Tough Topics for Teens: The Plan You Follow

Once I tried to surprise my wife by making molasses oat bread. I had tasted it at my cousin’s and his wife gave me the recipe. Unfortunately, I lost it. “Oh well, it can’t be that difficult!” I thought.

I got out some oatmeal (I guessed a couple of handfuls), flour, water (likely 1 cup, no?) and molasses. I eventually made a large ball of dough. I kneaded as much flour as I could into it because once my cousin’s wife had said molasses bread uses lots of flour. I kept kneading, adding flour every few minutes. Finally, with pride, I put it in the oven. Forty-five minutes later, I pulled out a well-baked brick. It was so heavy, I thought of saving it for a doorstop. It tasted like wet cardboard with lots of flour. What a disaster … all because I tried to work without a recipe!

So what plan are you following for your life? Human nature pushes us to be the “master of our destiny” and to have the final say in all we do. When you were little, you were not equipped to make decisions so God gave you parents. Now, in the teen years, they are gradually training you and transferring responsibility for your life. So what plan are you going to pursue?

Want the Plan! 

Rest assured, God does have a design for your life. Incredible, no? To think that the Almighty Creator cares enough about you to have a plan for you! Very often, Christian teens rightfully become burdened about what is the will of God for their lives. Questions flood the mind, such as, “What college should I go to?”, “What should I study?”, and “Who should I marry?” But, hold on! First, you must face the toughest of all: do you really want the will of God for your life?

The will of God can be subdivided into His general will for all Christians and His specific will for you. For example, the Bible says God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Every single person in the world should learn first that God wants them to receive “the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Following salvation, God’s plan for every Christian is that they be baptized (Matthew 28:19). Then, God wants everyone to be in the fellowship of a local church that practices according to the New Testament pattern (Acts 2:41, 42). Have you followed His general plan so far? Read your Bible daily and you will constantly learn more and more of the purposes and plans that God has for every one of His children.

God also has a specific and unique plan just for your life. But always, His specific plan grows out of His general will. For example, God wants those who are called to marriage to “marry in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). That is, God wants every believer to marry another believer equally surrendered to the will of God. That reduces the options by taking away the possibility of marrying an unsaved person (2 Corinthians 6:14) and all believers who are not bowing to the Lordship of Christ. Still, the choices are many. Yet it does appear from the examples of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:22) and Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 24:14) that God does have someone specific just for you.

Know the Plan! 

So, how can you know God’s will? You do not need to pray about whether you need to live a holy life or not. God has already said, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Likely 90 percent of the will of God for your life is already revealed in His Word. We tend to focus on the unknown rather than the known. The unknown is being motivated by fear or curiosity rather than by conviction of what the Scripture says. So occupy yourself in learning God’s general will and work at living a life surrendered to Him. The rest will follow!

The wise man said, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6). God promises to direct in the unknown if we are surrendered and obedient to the known will of God.

Complete surrender to His will and a daily devotion of prayer, reading His Word, and giving your all to His service and His glory is the key to having God’s plan for your life.

In so doing, you will also learn God’s principles that produce wisdom for the daily and often immediate decisions in life. We are all failing creatures and can make mistakes. But spiritual believers are not spending hours laboring to seek God’s will over the purchase of a $10.00 shirt. They have learned God’s principles and apply them, often unconsciously as they live to serve Him in the most practical decisions of life.

Confirm the Plan! 

Circumstances are only valid in the measure in which they agree with the Word of God. To say the Lord is leading you to date an unsaved person because “x” happened in your life is to misinterpret the circumstance. God will never guide you against His Word. Since He has already said, “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), you are misinterpreting the circumstance no matter how it feels or how “miraculous” it seems.

Confirmation of the plan comes through prayer, the reading of the Word of God, wise counsel from spiritual neutral parties, and through circumstances that agree with the Word of God.

Trust the Plan! 

God’s choice is always best! Yet, why has God left such important and specific questions such as “what should I study in school” and “what job should I take” and “whom should I marry” in the unknown category? God has always wanted man to be dependent and communicative with Him daily. The uncertainty keeps us on our knees in His presence with Bibles open seeking guidance from Him. That process of seeking the will of God is just as important as the product of finding the will of God.

But as the hymn goes, “Trust and obey!” In the end, you will look back and praise the Lord for “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

So when should you begin to be concerned about the will of God? The Lord Jesus was 12 when He said, “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). You are never too young to surrender your life to the will of God. So keep your Bible near, your knees bent, your eyes open, and your heart patient as you “live the rest of your time in the flesh … to the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2). In other words, don’t make your life into a molasses oat brick. Take the challenge and choice to make God’s will The Plan You Follow.