Teenage-hood is an interesting time. Add difficult as well. Interesting because it is a time of discovery and figuring out oneself. Difficult because it is a time of transition from childhood to adulthood and that can be very confusing. When you act like a child, you are told to grow up; when you act like an adult, you are asked to slow down.
In this interesting and difficult time, I found passages in the Bible that were a bulwark. Bulwark in this case means “a defensive wall.” They were a strong defence, for protection and guidance, in that path of discovery and confusion. The circumstances ranged from identity crisis, discouragement, temptation, friendship building, teen-parent relations, body changes, emotional rollercoasters and whatever else teen life threw at me.
I took these Bible promises to heart and owned them as mine. I would ask God to make that promise true to me. God would come through; Not always as I wanted, but definitely, for my best good. I could mention a tonne of verses, but allow me to only list twenty in today’s post.
- God wants and is able to do exceedingly abundantly in your life if you allow Him. Our dreams and hopes go as far as our nose, but God’s plans for us are far greater, more solid, excellent and glorious. How do I know? The Bible says “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
- I am called to live an exemplary life. Not only I but every young person is called to be a good, no, exceptional, example in every sphere of their life. How can we be exceptional? By allowing God to shine through you, day after day, step by step. “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.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT
- God’s mercies never cease and are new each morning. Regardless of how far I have gone from God, regardless of how bad I was yesterday, God’s mercies are new each day and I can start from a new slate with Him, today. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
- Wait in patience. Eish! I was one impatient teen. I wanted things now, and if not, earlier. After all, I was raised in the microwave generation, instant chat, and action-packed movies where one lives their lifetime within two hours. We have never experienced the art of letter writing and waiting for three months for a response. Nor do we know waiting for the national broadcasting television to start at 6 pm. Despite that, God would have us learn patience so that we develop strength of character. “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalms 27:14 NKJV. Another Amplified Version says, “Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 AMP
- My greatest source of help is God. From providing the knowledge to understand mathematics; to granting the Holy Spirit for self-control to manage emotions; to be a friend who sticks closer than a brother, God is near to help. My parents can be a channel of God’s help, my education can only take me so far, friends are ever-changing, money does not buy love, etc. Truly, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2 NKJV
- The bottom line. When all is said and done, when life’s purpose is discovered, friendships are made and broken, Instagram is explored, Snapchat is figured out, all the words are spoken, and actions are done, here is the bottom line: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV
- Seek to know what God wants. If you would like to have a smooth and straight path, seek God’s will through prayer. Even if there will be obstacles in that path, God will show you how to overcome each of them. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV. Seek God’s will.
- Do not trust your feelings. I used to heavily rely on my feelings when I was a teenager, and boy! that was tempestuous. One time I am happy, the next I am angry, then sad, then afraid, then . . . it was a mighty storm. So rather than trust your feelings, benchmark against principles and rely on God. “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV
- The one thing worth boasting about. Teens tend to brag about many things—physical outlook, social status, material possessions, athletic academic or artistic ability—things often not their own. They derive security and confidence from these things hoping to look cool and popular. Most of these things are temporary and ever-changing. So one day, your guardian may have money, then tomorrow they do not; you could be the best sprinter today and tomorrow a fatal accident renders you immobile. With that in mind, the Bible tells us the one thing worth boasting about. “This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT
- Fear nothing. I know there are many teens like me who fear embarrassment, failure, betrayal, disappointment, shame, etc. But God reminds us not to be afraid and He tells us why. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT
- There are no impossibilities/limitations with God. He still works miracles today. Do you believe that? “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 KJV
- The litmus test for everything. I often wondered what to read, what to watch, how to dress, where to go, and what to do…until I finally figured out a test for each of these. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV
- What do I do with anxiety? Anxious about exams, your friendship going sour, your relationship with your parent, fees, other’s perception of you, and whatever else? Give them anxieties to Jesus. Yes, every one of them, the significant ones and the seemingly insignificant ones. He can handle them. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
- Three things to do each day. “ Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV
- Two things to process each morning and every night. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare  Your lovingkindness in the morning, And  Your faithfulness every night.” Psalms 92:1-2 NKJV
- A must-have in all your doings and goings. Whatever you do, wherever you go, make a point to invite Jesus in it. God delights to be with us, in all our operations. Invite Him in the big and the small things. That way, you shall succeed in all you do. Say a similar prayer as Moses prayed: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Exodus 33:15 NIV
- God works in us. Are there some things you struggle with—subjects in school, emotions that ran riot, difficult choices, hard conversations and so on? Well, how about you ask God to work in you? He is willing to work in us, through us and for us, to accomplish His purposes. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 ESV
- What God has started, He will finish. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV
- Life is brief. Make the best of each day for you know not if tomorrow will be yours. Someone once said, “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14 NLT
- Hope. There is coming a day that all the cares and fares of the world will be over. I cannot imagine a world without death, sickness, foul smells, bullying, pain, formal school and exams, etc. But there is coming a day when it shall be no more. Imagine that! “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4 KJV
Then I just had to add two more!
- Press on to know God. Make every effort to spend time with Jesus in prayer and Bible Study. That time spent with Him, will not be in vain. It shall be richly rewarded. Maybe not in monetary terms, but perhaps with wisdom beyond your years, good health, peace of mind, and who knows what else of God’s bounties. “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3 NLT
- More than Conquerors. I just had to add this all-time favourite bulwark promise. “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39, NLT
There are so many more Bible promises that you can claim as a teen. Please share a Bible promise that has really encouraged you in your teen life. I sure would like to hear from you.