August 18, 2017

Permanent Teenagers

Did you realize that the word “teenager” didn’t appear in most dictionaries until the early 1940’s? Kind of interesting, considering all the people in the world today who try to live like permanent adolescents. You know, those 40-something-year-olds who still dress like teens, listen to music and watch shows geared toward teens, and have the same concerns (or lack thereof) as their teenage children. You probably know at least a handful of people like that.

It’s sad, really, the state of our society today. People have lost their motivation for becoming adults in character as well as in age. Things like discipline, integrity, responsibility, and wisdom hardly matter any more in today’s world.

What’s even worse is believers who refuse to grow up. They shrug off their responsibilities and seek pleasure more than profit through their activities. Their lives are about being “free and easy” and “having a good time.” They run away from conflict, hide from difficult decisions, and ignore character building situations. They seek comfort above all else – leading them to reject spiritual conviction, practice permissive parenting, and become disorderly in their personal lives and in their homes.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not advocating a miserable existence for believers. I, too, enjoy being comfortable. But I also realize that Scripture advocates growth for all believers; too much comfort leads to stagnation, and stagnation leads to a poor or non-existent relationship with our Creator.

So we need to start growing up. We need to start practicing consistent discernment, start cultivating a God-oriented mentality rather than a pleasure-oriented mentality, and start laboring to deny all “ungodliness and worldly passions.” We need to practice more self-control in our lives, rather than giving in to whatever feels good at the moment.

The book of Titus repeatedly mentions this need for discipline for ALL age groups:

Titus 2:2 – “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”

Titus 2:3-5 – “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Titus 2:6 – “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.”

Titus 2:11 – “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age . . .”

Maybe if we gave better heed to these commands we would see a diminishing of permanent teenagers in our world.