You tell your teenagers that they should live as the Bible says they should. The problem is that from almost any other source that they hear, the Bible is antiquated, exclusive and factually not true. Here are some truths that speak to this challenge:
- God gave man his words through the direction, inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
- Man then expressed these words accurately, in his own voice, under the supervision of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit directed the collection of these inspired writings so that they became the Bible we have now.
This, in short form, is what the Bible teaches about how it was inspired, written, and complied. However, this makes no sense if your teenager doesn’t believe the Bible is true and is the word of God. Faith is essential to be able to trust what the Bible says about life, reality, and the way it was written. So, your teenager says, “excuse me! You have to believe the Bible is true before you can trust it. Come on, you have to better than that.”
In response, ask your teenagers to consider:
How reliable are their own thoughts and assessments of themselves and their past actions? Do they ever wish they had not trusted their own judgment!
This is a question that only they can answer. Ask it with gentleness. Your appeal must be humble and genuine. You can tell your teenager that you have had to ask this question of yourself and you have found that trusting yourself is not always a good idea.
This is the ultimate issue that the Bible addresses. The Bible teaches you can’t fix the messes of life by your own efforts and performance. You can’t make things right simply because you want to. This is a truth that you and your teenager can identify with. Since we can’t trust our judgments it doesn’t make sense to dismiss the Bible. Just because people don’t like what the Bible says does not make it wrong.
Pray that God would give you a gentle, approachable spirit to make your words attractive to your teenager. Your humble belief on the reliability of the Bible is huge. Only by trusting Jesus Christ can your teenager evaluate himself accurately. Only then, can he know if the Bible can be trusted. Once this has happened, you can return to what the Bible teaches about why it can be believed and trusted. These truths about how the Bible can be trusted must be lived out first in your life.
This is how you take what is in your heart and impress it on the hearts of your children.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.