night? I really don’t need to be alert for Algebra 2 in the morning. What’s wrong with eating sour patch kids for breakfast? I’m still healthy. Why do you need to know where I am going with my friends? We can take care of ourselves. And, the list goes on.
The reality is that accidents happen, being well-rested contributes to success, good nutrition contributes to good health, and when something bad happens it’s important that someone knows where you are so they can help you. It’s hard for someone with such limited knowledge and life experience to understand and accept that the world is complicated, unexpected things happen, and its important to be prepared, safe, and proactive.
Yes, I was the same way when I was a teenager. Probably even worse. But, having kids of my own now, I understand. I also understand that I am prone to that same behavior when it comes to my relationship with God. Even as an adult with lots of world experience, a little bit of knowledge, and even a wise thought from time to time, I am very likely to questions God’s commands and calls for obedience. I’m too busy to do daily devotions… I’ll do twice as much as soon as I have time. It’s too uncomfortable to introduce myself to my neighbor and make friends… I’ll just stick with my comfortable friends. I have to make sure I am financially secure… before I give anything away. And, once again, the list goes on.
In Luke 6:20-49 (Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus teaches comprehensively about how to grow, live, love, and give, and he concludes with these words:
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house. Luke 6:46-49 NRSV
We can never expect to reach the fullness of our lives in Christ without obedience to God! We can never expect to conquer this world with our faith, hope, and love without obedience to God! When we trust and obey, and do the things we are called to do (even if we can’t fully understand or appreciate why), God can work powerfully in our lives and lead us to victory.