I have two of them. I’ve found that they’re everything I’d expected, yet more and less at the same time. We’re all learning and growing together these days. I’ve recognized that they’re wanna-be adults with enough kid in them to still need plenty of attention, heaps of patience, and lots of love.
My teenagers are growing up in a time so far removed from my teenage years. Computers, cell phones, social media, the world wide web – yes, I know I’m old and sound like it! – but none of that was around in our home when I was growing up.
The challenges our young people face are real, yet God’s Word is timeless in how it applies to their lives – as much as it did when I graced the ’80’s with my Farrah Fawcett hair and jelly shoes and leg warmers (just hopefully not all on the same day! 🙂
As I thought about issues that I know my girls are dealing with on a regular basis, I came up with this list of Scripture verses that can encourage and challenge them. Hope you’ll find the list helpful, too!
1. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” ~Psalm 101:3 Surely the teen years hold countless opportunities for our children to be tempted to view things that are wicked. Sometimes it’s just natural curiosity that leads them down a wrong path, so we need to be wise in training our children about situations to avoid. We want them to learn to hate that which taints their mind with images that can never be totally erased.
2. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” ~Proverbs 16:32 Let’s agree that the teen years are full of all kinds of emotions! Learning to control those emotions is a big part of their maturing process. This verse encourages them to be slow to get angry and to value self control.
3. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24 Girls (who grow up to be women who may still struggle in this area) often have friend issues at some point during their teen years. I encourage my daughters to look for someone who is lonely that they can befriend. Getting their focus off of themselves and reaching out to others is vital. If they can first see themselves as loved and valued by God and understand that He is able to meet all their needs, they’ll more easily navigate this particular struggle.
4. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” ~Joshua 1:9 Our children are going to need courage in these days – to say yes to right and no to wrong. Feelings of fear and even dismay can tempt them to be discouraged, but God has promised to be with them through every trial.
5. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8 This is a longer verse to memorize, but if our children can let these truths guide their thinking, they’ll be set up for success now and in the future.
6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5, 6 The older our teens get, the more life-impacting their decisions become. Whether it’s for guidance in class choices, extracurricular activities, what college to attend, or what major they’ll pursue, trusting God and acknowledging Him along the way will lead to His direction in these decisions.
7. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” ~Proverbs 29:25 It’s natural to focus on what other people think (no matter what our age and stage of life), but this verse warns our teen as well as us that worrying about what other people think of us can trap us into going against what we know is right.
8. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:18 Young people often feel invincible, like nothing bad could ever happen to them. This verse reminds us all that living for eternity and valuing things that will last forever keeps us on the right track.
9. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” ~Colossians 3:23 In other words, work hard! Do your best. Even when studying is hard and sports practice requires a lot of effort, don’t slack off. Use the challenge as a way to honor the Lord.
10. “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” ~I Peter 5:7 God loves and cares about you. Sometimes our teens can feel lost, overlooked, unimportant, or just plain overwhelmed with all that life is throwing at them. God cares and He will carry those burdens for them.
What other verses might be helpful for teens to memorize? Have any of these verses helped you through a hard time or transition?