So what does a life devoted to God truly look like? As we talked about in part one, it’s not the shallow stuff most Christian teens display today. It involves having God at the very center of your life, exposing the problems and sins in your life, and then one by one destroying them; all the while growing stronger in Christ. Now to me that sounds like a difficult yet thrilling adventure to the gates of Zion! Let us be off at once!
A Life That is Not Our Own
Have you heard the song, “Awake and Alive” by Skillet? One of the lyrics is: “I’ll do what I want, cause this is my life.”
That is simply a lie. I don’t know exactly if the song means to put it this way, but it really doesn’t matter in this case. What I’m trying to point out is that I don’t believe that the statement itself is a good one. We shouldn’t be doing what “we want.” and this is not “our life.”
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
This verse clearly explains to us that we belong to God, not ourselves. It also says that we were bought with a price. That price was what Jesus paid for us when He bore the weight of all our sins on the cross. Therefore, we must honor God with the body He gave us. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Still, the world around us constantly promotes the worship of Self. Our entire lives can be boiled down to a battle between God and Self. Think about it. Even in tiny little decisions our minds can be acting out for our Self that deserves Hell, or for our God who bought us with a price. We MUST make it a habit to automatically choose God when faced with a battle between our Lord and our Self.
Key Christian Qualities
There are some main things that I believe everyone who would stand up and say “I’m a Christian!” should be displaying in their lives. Please understand that while I myself am a true believer, I’m still working to sharpen these qualities in my own life, and I do not claim to have mastered these qualities by putting them on here. Still, I do try to put them into practice in my life, and I think that these are essential things to be putting into practice and pursuing in all our Christian walks.
In order to cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with our Lord, the first thing we must have is an education in our God and His interests. Fortunately, classes can be held virtually anywhere, there is only one required course, one book you must purchase (for as little as $5:00 or less), and many different time spans to finish it in. But this education doesn’t just last until the end of the year or the end of Sunday. This is a school we must attend regularly for the rest of our lives if we want to obtain a full knowledge of the God we will spend eternity with. Of course, the book I’m talking about is the Bible. No matter what excuse you come up with, you will almost always have time to read this book. After all, how do we find the time to watch movies and go to parties? If you need to read your Bible, but truly cannot find other time, then skip these and other activities; whatever it takes to read the most important book of all time. So what else? Going to church is always a good way to educate ourselves about God and His interests in this world, but of course, we have to pay attention. If you have a problem zoning out during church, then ask your parents to keep you accountable, and just… pay attention! Don’t you want to get to know the One you’ll be spending literally forever with? Then let others tell you about Him, and give them your full attention. Also, have you looked into getting a Christian book recently? Yes, some are better than others, but I’d have to say that some of the really good ones out there are written by Eric and Leslie Ludy. For guys, check out “God’s Gift to Women” or “The Bravehearted Gospel.” For girls, try “Authentic Beauty,” “Answering the Guy Questions,” or “The Lost Art of True Beauty.” For anyone, look into “When God Writes Your Love Story” or “When Dreams Come True.” There are many other books they have written, and I would look into reading any of them. They are an incredible couple with a true, powerful, Christian message.
This is often a VERY hard step. Eliminating the things in our life that pull us away from God. For some, this means quitting a very hard to break habit or secret sin (See “Your Sin Will Find You Out” and “Breaking Habits“). For others, it means changing the way they act in public from “the cool guy with the deep bass voice” to “the religious weirdo who actually likes his parents.” Still others may have something that they don’t even know they struggle with, but once God reveals it to them, they must take action against it. I myself am still running across little things here and there in my life that I never noticed I was doing, yet are still wrong, and despite how “small” they may be, must be dealt with. Whatever it is in your life that holds you captive and draws you away from God, it must be eliminated with prayer and action on our part. How do we rid ourselves of these things Satan tucks away into the corners of our lives? By letting God come into our lives and take COMPLETE control.
Imagine this. God walks up to the doorstep of my heart. He knocks, and I hear Him. He says, “Luke Mason, can I come in?” I say, “Um, God… this is kind of a bad time.” God says, “Can I come in?” I say, “Oh, well… I guess so, I mean, as long as you stay in this room over here.” God comes in, but after a while he wants to start looking into the rest of my heart. God says, “Luke, I want to see your other rooms.” I say, “Oh, well, uh, God… how about later? I don’t think that’s necessary right now. Can’t we just talk about going to church and table manners?” God says, “I want your other rooms.” I say, “Oh, well, if you insist, but please only take the rooms on this side of my heart over here.” So God goes through and decides that He wants my big “Reputation” room. Inside it I might have my “cool attitude” along with my “cool abilities”, and maybe a little “distance from parents.” God decides he wants to get rid of these earthly things and replace them with eternal things like “humility,” “Godly habits,” and “Respect for authorities.” But God is not done yet. He does much the same thing to my “Hygiene” and “Books” rooms. But He still wants more control. God says, “Luke, I don’t just want these parts of your heart. I want your whole heart.” I say, “Oh goodness, God! Surely not all of my heart! Will you not be satisfied with these rooms?” God says, “No. I want it all.” I say, “Well… alright then, you can have a few more rooms over here.” I reluctantly hand Him the keys to my “Sibling Relationships” and “Habits” rooms, but I’m starting to get worried. Yes, it’s incredible how good and clean God has made my other rooms, but I surely can’t trust God with the more personal rooms like “Relationships with the Opposite Sex,” can I? And certainly not my hidden closets of “Sexuality” and “Thought Life”! But God still wants it all. He asks for the rest of my heart, and if I truly want to follow Him, then who am I to refuse? I must obey my God to the fullest. Yes, it’ll be quite painful. Yes, I will be reluctant and try to take back rooms sometimes. I am a sinner. But if I really love my God, then I must let Him have complete control of my entire life. God said the greatest commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your HEART, with all your SOUL, and with all your MIND.” You see, God will never rest until we either reject Him completely, or let Him gain more complete control of our heart, soul, and mind. If you are interested in entering a life completely devoted to God, then please take a look at my “The Covenant Life” post for a solid statement of commitment to the Lord that has really helped me to stay strong in my faith, and I hope has the same effect for you.
While working on problems in your life and educating yourself in God’s word, try to develop a Godly outlook on life. The more you are reading the Truth of God’s word and meditating on Him, the easier it is to have a Godly response to the everyday situations in life and be a more Godly Christian for your Lord. You might be wondering, “But…if no-one is perfect… how good is good enough?” The answer is that there is no point of “good enough” in the Christian walk where you can just stop growing spiritually. If you really want to stop at a “good enough” point, then you’d have to become sinless, and that’s obviously impossible. Our relationship with our God is not something we nurture “up to a point.” It’s a life-long process of walking closer and closer with our Lord and making mistakes along the way, but learning from every experience we encounter and keep going! We should never stop at a “good enough” point. We should keep growing in Christ until we are called to go and live with Him!
Man, that was tough! Good grief, God just doesn’t settle for any less than our all when we invite Him to control our lives, does He? Of course, when God does take control of our lives, we can’t just say that we’re devoted to Him and go on living normally. I mean, how could you not want to live completely for your Lord, who died on a cross for you, after giving your life away to Him?! That’s just hypocrisy, right? But sadly, it’s what many teens do nowadays. They say a prayer when they’re little, but as they go through high school they become a total wreck of secrets, habits, and lust. I was one of them. Sadly, many of these teens are lost. They stop living for their God and are doomed to be cast into the lake of fire when judgment day comes. Others, (very few) come to Christ later in life when they’re adults, and by God’s grace they are saved, but they have to deal with all the spiritual baggage of their bad decisions in their teen life. Fellow teens, I challenge you to be different. I challenge you to truly love your God and serve Him NOW. I challenge you to DO what you SAY. To ACT OUT in God’s great plan, not just exist as an extra. To charge the fields of this twisted and crooked generation shouting “Our God is LORD!”, to love Him with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to demonstrate that in your actions, words, and thoughts, persisting until He takes us home! Rise up and follow your King, fellow members of this generation. Rise up and follow Him!
“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:20-23
(If you would like to keep reading the “A Personal Call” series of blog posts, please “click here” for the next part)