Day 3 - Great Expectations
You might wonder what the Bible has to say about adolescence. The answer is simple.
You won’t find the words teenager or adolescence anywhere in Scripture. In fact, the word teenager has only been around since the early 1940s. Prior to the early twentieth century, people were either children or adults.
That’s why you won’t find any reference in Scripture to a period of time between childhood and adulthood. In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul writes about moving from childhood to adulthood—he doesn’t mention a time in-between of waiting for adulthood to arrive. He doesn’t say, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But then I became a teenager and I looked like an adult, I sounded like an adult, but I still acted like a child.” No! He says that he gave up his childish ways.
God does not hold two standards: one for young adults and one for adults. He has high expectations for both. Where some might look down on or excuse young adults, God calls us to be examples. Where our culture might expect little, God expects great things.
So whose expectations are we living by? When we let cultural expectations become our standard, we allow ourselves to be squeezed into a mold, with little room for Christlike character or competence. As you’ve probably seen in your own experience, we live in a culture that tells us what to dream, what to value, what to live for—and it’s not Christ.
Of course, sometimes we like being able to do things we know we shouldn’t do—or getting away with less than our best. We excuse our choices because that’s what teens are supposed to do. We do what comes easily. We certainly don’t do hard things.
The consequence? We never attempt things that would stretch, grow, and strengthen us. We end up weak and unprepared for the amazing future that could have been. We like the freedom low expectations give us, but we’re really being robbed.
But wasting our teen years is not what most of us really want. And it’s not what God wants for us either. He has much more exciting things in mind.
What experiences have you had in your life that were difficult but caused you to grow as a person?
1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.