Yesterday, we covered the respect topic. Some of the suggestions I gave to learn how to be respectful were to do things for others. Some of today’s teenager think mostly about doing things that please themselves. For example, they would rather play video games than do chores. They would rather be with their friends hanging out at the mall than going to spend time with grandparents. They would rather listen to their iPod than to help out in the soup kitchen to feed the poor. This is what God calls fulfilling the lust of the flesh… doing things that please you rather than someone else.
The most well adjusted teenagers I have ever met are those who are busy helping others. They have mastered this art at a young age. They love doing things for other people rather than concentrating on themselves. Their faith has been made stronger because they do the works of their faith.
~James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James is not saying that you have to work for your salvation here. He is saying that once you are saved, you should be doing things that please God, not yourself. James is also saying that faith alone (without doing things for others) is like being dead – it produces nothing.
Doing nice things for others shows God’s love through you. Stop and think of this mental picture: You are Jesus “with skin on”! You may be the only Jesus some people ever see! So what you do for others will lead them to Christ. Maybe not today, but some time in the future, they will remember what you did and will desire to have what you have: a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!
~Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
When we do things for others, we are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Bible:
~James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
What does “love thy neighbour” have to do with “doing for others”? Would you be stealing from yourself? Would you be lying to yourself? Of course not! So if you treat others as you would treat yourself, then the Word says you are fulfilling the royal law :)
The more you help others and do things for other people, the less you have time to want things of this world. Your desires will change. You will find that those things are not quite as important as meeting someone’s needs. A person who is starving is much more important than the latest video game. You begin to see life through this kind of thinking. You will find that it is far more rewarding to help others than to satisfy yourself. Remember the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive”? That’s not just an old saying but it is scriptural:
~Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Pleasing the Lord Jesus should be our number one priority in life. If we are pleasing Him, there’s not much room left for pleasing ourselves. So take a moment and think about things that you could do for others and write them down. If you are blessed to have saved parents that you can share with, talk to them about your list – they may be able to add to it. :) They will also know of desire to help and will help you with your goals.
Your church probably has programs that will help you in this area. Many have soup kitchens (I spoke of them earlier) where they feed the poor in the neighborhood. Some may have a missionaries’ closet that they keep stocked with items to give to missionaries when they visit. Maybe you could help straighten it out and keep track of what is there and what is needed. Some churches have a retirement home ministry where they visit senior citizens who do not have family and are lonely. Mostly all seniors love young people and they absolutely love to tell them about the “old days”! You could be a blessing to some dear old saint who is missing her family! God smiles on these actions and loves it when His children are showing compassion to each other.
Life is not all about the latest fashions or latest trends. That is not God’s will for us. Yes He wants us to have clothes and those things that we need. But more importantly, His will is that we help others because we love Him. The way you treat and help others directly reflects on your love and gratefulness to God for what He has done for you. If you are not grateful for your salvation through Christ’s death on the cross and the fact that He paid the penalty for your sins, then you are not going to want to help others because you are self-centered. Yes, you may find these to be harsh words but sometimes it takes straight talk to wake up certain people.
Be honest with yourself – evaluate your heart based on God’s Word. Are you one of these teens that only thinks about herself? You won’t get any lasting joy from only doing or yourself. However, you will get eternal blessing for helping others. Ask forgiveness if you have been self absorbed and ask the Lord to show you ways you can help others. :) You will be glad you did!