The One Thing All Teen Christians Should Hear But Often Don’t (with S. F. Rhoads)
Today, as part of the Live Your Love series, we hear from YA fantasy author, S. F. Rhoads on the one thing she wished she’d known as a young Christian. Let's see how her love for Christ is lived out on a daily basis, and how you can take her advice and see your entire world start to change.
What is one thing you wish you’d known about Christianity or the Bible as a teen?
The walk with God won’t mean life will be easy, and the Bible isn’t a “roadmap” to get us a stress-free life. I wish someone had guided me to read the Bible as a story that reveals who God is and how great His love for me is, and not as a way to gain knowledge or solutions for whatever problem rolled my way.
As a new believer, I was taught the Bible was the place to seek answers, but never that the true “answer” is in seeking the relationship with God. It was easy to pray and ask for a shopping list of things I was hoping He would do, or save me from, but not to ask for Him to show me who He really is through my circumstances. Viewing the Bible this way has changed my relationship with Him, and changed me.
God wants us to have a relationship with Him, to know Him, know what He likes what He doesn’t, what He desires for the world and for us, what He wants us to be. And when I find myself seeking Him, the answers somehow work themselves out. But when I’m so focused on the answer, I’ve only made the situation about myself and what I need, and I find there’s never true peace.
So now when I get up in the mornings, usually before sunrise when the world is quiet, I read my devotional along with the Word for what it tells me about Him and who He is. Knowing He listens to the prayers of those who cry out, knowing He watches over us, knowing He is in control of a chaotic world, brings comfort peace, and a greater love for Him and those around me.
- SF Rhoads, YA fantasy author
Becoming a Christian is about knowing God
Beautiful words, Sandra! What a necessary reminder for us all. Becoming a Christian isn’t about fixing your life or being happy or even getting right with God, though to an extent those things are part of salvation. Becoming a Christian is about knowing God.
Before we are saved, we’re not able to know God on a personal level. We can know that He exists and know a little about who He is, but we can’t get to know Him as a son would his own father. The reason becoming a Christian “fixes” anything or makes us more joyful than we once were is because once we are saved, we see that God Himself is the answer to whatever we’re facing. Sandra put it well. The relationship is the answer.
Will that mean our troubles disappear with a poof? No. But when we realize that the Lord of Hosts walks with us through our trials, we’re capable of enduring much more than we ever thought possible. The closer we draw to Him, the less overwhelming our troubles become.
As young believers, we need survey what we truly desire. Do we desire God more than the rest of our pursuits? If we answer honestly, we’ll probably say no. But God is merciful and He desires for us to desire Him. Ask Him. He’ll gladly show you more of Himself, and the more of God you see, the more in love with Him you will become. It’s that simple.
So, how do we see more of God? As Sandra said, we grow closer to God by reading His Word. None of this sitting in a trance, hoping God will pour out new revelation on you. That is unnecessary, no matter what you may have heard. He’s already revealed everything we need to know about who He is, and He’s done that in the Bible.
Spend time in His Word, and you’ll get to know God better. Get to know God better, and you’ll be transformed (John 17:17, Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:20-24).
As the Psalmist said, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me” (Psalm 16:5, 6). Did you catch that? The Lord, the Creator, the God of the universe, is our inheritance. Instead of punishment, forever, we get God. What else could we possibly ever ask for? No inheritance could ever surpass that.
As you open your Bible this week, get excited for the ways God will reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to open your eyes to more of Him. If you’re looking at Him, you won’t be distracted by what’s going on around you. And once you really see your position as God's child, your mindset will be completely remade.
I’d love to hear what you’re learning about God this week. Post in the comments or shoot me an email. Or comment on Instagram and start a conversation. Let’s share the things we’re learning about the Almighty God. Don’t worry if you think others may already know what you’re just learning. We all delight to see God and to see Him at work in the hearts of other believers. Remember, we’re all on the same team, cheering for the same thing. You’re not alone in this walk with God.