Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Teenage Years of Jesus Christ

The tragic news of the last few days has made it all the more clear why it is so necessary for parents to train their children in wisdom and keep their hearts. From the early news reports it is clear that Kara Borden did not accept her parents decision in regards to the companion she had chosen. In the end the parents turned out to be right. I'm sure Kara sees that now but sadly a few days too late to honor their decision.

The teenage years can be difficult. Our young people are transitioning from youth to adulthood. But does it have to be turbulent? I"m not an expert on that but I don't buy into the idea that they have to be turbulent. My job as a parent is not yet done but we are not experiencing anything different in our teens that has me too worried at the moment. The fruit of our labors has yet to be determined. But I am encouraged by the early signs we have seen. However until my children are walking faithfully with God by their own choosing - I work, watch, and pray.

There is one resource that I have found helpful as we parent our teens. It is a small book by Jerry L. Ross called The Teenage Years of Jesus Christ. This book outlines what Jesus might have done during his "teenage years" based on the scripture from Luke 2:51-52
And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
The author takes that scripture and breaks it down into what each means and encourages young people to examine their priorities in light of these scriptures. He does not provide a "legalsitic" set of must do's for the Christian. But he does examine key areas of our lives and how we behave. For example, he identifies maturity as putting away three "childish things". This affects three key areas - speech, understanding, and thinking.

It was a challenging book for me to read as an adult. We have also had our three oldest to read it. They have all found the book thought provoking. It isn't always easy to confront the interests that we have and examine if they are the best things for us. The culture wants to distract and entice our children with many attractive choices. Many things appear to be beneficial but if they take our heart away from our God and our first priorites are they really beneficial?

The book is wrtiten to the young adult specifically. He does, however, addresss the parents as well. Here's a quote from Chapter 10 A Brief Word to Parents,
Our job as parents is to do everything possible to see to it that our children's hearts and minds are molded to the image of Christ. This is the ultimate goal and the ultimate challenge. To choose any other pattern, even that of ourselves, is to rob our children of some of what they could one day become.
Mr. Ross exhorts parents and chilren both to study the scriptures and the life of Jesus. Jesus grew in wisdom. He exhorts the us to do the same, "
The world by her wisdom chooses to exclude God. Anything that labels itself as wisdom and ignores the teachings of the Word of God is not wisdom. It is counterfeit.
He discusses that wsdom begins with the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10) He then contrasts that with the characteristics of a fool drawing mainly from Proverbs. It is enlightening and very convicting.

Throughout the book he does not promote a "method" or a "pattern" to follow except the life of Christ. Nor does he claim that this book will guarantee anything. But he believes that when a young person examines how Jesus walked with his parents the teenager will be challenged to examine his own walk with the Lord and his parents. We have found this book to be a very helpful in that examination process.

Related Posts:
Don't Bend The Wire
The Three R's of Parenting

In a related story, Nanette let me know about a disaster that was diverted today at a private Christian school in North Carolina. Two students were arrested for plot to kill classmates.
People are wondering how two apparently good kids went bad. "(They were)
from good homes, were doing well academically," said Dr. Ron Allen, the church's pastor.
It is becoming more and more apparent, knowledge isn't enough. Wisdom is what we need to teach our children.

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