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The Way a Teen Sees Themselves Part 1

Paul Tripp uses Psalms 36:1-4 to help parents understand the struggles of a teenager. Psalms 36:1-4: “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.”

The first struggle of a teenager is there is no fear of God before their eyes. Teens allow the fear of man to control them through peer pressure or fear of peer rejection. This struggle can also be seen in identity issues, Am I ugly? Am I a “geek”? Do people find me attractive? Will I ever be coordinated? This is why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:7 that, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” As our teens understand the fear of the Lord they will reflect and see their need for Christ as their Savior.

The second struggle of a teenager is they flatter themselves too much. Teens struggle with an accurate view of themselves. They think they are more mature than they really are. They think they can handle adult situations even though they are teens. They many times think they are spiritually wiser or stronger than they are. Many teens believe they have out-grown their need of parents. Teens view themselves through the mirror of personal evaluation and cultural norms, just as Jeremiah called the people of Israel to stop and examine themselves in Lamentations 3:40: “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!”

Anyone who has spent a couple of hours with a teenager you will know that many of these struggles are real. Parents need to understand that teens struggle with a proper view of the world and themselves—this is a part of the sin nature. The best thing a teen can do is to spend time in the Word of God and saturate themselves in truth in order to prepare their hearts for every situation that may arise along life’s road. God’s Word will help them understand first who God is and then second who they are in Christ. This is a task that will take a lifetime. My prayer is that we teach teens the truth of Ephesians 5:16: “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

by Tim Yorgey

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