Throw off the Chains of Lawlessness, Teens

(The puppy here is saying “ah, lawless, of whom I am the worst.”)

Lawlessness. The whole thing fills me with rage at times. I certainly have experience with being lawless, and I ain’t perfect, but for someone who has struggled with doubting the validity of the claims of Christ, lawlessness in the Church and lawlessness in churches across the USA (however real or Bible-believing those churches are) certainly does not help. Yes, it’s the old “hypocrite” tagline of the rebellious rejecting Christ. But… sometimes it’s true.

The sad thing is, despite the new generation of millennials thinking they had it all down, they only find new ways to be lawless. While they criticize “the old people” for being legalistic and uncaring, they are busy watching terrible TV shows, making fun of the righteous, listening to music that flies in the face of what Christianity stands for, making up reasons to justify drinking, making up reasons to justify doing drugs, makng up reasons to justify their lack of a prayer life, and making up reasons to justify their spiritual ignorance. Go ahead. Every other generation did it before you.

What has been is what will be,

   and what has been done is what will be done,

   and there is nothing new under the sun.

Thank you, Solomon.

But. If you want to be different. If you want to prove yourself. If you want to be a real Christian that is a shining example of Christ… Change.

When you look at a TV show, (before getting into the plot) ask yourself “is this good for my spiritual walk?” You could even ask “is this something Jesus would watch and enjoy?” If you have good, Christian parents or grandparents, try to imagine if they would watch it. I know, like, that leaves two shows that are both cheesy and have terrible acting. (Yes, I am talking about When Calls the Heart. I hate that show.) But maybe the point of this life isn’t to watch TV shows and talk to your friends about them (just maybe). Maybe you can find a book, or get into a hobby that doesn’t depend on sinful creators.

When you see people who seem really spiritual, don’t immediately doubt them. Sure, lots of people are proud or plain-old hypocrites. (Take me, for example.) But you might still be able to learn from them. The minute you criticize is the minute you stop learning. Criticism is the enemy of learning. And also the enemy of worship. I feel like I heard that somewhere. Hmm…

When you listen to music, listen to the words. If they swear, you might just throw it out (whoa!). Obviously, popular songs are hard to avoid. But you can push them out of your own life. Here are a few music substitutes if you need something to listen to:

  • Celtic music. You can find this really easily on Spotify or Pandora. Yes, some of the songs have little bits of pagan traditions, and sometimes the words are just weird, but often you can’t hear the words well or they’re in another language. Also, French love songs are nice, because they’re really beautiful, but you don’t know what they’re saying.
  • Jewish music. I specifically listen to The Jewish Starlight Orchestra. Most of the songs are really upbeat and sound very fun and innocent. Most of them are in Yiddish. Don’t tell people you listen to this kind of Jewish music because they’ll look at you weird, but do try it out, you might enjoy it.
  • Native American Whistle. Yay, more pagan music! But seriously, it’s super calming and makes a good background.
  • Good-old classical. I love classical music, and currently it’s kind of hip (so is reading) so jump on the bandwagon and love it.
  • And, if you don’t have an eclectic ear like I do, just go with a good Owl City, or someone even more Christian. There is a ton of good music out there.

Before I get onto the next bit, I want to say that this problem, of the ones listed here, is probably the most frequent rearing of the head of lawlessness in my life. It’s so easy for me to listen to songs that just aren’t good, and I’m trying to work through it. These are my substitutes, and they work good if I can get myself to ignore other music I might want to listen to at the time.

If you have friends who justify alcohol, or if you want to justify it… just don’t. Sure, I can’t nail down what the Bible says about it, and maybe it’s okay if you just don’t get drunk. But alcohol ruins lives. You don’t need it. Drink grape juice. Drink ground-up weeds (if you’d like to substitute for beer). Drink pop. (Hey, we have great pop in America.) And, while we’re on the topic of drinking, don’t get addicted to caffeine. Christ is master, nothing else.

On drugs… You don’t need to go very far to realize that it’s not what Christ wants you doing. Just say no. Hey, Nancy is still relevant today. And probably still wearing Reagan Red in Heaven.

Reagan

Now on to things we should be doing.

Prayer is important. It works. Not really, God works, but you know what I mean. I neglect it  on a daily basis. I know I should pray, but I’d rather listen to a podcast. I know I should talk to God, but I really just want to read before I fall asleep. Here’s how I temporarily get back into prayer (it’s not really a long-term answer, but it works.) I confess my sin. If I’m not really willing to confess a certain thing, I’ll just ask him to teach me about it, to soften my heart, and to make himself real to me. Most of these confessions just end with a lot of crying, so it really softens me up to talk to God more. Then sometimes I remember to pray for other people. So, it isn’t perfect, and I’m not where I want to be, but I am growing and changing and staying being humbled about it.

If you are ignorant about spiritual things, don’t stay that way. Figure stuff out. Read the Word. Choose a short book of the Bible and read through the whole thing in a nice, romantic, sunny afternoon. You might choose Philippians or James or a minor Prophet. If you have more time (which you will, if you free yourself from terrible TV shows in your life), you can even read Ecclesiastes in one sitting or the Gospel of John. Why read books all at once? Well, first of all, it keeps you from having to stick to a daily, list-checking ritual that can get really boring, and it also helps you understand the whole of a passage better. After you start reading, try memorizing (it’s not that hard and there’s something really enjoyable about it).

You don’t have to look like every other worldly teen. You can be different. I can be different. We can change. It may not always be hip. It may not always win you points. But it will be pleasing to God, and if you call yourself a Christian, that should mean something to you.

And, on a personal note, I’m not trying to put myself on a pedestal and tell you how you can be like me. I am a terrible person, and that is why I need Christ. I have struggles just like you do, and that’s why I can relate. So, if I come across as proud… well, I guess I am a fairly proud person, probably even more than I realize. But, I’m sorry, and I’m not trying to be mean, just give you what I can.

This is my last real blog post as I will be leaving for the Summer months. Thank you for reading.

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the meditations of the christian

Do you meditate? The answer, no matter who you are, is yes. You meditate on something.

You might meditate on your worries. You might meditate on your sadness. You might meditate on sin. You might meditate on knowledge. You might meditate on people.

Christians should meditate on Truth: The Truth that God Is. The Truth that God loves us. The Truth that He is in control. And the Truth in His Word.

Here are only a few passages where the Bible speaks of meditation, both on His Word and on His Ways: Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, Psalm 77:12, and Psalm 119:15.

But we don’t talk about this much in church, and we don’t think about this in our life. We think “Christians pray. Christians read the Bible,” and maybe “Christians go to church.” But those aren’t the only things that Christians should do. We should also practice purposeful meditation. We should not succumb to natural thought; to the worries and fears and thoughts and anger that usually overtakes our mind, we should take control of our thoughts.

So practice purposeful meditation. Choose an attribute of God or a verse to meditate on. Or combine the two: meditate on a verse that talks about God.

If you want to begin a lifelong habit of purposeful meditation, (or you want to revive an old habit,) here’s an idea: work your way through the 23rd Psalm, meditating on each verse until you’re ready to move on to the next verse.

Psalm 23, English Standard Version (ESV)

A Psalm of David.

     The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

I looked for a good verse to meditate on, and finally came to this classic. I think meditating  on this will reveal things I’ve never thought about, and will show me new things.

With this plan, there really is no plan. I’m just gonna start with verse one and move through the passage as I decide to, memorizing and meditating on one verse at a time.

Do you want to do this, too? Fill out the below forum thingy to let me know. I will give updates at some point in the future, possibly by email.

I really feel strongly about chipmunks.