Every four years, political hopefuls make a multitude of promises. The unacquainted are easily drawn in, the seasoned are cynical. Rather than focusing on potential promises that the government can dish out every four years, what if we took a look at the life-long promises God has made for us as we follow Christ?
The Exchange Zone is the season of life in Summitview that consists of families with children in middle school and high school. This is a season of excitement, growth and developing potential. For the last year I’ve gotten to be a mentor in the Exchange Zone, and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, though not having any teenage children of my own.
There is a lot of energy and busy schedules, and in the midst of all this, we can begin to take our eyes off of the goal: being and making disciples of Jesus together. Our performance or achievement in life can become preeminent to trusting in Christ and seeking His will, and as with all times in life, we can become dependent on no one except ourselves. Christ calls both parents and teens to place their trust in him for all that they need, and as such, there is a commonality among families: our need for Jesus.
Here are some promises from the only One ever found to be faithful enough to keep each one, and how they bring hope and direction for both parents and young adults.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
The promise for parents:
The temptation to impatience, giving up or being short tempered because of a teen’s behavior is real and ever-present. God’s faithfulness and grace help us to see the way of escape in realizing his grace towards us, his patience towards our wandering hearts, and his Fatherly gentleness to correct our desire to control our surroundings. He can be trusted and is just as ever-present to help, and instead of coming dejected and defeated, we can come confidently in his name.
The promise for teens:
Instead of being ruled by my immediate reaction, the feeling inside me, or what others are doing and saying, I can see that God is good in giving me exactly the amount that I can handle. It’s never too much. I am not a unique example of being hard-pressed and defeated and victimized, but rather these temptations are a way for me to grow my dependency on the solid foundation, and look not to myself, but Jesus Christ. I have confidence to draw near to Christ, regardless of my experience in life or age because it is based on Christ’s sacrifice, not my ability or inability.
“For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:32-34)
The promise for parents:
Approaching empty-nester-hood and the prospect of retirement, as well as moving up the career ladder for the last 20 years, we can be duped into seeking after the world’s things: bigger, faster, better. Jesus is calling our hearts homeward, to him, his Kingdom, his righteousness and likeness. He knows that we need clothes, food and housing for years to come. And he hasn’t let us down thus far, but has proven his faithfulness countless times over. What we need in the future is not to be worried about. An active seeking of His kingdom growth and righteous likeness in our lives is all that counts for eternity.
The promise for teens:
That cool hoodie or those amazing new shoes are not what define your worth or beauty. Our young culture says that you are what you look like – your image, your impression you make on others, and the ability to stick out. Being all the rage is a never-ending cycle of comparison that no one has ever won. Rather than constantly comparing to others, we can look to Jesus and realize that cotton fibers and the material world don’t make a person. The soul of a person is lost or gained only through Jesus, and he is worth living for a million times over the cool crowd.
These promises are given by the Father of us all, whether parent or teen, and are needed daily in our walks with Jesus.