My oldest daughter is almost fifteen. I’m not sure how that’s possible since I would’ve sworn she was a newborn in my arms just last month. But alas, one look in the mirror at my own reflection confirms that time has indeed passed and we are both getting older. There are things I know my teen needs to know about God before it’s time to launch her into the world.
As I ponder how to make the most of these last couple of years with her at home, I’ve been wondering:
What truths are more important than any other to relate?
What lessons are the most crucial to convey?
What Your Teen Needs to Know About God
A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In that spirit, here are 7 things I want my teenagers (the one I have now and the younger ones to follow) to know about God.
1. God’s love for them is unchanging.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
In a world of social media statuses begging for the approval of peers, it’s important for our teens to know that there’s nothing they can do to make God love them less, and there’s nothing they can do to make God love them more.
God’s approval of them is based on Christ’s finished work on the cross, and so the desire to please Him flows not from a compulsion to earn His love or avoid His wrath, but from a heart of worship toward His character and gratitude for what He has done.
2. God is always there for them.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Friends will fail them. Parents will frustrate them. People in general will disappoint them. We’re all just people, after all. But our teens need to know that God is always there for them, the great I AM who is able to perfectly meet every need without fail.
3. God wants the very best for them.
And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. (Deuteronomy 6:24)
Yes, even God’s laws are for our good. Our teens need to know God’s best doesn’t always look like we think it should look.
Sometimes it doesn’t look “best” at all. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing better for us than to be conformed to the image of Christ. That’s what God wants for us, and that’s what He promises to accomplish in us, working the bad and the good together to fulfill what only He can do (Romans 8:28-30).
4. God can handle their hard questions…
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
The older our teens get, the more they will notice things in the world that challenge their understanding of God. Whether it’s the trauma of natural disasters, pain that humans inflict on each other, or some other kind of physical, mental, or emotional turmoil, the Bible offers us many examples of saints who cry out to God with their questions.
After all, He already knows the confusion and uncertainty in our hearts, and He takes delight in the simple trust we display by coming to Him during those times.
5. But He isn’t obligated to answer every question.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6)
It’s important that we help our teens understand they will never get all the answers they’re seeking on this side of heaven. Humans like to ask questions like “Why?” and “How?” While completely normal questions, they aren’t questions for which we always receive the answers.
A heart of faith is willing to let other questions be trumped by this one: “Can I trust God with this?” And that answer is unfailingly, unequivocally, “Yes.”
6. God isn’t bound by human opinion.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Today’s culture is very divisive, and it’s sometimes tempting to wonder where God stands on certain issues. Is He Republican or Democrat? No. Is He Baptist, Lutheran, or Presbyterian? No.
He’s far above our political parties and our denominations and many other debates that capture our focus and stoke the fires of our opinions. That’s not to say that God’s Word doesn’t have something to say about many subjects, but we do well to help our teens understand that a god who fits neatly into our box is not the God of the Bible.
7. God is utterly faithful.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
There are many disappointments in life, but our teens can rest in the truth that God will never fail them. There will be many things they don’t understand, but God can be trusted. His nature has been unchanging since the beginning of time, and it will remain unchanged for eternity. His understanding is infinite, His might limitless, and His provision unending. We serve a faithful God.
This list isn’t exhaustive; what would you add to it? I’d love to discover more truths to share with my teenager, so please leave a comment below with your thoughts.
Want your teen to learn more about God through studying His Word?
After years of teaching in local churches and college campuses, I’m excited, this year, to offer high school students a full-school-year course to teach them how to study the Bible for themselves – Equipped! Tools for Exploring the Bible.
This year we’re launching the New Testament survey course. If you’re considering having your student learn about the Bible as literature, this is the course for you. We’ll be taking a deep dive into each book of the New Testament, book by book, allowing students to understand the literary flow and features of each book.
Check out our sample lessons to see if it’s a good fit!