My journey through of all this is what I wanted to share, because if you’re young, you’re in the exact same position that I was in: you’ve got a platform and there are literally million of people who need to know Jesus.
1). Know heart knowledge, first. When I was writing and speaking, I knew a lot. I could debate a lot of people, and had my theology down pat. In fact, I knew a lot more than some adults that were actually in churches. This was great and head knowledge has served me well in my life, but I didn’t know there was something so much deeper: the word of God, active and moving, applied directly to my heart. As I began to live that deeper relationship with Jesus, I came to find that my head knowledge didn’t matter, if my heart was falling behind, and I could know theology without actually having apply to who I was and what I did. The attitude of head and heart disconnect, lead to my broken heart and addiction to pornography. God in His saving grace, transformed my heart, and changed me.
Do you know about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? If that doesn’t break you, bury you, and raise you with Christ, new and changed, then it doesn’t matter what you know about it, or if you can say substitutionary atonement- You must be changed before knowledge matters!
2). Don’t hide. You’re a leader. You’re an innovator. You’re a teacher. Romans: 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” That scares me, because there are so many areas that we fail as leaders, and if we aren’t constantly repenting and leading humbly, we will miss the grace that we’re supposed to be extending to others.
It’s amazingly easy to fall into hypocrisy. I was struggling with porn while I was working with my ministries and nobody knew about it. It wasn’t until later, that I was able to confess to my pastor and get help overcoming my weaknesses through a deeper understanding of the Gospel and accountability. I was then able to actually tell people I struggled with porn, and ask for their forgiveness in my weakness.
3). Lead by example and don’t be afraid to be weak. One of the best leaders I know has struggled with homosexuality, and been changed by the grace of God. He shares his story openly, because his identity is in the work of Jesus, not his past sin. Don’t be afraid to show how flawed you are, but walk by example, in the good works that Christ has appointed you to.
4). Remember that God has given you life. When younger, I worked in the pro-life movement. I think I saved lives, though I’ll never know for sure. I eventually left the movement, because I realize that people needed to be changed internally before they changed externally. I was really caught up in doing, doing, doing, without actually being, being, being. You’re doing good work, you’re making a difference, but remember that God has created the world for you to enjoy as well as influence.
5). You don’t matter. Finally, bouncing off that last point- you don’t matter at all. God will change hearts and lead people to Christ with or without you. Enjoy the fact that you get to be part of His massive story, which stretches from one side of history to the other. Be humbled by the fact that He has chosen you to walk in good works, and fight hard against sin and complacency.
I am constantly impressed with the innovation that young people show. I believe that teenagers have the ability to create great things and change lives. They just need to get out there, stay humble, trust God and do it.