It is difficult to be a teenager and live with a commitment to God because the world can be brutal to those who are different or who seek to live committed lives for Christ. If a teenager tries to be a part of the world, it uses them and then discards them (Luke 9:24-26). If they try to love the world and love God, they become God’s enemy (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16; Revelations 3:15-18), and life becomes extremely difficult for them. If they seek to love God, no matter how different they may seem, they gain more meaning and substance for life (Luke 12:31), but they also experience more persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). God uses these circumstances to deepen their commitment to Him and to mature them spiritually (James 1:2-4).

Being different does take courage (Joshua 1:5-9). Living for Christ consistently creates a need for encouragement and support. The benefits, however, are powerful. To indulge in the things of the world may seem like fun but it is always temporary. Since it is temporary, it creates a need for more fun which creates a need for more friends, more money, more clothes, and more parties. Every time a person is not experiencing these things, they become bored and feel like they are missing out. The need to be satisfied never stops and it gets more expensive as time progresses (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10; 12:1,13-14). The benefit of growing spiritually, however, is that it leads to godliness which empowers a person to learn contentment (1 Timothy 6:6; Philippians 4:11).

The story is told of a little boy who was playing in his parent’s backyard. While playing he rolled a log over and became excited to find what he thought were worms. He became so occupied with these “worms” that he ignored the constant sting he felt while playing. His mother, who came to the back door to check on him, saw him in the corner of the backyard and went to see what he was doing. When she arrived, she immediately recognized that the “worms” he was playing with were small snakes. The mother started violently pushing back the snakes and pulling the boy away. The boy became angry and began crying. The mother screamed so loud that the boy’s father came running. The father killed the snakes and within minutes the boy was in the emergency room, suddenly feeling the sting from the bites of the snakes and became weak from the poison. The doctors, nurses, and medical technicians were now fighting to save his life. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.  For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?  (Luke 9:24-25)

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