Fighting Temptation with Faith (for teens)

(I wrote this article quite awhile ago, and it never found a home, although I tried to submit it to two magazines. If you’re a teenager, remember your teenage years, or know teenagers well, I’d love to have your feedback on this article. And if you think someone might benefit from it, feel free to pass it along!) [And, by the way, please forgive the big spaces…I messed with this article for too long and still have some formatting issues. Sorry!]

 

Fighting Temptation with Faith

Romans 1:17 “The righteous will live by faith.”
II Cor. 5:7 “We live by faith, not by sight.”

 

 

My best friend in high school, “Jenny”, was pretty and fun. We loved the same things: laughing hard, shopping, clothes, and dreaming about the future. You might say we were a bit boy-crazy, but really, we just talked and dreamed a lot about having godly husbands someday and having families of our own that were Christ-centered. We didn’t know any godly guys in our small town, but we knew they existed. Together we had gone to Christian teen rallies and visited a Christian college where we saw godly, handsome college guys in action. And I knew, deep-down, that if we waited for God’s timing, He would give each of us the desires of our hearts by sending us godly mates.

Jenny and I grew apart, though, my senior year, and we ended up taking different paths. She withdrew her reservation from the Christian college we were both planning on attending and bought a brand-new car with her savings instead. In the meantime, I was saving my cash for college. She started dating guys that weren’t Christians and soon lost her virginity to one of them. It all happened so fast. Before I knew it she was saying “I do” to a guy who I knew wasn’t saved, and her life took a turn completely opposite of what she had always hoped for.

I went to a Christian college without her and my spiritual life started blossoming. I learned to focus on being the right kind of person more than finding the right guy. My sophomore year I met a guy who exceeded my high school dreams. He was talented, handsome, and committed to doing right and helping me grow in my Christian walk. I ended up marrying that guy, and now, six years into our marriage, we’re raising two children in a home where our Christian values are at the center of our family life.

Jenny and I originally had the same goals. We both wanted to marry godly men and have Christian families. One of us reached the goal, and the other didn’t even come close. What made the difference?

Jenny didn’t have faith in the things she couldn’t see. Since she couldn’t see the future, she didn’t invest in it. She believed the devil’s lies that she was missing out on fun times that she deserved to have. She believed the lie that she would not be able to afford to go to the Christian college where she felt God was leading her, so she bought a car instead. She believed the lie that she would never find a godly man to marry and that she should just settle for someone else who gave her the attention and love she craved. I remember hearing my flesh whisper those same lies into my ears. At times I was tempted to listen to those lies and take what seemed like an easier path of life, but I believe that the “shield of faith,” referred to in Ephesians 6:16, protected me from those lies. If Jenny had trusted in God’s promises, her faith would have been a shield to protect her from making the life choices she would later regret.

The Bible has a lot to say about living by faith. It even calls our lives a “fight of faith.” First Timothy 6:12 says “fight the good fight of faith” and II Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Sometimes you might feel like you’re fighting a battle with yourself when you choose to be patient rather than take the easier paths of temporal pleasures. When you make those wise decisions, though, you can assure yourself that you have fought the good fight, and you have kept the faith, and God will reward you.

Now that I’m in my early thirties, I often have the opportunity to counsel teenage girls. I am starting to realize that the temptations I faced, and the temptations Jenny gave in to, are the same kinds of temptations every Christian girl faces. Everyone faces the temptation to live by feelings rather than by faith. You might be facing temptations about dating the wrong person or any number of other temptations that require you to be patient. Cling to the promises of God, and wait out those storms of uncertainly in your teen years. You will reap the blessings of living by faith for the rest of your life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that God will make your life picture-perfect, with a perfect husband and perfect children, but it does mean that He will reward you and give you what is best for you; and His best is better than anything you can imagine.

I Corinthians 16:13 “ Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be (wo)men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”

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Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Addy
    I just read the article. It did make the point of faith vs temptation clear. We work with teens alot and unfortunately see many fall into temptation rather than trust God. How do we help increase their faith? One thing I think of -I need to talk of my dependance and trust in God. I tend to not talk about this things as much as I should.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Maya! I think talking is important but that living it out is even more important. My faith was strengthened as a teen when I saw godly families in action. I wanted God’s blessings, not the consequences of a life lived for the moment. But some teens can’t see past the moment. Maybe they not only need to have faith, but also an understanding of consequences, rewards, and responsibility?

  3. It’s all about battling unbelief, isn’t it? Have you heard John Piper’s 13-tape series on that topic as it pits faith against various sins? Great. One of my/our? old college profs, Dr. M. Barrett, used to say that “faith is the necessary link between our doctrine [what we say we believe] and our experience [what we live].” It’s a gift, and it comes from God, and yet we’re responsible to use it and seek its increase. Your essay above (especially given that I know the young women in it) is a timely reminder to me to be working out that faith–seeing through the temporal promises offered by temptation, and looking above and beyond them toward a better country. Whether we’re 13 or 30, it’s a constant warfare–“Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”

  4. Thanks for chiming-in, Joy! I haven’t listened to that series….


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