Hello friends! How are you all doing this month? Have you been able to enjoy some bright spring weather? About a week ago, it was decided that it was time to bring the kayaks out, and my Mom and I went for a pleasant–albeit splashy–paddle. That was my first time kayaking out in front of the waterfront of my hometown and the water was calm enough for me to see the bottom of the river (which deceptively appears shallow).
Christian Teens Sitting on the Sidelines
As a Christian teen, I am a firm believer in purpose, and if you’ve read some of my previous blog articles, then you’d know that I feel very strongly about a Christian’s calling, God’s plans, and a believer’s obedience to Christ. Meaning is particularly important to me and doing what Christ calls Christians to do–whether personal and/or general commands (i.e. spreading the Gospel)–is something I am deeply passionate about.
Unfortunately, I am concerned that more Christian teens–than not–are complacent in a life lacking any true faithfulness to the desires and purposes that Christ has for us. Priority does not go to what He is prompting us to do right now, but to the “important things” of life. We are comfortable with living our lives with Christ as a sort of “extra-curricular” activity that we might devote an hour or two to every “Thursday night of the week”.
This was never meant to be.
It’s time to break away from those cords of contentment in meaninglessness and inaction. There is so much potential in what we can do for Christ, and too much of it is never used. Here are four reasons why we shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines:
1. God Will Judge Our Work
What we do matters in this life. However, our work for Jesus, or what we fail to do, does not place our salvation in jeopardy. Works do not equal salvation (Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:4-5, Rom. 10:9 ). Nevertheless, Scripture does say that what we do will be judged for our actions. Whether we listen to Christ’s call and use what we have been given to serve, or whether we just live our lives for ourselves, matters. We will give an account.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:10-12).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10).
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17).
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile (1 Peter 1:17).
As we see, there are a couple places where the Bible indicates that we are expected to act in the light of what we have received. Following Christ isn’t about scoring salvation and then sitting around– “getting through life”–and doing a few “Christiany” things speckled here and there. While this shouldn’t be the central reason why we participate, I do think it’s a good factor to keep in mind and helps prompt us to step away from complacency to action. This leads to my next point.
2. We Should be Motivated to be Faithful to the Work of Christ Because of Our Love for the Son.
The whole point about how we will face judgment isn’t scaring Christians into service for Christ. However, it is something that we need to know so we don’t mistakenly believe that we can do whatever we please and be as faithful as we choose from day-to-day without any implications.
At the core, we should be motivated to serve Christ because of our love for Him. If we truly know Jesus, then we will follow after Him in faith and in action. We should care deeply about what Christ thinks of us and our actions on earth. God desires that His children bear fruit and has good works in store for us.
Moreover, our gratitude and status as His children should prompt us to do the Father’s will, as well as the experience of joy that comes from glorifying the Lord. If we genuinely love Him and want to please Him, we will do what He desires.
“If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15-31).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7-8).
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10).
You are my friends if you do what I command you (John 15:14).
If we are His followers–if we love Jesus–we will live life for Him and not for ourselves. We should be bearing fruit, which comes from being involved in ministry and the work of God.
3. There are Rewards for the Faithful/Our Service Matters
Let’s not forget that our service is not in vain and that there will be rewards for hard work. What we do does matter–yes, our contribution as Christian teens matters. Both the “small” and “big” things that we do for Him are valued acts of obedience, sacrifice, and love. Faithful service rendered to Him will not be forgotten.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:8-10).
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:3-4).
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free (Ephesians 6: 7-8).
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Let’s serve the Lord, knowing that our work is not in vain! What each of us are called to do may not feel like it matters, but that’s a lie. God does not prepare us for useless things. So, let’s move forward with the comfort that what we do will bear fruit–not that we will always see it in this lifetime– and that there will be rewards for the faithful.
4. We are Empowered by Christ to do Good Works
Oftentimes, we become complacent. We buy into the belief that what we do doesn’t change a thing; everything will keep going on–not making anything better or worse–whether we sit inside and watch some TV or talk to that difficult person who needs Christ. We might think, “Who’s going to listen? Who’s going to care? No one is going to notice whether I do something or not.” We can fall into the trap of simply not caring.
But Jesus notices. He cares.
Other times, we may try, only to feel like it was a waste of time, or it didn’t really matter. I’ll admit, I’ve experienced some of these same feelings and it’s hard. You feel unmotivated because you couldn’t really see any real fruit. Another reason might be that we don’t feel adequate enough to do anything meaningful and we’re scared to put ourselves out there. We feel weak, timid, and unable, so we don’t do anything. It’s too hard; “let those who are more qualified or skilled to do it”.
However, we can’t depend on seeing fruit from our efforts all the time. There will be many things we do that we may not know that have had a tremendous impact until we’re in heaven. Likewise, our excuse of being young or just “teens” isn’t good enough. God can use young people. While Timothy wasn’t a teen when Paul addressed him, he was still counted as a “youth” to others (1 Tim. 4:12). Yet, he was used by Christ to do great things–despite his age (4:13).
Moreover, we are inadequate, and it can be terrifying in some situations. But God empowers us and provides us with what we need to overcome our insufficiencies and fears. While it is challenging, we still need to press on and remind ourselves of what we know to be true and of our love for Christ.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (1 Corinthians 12:9).
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1Timothy 4:12).
I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Complacency is not an option. Inaction is not an option. God cares about whether we act or not, and we will be judged accordingly. But, because of our love and relationship with Him, we should desire–and act on that desire–to faithfully carry out His goals. Also, He gives us the strength to accomplish what needs to be done. Moreover, we can find comfort in knowing that He is with us and equips us. Finally, though we may grow discouraged or weary, we can know with certainty that our service to Christ will be rewarded, and that it is not in vain–that everything we do for Christ matters.
So–what are you waiting for?