TeensAdolescence (13-19 years of age) refers to the teenage years – the hazardous passage from childhood to adulthood. One way to describe this journey is like ‘rapids’ along a river. Things may get rough for a while but if you hang on and don’t panic, everything will eventually smooth out again.

Physically, this is a time of huge change. Puberty brings pimples, sweat, hair in unusual places, new odors, and crazy hormones. Emotions include quickly shifting moods, trying to find an identity, and strong passionate feelings. Mentally, it’s a time of growth, taking in the abstract, logic, and an ability to mount a good argument, as well as to spot hypocrisy and inconsistencies at great distances. Spiritually, teenagers are open to experience and giving themselves to causes beyond themselves.

Many ancient cultures had “rites of passage” to aid in the art of adult-making. Unfortunately, today many teenagers lack any meaningful connection with adults. As a result, many young people make up their own rites of passage with destructive behaviors such as binge drinking, drugs, violence, and risky sexual behaviour.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth (Ecc.12:1).” The teenage years are extremely important as we make decisions that have significant consequences for the years to come. Jesus said that there is a thief who desires to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He doesn’t wait until we’re old to attack. He starts from the womb and intensifies his tactics during the teenage years, targeting youth with rebellion, fantasy, idolatry, and immorality. In contrast, Jesus comes to give us life, and life to the full. This is found in a relationship with him, where we develop loving relationships, submit to godly authority, discover truth, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

Here’s some great advice for young people from the apostle Paul …

1 Timothy 4:12. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. NLT

Some Suggestions for Teenagers:

  1. Read a chapter from the book of Proverbs each day (according to the date), asking God to give you wisdom. In a year you will have read this book 12 times, gaining insight for every important area of your life.

  2. Find some adult role models who you can look up to and learn from.

  3. Choose your friends wisely.

  4. Invest your time and energy in positive activities such as volunteering, learning, sport, and music.

Some Suggestions for Adults:

  1. Be a friend to a teenager. Just listen and don’t be too quick to offer advice. Build trust and rapport.
  2. Volunteer to help with a youth-focused community organisation or church youth group, camp or activity.

  3. Encourage a parent.

Next: Middle Adulthood