The pressure to conform is enormous these days. Young people (teenagers), in particular, are targets of the “conform to the latest worldly philosophies and trends or be an intolerable outcast” mentality that permeates the culture. The easiest thing for our teens to do would be to just play along and fit in. But conformity to the world is a death trap, plain and simple. Therefore, Christian parents, and the church as a whole, must do everything possible to help our young people toward a radically different type of conformity.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
In his excellent article, “A Call to Teenagers to be Free,” John Piper lays out an excellent challenge and “battle plan” for young people.
I am writing for the liberation of teenagers. I write to challenge teenagers to “live as people who are free” (1 Peter 2:16). Be wise and strong and free from the slavery of culture-conformity. To put it another way, I am calling teenagers to a radical, wartime lifestyle.
Knowing you are in a war changes what is cool. If your family is under attack, fretting about your clothes and your hair stops. There are more important things at stake.
…we are at war. The enemy is stronger than the Axis of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Indeed, stronger than all human powers put together. The battle is daily. It is fought in every locality. And its victories and defeats lead to heaven or to hell.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
Fight the good fight of the faith. (1 Timothy 6:12)
Wage the good warfare. (1 Timothy 1:18)
The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3)
Abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)
What Is Really Going On?
Don’t be part of the blind, teenage masses who do not know what is going on. They think that to know the latest movie, iPhone app, or hit song is to know what is going on. Those things are like cut flowers. Bright today, tossed out tomorrow. They are utterly insignificant compared to events that are shaping the course of eternity.
When the Great General says, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), he means: Don’t fit into the stereotype of the aimless, careless, superficial youth. Break the mold. You belong to Christ. Show the world that there is another kind of teenager on the earth.
This teenager is not a leaf blown along with the wind of cultural trends. He is not a jellyfish floating with the current of the times. He is a tree that stands firm in the strongest storms. He is a dolphin who slices the waves against the tide. He is going somewhere.
(©2015 Desiring God Foundation, desiringGod.org)
I highly recommend reading the entire article together with your teens. It will provide some great talking points that, Lord willing, will lead to deep spiritual discussions, focused prayer, and concrete steps for moving forward.