Choices, choices, choices… If you aren’t familiar with the Own Your C videos (as in Own Your Choices) check out the boomerang video. It’s not hard to catch boomerang imagery that your present choices come back to you and impact your life for years to come.
Take the drink? Try the pot? Indulge the urge? Visit the website? How far is too far?
The questions teens wrestle with on a daily basis are incredibly challenging, because these days many choices come with life-long consequences. Choose poorly in the realm of internet porn and distort God’s blueprint for sex for a lifetime. Go too far and find yourself with an incurable STD or 18 years of child support payments. Make a wrong choice about drinking or drugs – risk arrest and a criminal record that can potentially block you out of future college or job opportunities. (I recently watched a young woman trying to get accepted to law school who had to report a past alcohol-related arrest on her application. The regret was overwhelming when she saw the immensity of the consequence for the casual, illegal choices she’d made in the past.)
When peer pressure seems unbearable and the urge of the moment is battling to reign supreme, how do you respond? As a Christian the battle is daunting – but take courage in knowing that you are not entering the battle alone. If you’ve made the ultimate choice of all choices…to surrender your life to Jesus and live life to the max for God’s glory, then you fight the battle with Jesus by your side – guiding, strengthening and empowering you to take your stand and fight. A real and vibrant relation with God that serves as the driving force behind your lifestyle choices is the most powerful motivation you can find for owning your choices and choosing wisely.
For example, God has plenty to say about the whole drinking/drug/sex scene. God’s Word tells us that when we are believers, God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell inside us. And this means we should treat our bodies like God’s dwelling place – in other words, take good care of them. The whole partying/drinking/drug/sex scene just doesn’t fit with that.
Here’s how the Bible puts it:
Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body (1 Cor. 6:19-20, The Message).
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ (Ephesians 5:17-19, The Message).
God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God (I Thes.4:3-5, The Message).
These verses make it clear that God calls us to a pure and purposeful life. Our choices matter to Him because we belong to Him! And because He loves us and knows that all sinful behaviors distance us in our relationship to Him and eventually bring pain and hurt into our lives.
But what if you’ve already messed up and find yourself trapped in habits you’d like to escape from? Find someone to help you move into a deeper, stronger relationship with God – someone to hold you accountable, to challenge you and coach you. This could be a Christian friend, your Youth Leader, or another trusted adult.
The Own Your C video and your own choices provide you with a wide open door to talk about spiritual things with your unreached friends. So look for opportunities to honestly explain the ‘why’ behind your choices, i.e., passing on an invitation to the partying scene (or whatever). Here are some conversation ideas for you to use a springboard for deeper spiritual God-talk:
- Show your friends the Own Your C video and ask them what they think of it. Is it easy or hard for them to consider the long-term consequences of their choices? Share what motivates your choices.
- If the opportunity arises, explain why you’re not into the party scene, try something like, “I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but I’m personally really into the whole spiritual thing so…I don’t want my sense of security and fun to be grounded in some chemically induced sensation I might get from smoking pot or drinking, I want it to be grounded in God. So I try to keep God at the center of who I am and what I do…”
- Poor choices can get teens in big trouble long term when it comes to parental trust, the police (as in a criminal record), and pre-marital sex, STDs and pregnancy. Ask your friends whether those issues serve as motivators for them when they are making decisions about what to do or not do. Listen, then explain that you have goals and dreams for what God has in store for your future, and that you don’t want to risk putting those goals and dreams at risk for the brief pleasures of the party scene, may connect with your friends.
Unfortunately choices that are ungodly, risky and unwise do more than harm the single individual involved in making the choice. The consequences for poor choices tend to have ripple effects that work their way outward impacting friends and family. But consequences for good choices have a ripple effect as well. Your choice to follow Jesus is a great example of this! Let your relationship with Jesus impact the lives of those around you by sharing His Truth and Grace with others.
Jane Dratz serves as Editor for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.