Dads, do you know the key to raising Christ-shaped teens?
It’s tempting to rely on wise advice, tips, and techniques. While those are helpful, the true foundation lies in the transformation of our children’s hearts and minds. Eric Wallace, The Noble Man workshop contributor and founder of Uniting Church and Home, shares that our teen’s biggest challenge is finding their identity in Christ.
According to Dr. Les Parrott, teens demonstrate their struggle with identity in 5 common ways:
- Forbidden behavior
- Rebellion to differentiate themselves from authority while gaining acceptance from peers
- Holding celebrities as idols
- “Clickish” exclusion to strengthen their own identities by excluding those not like themselves
The root of each of these is a lie. Teens are particularly susceptible to lies, and the enemy uses these to get them to speak and act differently. John 8:44 informs us that the enemy is a liar, and just as Jesus did in Matthew 4 when He was tempted in the desert, we need to help them overcome lies with the truth of the Word.
4 Truths from Scriptures to Help you Guide your Teen’s Heart Towards Christ
1. I am Redeemed
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
The gospel tells us who we are right now as ones who are redeemed in Christ. How many times do we go to the Bible looking for an answer to a problem vs. going to see what Jesus has done for us? The assurance of who we have been made in Christ is transformative. His kindness leads us to repentance, and when we begin to understand what we’ve already been given in Christ, we begin to desire to be in line with who He says we are. A biblical understanding of identity compels us to confess and repent of sin and live like who we are described to be in scripture.
2. I am Accepted
Romans 15:7 “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Because of what Christ has done for us, we are accepted by God. What can be better than to be accepted by the God of the universe? If we are accepted by Him, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
3. I am Complete
Colossians 2:10 “And you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
We are complete in Him with what He has given us. The desires of our heart motivate us, and our identity is crucial in giving definition to those desires and how they should be fulfilled. We don’t need anyone or anything else to complete us.
4. I am Hidden in Christ
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
To be hidden in Christ is to be safe and protected. God is directing my life, and I can rest in his sovereign care, both for me and for my family.
Look, Listen, and Pray
In contrast to a list of “steps to success,” teach your teens a powerful pattern from the Word. Guide them through looking intentionally for identity when you read the Bible. Demonstrate the pattern of discussing identity, and just listen. God will use listening in your children’s lives to shape them. Finally, pray over identity, both for yourselves and your teens. You can have the hope and confidence as a father that God is at work in the lives of your children.
As men, we see our struggles and failures, and we assume God can’t use us, but nothing is further from the truth. He uses us as we use the means he has given us. It is not dependent on us. It is dependent on Him, and He is faithful to his promises. Yes, raising teens can be a huge challenge. We often feel worn down by those late-night, seemingly unproductive conversations.
It may be hard, but it is valuable and has eternal consequences for the kingdom. It is a worthy pursuit worth every effort. God uses our relationships with them to open our own hearts as parents and raise us in Christ.
To listen to Eric Wallace’s equipping workshop, access the The Noble Man Richmond Virtual Conference HERE.
For more resources, including booklets on identity for men, women, and teens visit Uniting Church and Home.