Teenage Christians across America have a pressing issue before them. They always have, and they probably always will. How can they grow in their faith and at the same time convince other individuals seeking a path to redemption that Jesus Christ is the answer they are seeking? As a teenager, many years ago, I gained a great deal of knowledge concerning this challenge when I traveled the Midwest with an amazing pastor, Dr. Stanley Harris. I could write a series of novels about the experiences we had, the lives we saw changed, and the ridicule we sometimes endured. But, of course, we know that is exactly what we should expect when we bring the message of Jesus Christ to a lost world.
I have five suggestions for teens to think about as they live their lives as ambassadors for Christ:
#1. Read your Bible more than you think you have time for. One of the biggest mistakes I made during my teenage years was to starve myself from The Word. I knew the basics of salvation, but I did not seek out the stories in the Bible that made The Word come to life to those that I was trying to share my faith with. Storytelling Ė especially the greatest stories ever told Ė is a great way to present the Gospel to people who know nothing about the Bible and the hope that is presented in it.
#2. Admit when you donít know the answer. If a curious soul asks you a question that you donít have an answer for, tell them you will get back to them as soon as possible. Then seek out others with more Biblical knowledge to present a legitimate answer. Never feel like it is mandatory for you to have an immediate answer to every question concerning Christianity. I have seen some of the most knowledgeable Christians take days of research to answer what seems like a fundamental question concerning their faith.
#3. Read the works of great Christian authors. Reading books by C.S. Lewis, Frank Peretti, and Randy Alcorn can inspire any teenager to become more comfortable with their faith and develop courage when sharing that faith with others they come in contact with. These type of books also bring a sense of modern day reality to the God some like to limit to the ancient past.
#4. Do not be discouraged. People will mock the Disciples of Christ. Itís been that way for about 2000 years. As a teenager ready to tell others that you believe Jesus defeated death so that mankind may have eternal life, it is best to expect and even welcome the ridicule that is bound to come. Remember that you are in very good company. Millions of people have been ridiculed, tortured, and even murdered for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the end result of their efforts will one day be rewarded with eternal bliss as they stand alongside the One they lifted up.
#5. Have an eternal mindset. One of my favorite authors (mentioned earlier) is Randy Alcorn. He has developed an entire website around this advice. You can check it out at www.epm.org . If believers can focus on the eternal rewards of our efforts here in the temporal world, we will remain vigilant against Satanís attempts to blind us to the spiritual warfare that take place on a daily basis here on earth.
Following these five suggestions will definitely help any teenager advance their own faith while at the same time advancing the Kingdom of Heaven.