Signs that God is working in the life of your teenager. | Signs of Life (Part 1)
Not too long ago I was working with the Emergency Service division of a local Sheriff department. We received a call to an unresponsive, un-alert patient in his own home. We arrived, and after seeing that the patient may have taken a hard fall to the ground I was advised to hold his head in C-Spine position just in case anything was broken or fractured. The gentleman had faint breathing and was in rapid decline.
At first I could tell that there were "signs of life" as his head and chest were faintly moving up and down. And then the unthinkable happened... he stopped breathing and it was as if his head became extremely heavier, almost too heavy to hold. His "signs of life" quickly disappeared. The EMTs worked on this man for a long time thereafter, they never gave up.
Have you ever looked at a teenager and thought to yourself... they are hopeless? In youth ministry I will be the first to admit that it is easy to think this way. However, is this the truth... ever? How do we know when to give up on someone? The answer is simply... never. There have been many young people who have come across my path in life who I would be tempted to quickly conclude, "God has given up on them for sure!"
However, the Bible teaches us differently regarding God's work in the life of young believers... these so called "lost causes".
We read in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." The apostle Paul was convinced that what God begins, He also finishes. How do we know that God is working in the life of our teenagers today? What are some genuine "signs of life"?
First, Responses from the preaching of God's word.
Did you know that the Holy Spirt of God works in the lives of teenagers too? In fact it is my conviction that God works hard in the lives of our teens today. The conviction is strong, the pull is hard and the heart of your teenager is still extremely soft whether it may seem like it or not. If you have ever been to a summer camp, youth rally, or youth conference where the preaching was strong, God honoring and the Holy Spirit of God was working, did you ever happen to notice how many teenagers raise their hands and flood the altar as opposed to adults?
These moments are true genuine signs of life!
I often hear critics say, "Well they have been to the altar 5 or 6 times already this year, when will they ever get it right with God?" This is both shallow thinking & carnal at best! Every time your teenager makes a trip to the altar they are saying, "I am still in the game!" Every time they raise their hand they are declaring, "I am still allowing God to work on my heart!" THESE ARE GENUINE SIGNS OF LIFE! We ought to praise God for these moments and encourage those teenagers. It is so easy for us to become fatalistic in this area, we as parents and youth leaders need to learn to avoid the temptation of becoming fatalistic concerning a teen who is constantly running to the altar.
Please do not get me wrong... I am not saying that if a teenager does not make a trip to the altar or does not raise their hand that they are "lifeless". There have been times where I personally have made an altar at my own chair in order to get right with God, and I am sure you have done the same. The point is this, when young people make the decision to come forward or respond to the preaching of God's word in some fashion or another, these are signs of life! In fact, they are opportunities where you and I can praise God for never giving up on our teenagers! Whether someone raises their hand in response to the preaching, walks forward during an altar call, asks for spiritual advise, or surprisingly shares the gospel with one of their lost peers, these are vital signs that God allows us to see and only prove He is still working in the lives of your teenager.
Just this last summer we had several of our own teenagers raise their hands, come forward and make public decisions. We received the decision slips from the camp counselors at the end of the week. Written on these little white slips were decisions after decisions that many of our young people made during the week some time. Several of these slips were from teenagers who we might be tempted to be considered as "hopeless." When we received these slips back we were more than happy to find out that God was at work! It should not be surprising that God is still in the business of changing young people's lives! Every response made we consider a sign of life. Do you?
FTWOTM | Robert Martinez