“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Tim 4:12 (ESV)
It’s easy as a teenager to think that you have to be an adult to do anything for God. The truth is, you don’t have to wait to make a difference in the world for God. There are things that you can do right now that will help others and share the love of Jesus.
Today, God is encouraging young people to live their faith out loud. You are called to be an example to those around you of love, faith, purity, speech and conduct. Don’t be afraid to step out and do the things that are on your heart to do.
You can influence more people than you know if you’ll just live in a way that honors God in everything you do. Choose to let God shine through you today!
Pray: God, thank you for how good you are. I ask you to help show me how I can make a difference in my world today. I’ll be bold and do the things I feel you are showing me to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For me, math homework has always been a drag. If I could put off doing it, I would. There is not much that is less fun than doing math homework. However, math homework can teach us some great stuff about leadership.
1. Math homework stinks. It’s hard work and to do well in math, you’ve got to study hard. That’s a lot like how leadership is. Leadership requires you to study to be a good leader. Good leadership skills don’t develop overnight. It takes study and hard work to become a good leader.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” -John F. Kennedy
2. Math formulas can help you out. Whether you use the quadratic equation or cosine you can use the predefined formulas to reach the answer you need. In the same way, there are tons of leadership experts who can help provide you with proven formulas for success. Ask around or do a google search there’s lots of answers to your leadership questions.
3. Just get started. If you don’t start on your homework, you will never finish. The same is true with growing in your leadership skills. You need to get started somewhere. It might be asking your youth group leader to plug you into a leadership position at youth group, or you could look for opportunities to lead at school. Whatever the case, just start stepping out and begin to lead. You’ll get better and feel more comfortable as you step out and lead more and more.
Finally, don’t let yourself hold back because you think you’re too young or that you don’t know enough to lead.
“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity.” – (1 Timothy 4:12 GNT)
Now is the perfect time to start leading. Begin learning about leadership and then don’t be afraid to step out and see your leadership skills grow!
Riding on a rollercoaster can be a lot of fun. The twists and turns during a rollercoaster ride can get your blood pumping and heart pounding. And there’s nothing scarier than riding a rollercoaster without a floor. The first time I went on a floorless rollercoaster, I was scared out of my mind. My feet were dangling, and I was concerned I might not make it. In a coaster without a floor, you’ve got to put all your trust in the ride’s restraints. You have to believe that the restraints will keep you safe during the ride.
A lot of the time, taking a stand for God can feel just as scary as riding a floorless rollercoaster. Taking a stand for God can be really scary. You can wonder if it will be worth it, or if God will really come through for you. There’s a story in the Bible about Elijah that shows what can happen if you take a stand for God. Elijah challenged a bunch of people who didn’t believe in God to a contest to prove that Elijah’s God was real.
Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!” And all the people agreed. – 1 Kings 18:24 (NLT)
Elijah went out of his way to take a stand for God. He poured tons of water on his wood. His goal was to really make it obvious that when God lit his wood on fire that God was real. Elijah trusted in God. He trusted that God was going to come through for him and not leave him hanging.
Just like when you ride a rollercoaster you have to trust the restraints to keep you safe, when you take a stand for God, you have to trust that God will come through for you. Elijah did just that. He trusted that God had his back. He trusted God so much that he poured water on his wood just to prove that God was big enough to light wet wood on fire. And God did it. God came through for Elijah. God lit the wood on fire, water and all.
What God did for Elijah, he’ll do for you. This isn’t to say that you should prove to your friends at school that God is real by praying to God to light a bonfire for you. But it does show us that when you take a stand for God, God will come through for you. Taking a stand for God takes faith. It takes you trusting God and relying on Him to keep you safe.
So challenge yourself today to trust God. Just like you have to trust the restraints on a rollercoaster, trust God that he will come through for you and keep you safe. Trust that God will have your back when you take a stand for Him.
One important part of being a leader is learning how to motivate others. But, being able to motivate others doesn’t just happen automatically. Rather, its something that you can learn to do and grow in. Motivation isn’t manipulation or forcing others to do something you want them to do. Motivation wins people over and influences them for an advantage that is beneficial to both you and them. That’s why motivation is way better than manipulation. When people are manipulated, they end up feeling upset and used. When you learn to motivate someone, they’re much more likely to be happy about what they’re doing. Here are three ways to help boost your motivation skills.
Earn their trust. In order to motivate someone, you’ve got to earn their trust. You’ve got to be open and transparent with them. You can’t be someone who isn’t a person of their word or who isn’t trustworthy if you want to be a good motivator.
Be a person of your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t just make random statements, but choose to always
Believe in yourself. People like to follow someone who believes in themselves. You don’t have to have all the answers, but a little confidence goes a long way in motivating others.
The last thing to do when growing to be a better motivator is to ask God for His wisdom and help. He can lead you and direct you when it seems that no one else can. His wisdom is way better than what any leadership book or seminar can teach. Following after God and tapping into His help when leading others will take you far!
Most actors who play the part of a real life person will study to get into character of the person they are playing. For example a professional actor who would represent Abraham Lincoln would study his life by reading books to get all the facts of his life. Then they might read his writings to get an idea of how he thought. In other words, they study the person to understand them to the point that they almost become like him in order to “act the part” .
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Hebrews 6:12 states “That ye be not slothful but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”[/quote]
This word “ followers” indicates acting or copying someone. Like the good actor who studies and tries to mimic the person he is depicting, we are told to do that too. Who are we to mimic or copy?
The Bible says those who spiritually are our leaders. Those who have faith and character and have stood up morally in hard times. Jesus certainly is that leader to want to replicate. Your pastor or a leader at your church might be such a person.
Study them and listen to what they say. Study what they do in difficult situations. The more you study good examples of godly people, you will begin to talk like them and act like them. In fact, we are told to do that! Study how they treat their other people. Study what they do under pressure. You can learn to follow or replicate them.
If you follow many celebrities of today, you will see they are in trouble with the law and their relationships don’t often last. These are not the people you want to follow because you don’t want the failure they have experienced in your life.
True heroes may not be on television- they may be in your church or in your own home.
Prayer: Father, show me the people around me that have your promises and blessings operating in their lives. Help me to learn from them and study their actions so I can learn to copy their success. Help me to manage my money correctly. Open my eyes to the people you have placed in my life like my pastors and parents so I can learn from them.
If you’re like most teenagers, you probably love playing video games. Maybe you’re a huge Halo fan, or perhaps you love Call of Duty. Whatever your game of choice is, there are things that you can learn about leadership from video games.
Though I’m not a huge gamer, I do love playing a little Mario Kart. The one thing I noticed when I play Mario Kart is the importance of making good small decisions. For example, I tend to make really big turns when I’m driving. For example, I might be driving and notice that I’m starting to head to the left on the road. So I make this major correction in hopes of getting back to the middle of the road. Usually this does no good. I end up driving off a cliff or into a lake or something that results in me losing bunches of time. I always make way to big of corrections and end up losing the game. I’ve come to realize that I need to make small corrections to win at Mario Kart.
The same is true in life. Its making the small decisions/corrections in life that will steer the course of your life and cause you to not get off course.
I read a great story in the book Success for Teens by Jeff Olson. Jeff’s daughter was asking him some advice about how to do well in college and how to stand out. Jeff answered:
“Simply show up at your classes every day, and do the things your professors tell you to do, you’re going to beat 50% of people by just doing that.
Its such simple advice, but so true. Just showing up everyday will make you a success at college. Its the small decisions you make everyday that will be the difference between success and failure in life.
Some good small decisions to develop everyday:
Spending time with God
Getting up when your alarm clock rings(this is huge)
Being places on time
Keeping your word
Sharing your faith with others
Just like in Mario Kart, the small decisions are the ones that will keep you on course for your life. Being a leader begins with the small decisions you choose to make everyday. I encourage you to choose to make good small decisions which will make a huge impact on your life.
Character is like the volume knob on a guitar amp. A guitar amp comes with tons of other knobs, dials and decals that are much flashier, making the volume knob easy to overlook. However, when you turn that volume knob up on an amp, you can really tell. It makes a big difference! That’s exactly what character is like. It can seem like a small thing, but when its turned up in your life it can make a huge difference.
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No SLOPPY living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself” – 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (MSG)
Here is a list of a few things that character is:
Character takes training – Character isn’t something that just happens. It is something that takes work to develop. The best way to develop character is to start with small things. Any easy way to start is by getting up the first time your alarm rings in the morning or by helping out around the house when asked and not complaining.
Character takes time – Turning up the character in your life will take time. Many people aren’t interested in doing things if they can’t see results immediately. Don’t become discouraged if it takes time for you to become good at being a person of character.
Character finishes well – Very few people finish well. Many people get discouraged and give up, many times right before they cross the finish line. A person of character sticks with a decision and finishes well.
No matter where the character dial is in your life, you can turn it up. You can train and become a person of greater character. Examine your life and find an area where you can turn up the volume in character. Then decide to stick with it no matter how long it takes, and finish well!
Are you a person that others want to follow? That can be a pretty sobering question to ask yourself. Its an important question to take note of. Are you a person that is followable?
Here’s a few things that you can do to become more followable.
Care For Others – Jesus is such a great example of this. Everywhere He went, He healed the sick, cast out demons and took care of those around Him. He even fed the crowds that followed Him. Jesus is a great example of caring for others. If you want to be followable, caring for those around you should be one of your top priorities.
Lead By Example – What you say is important, but it is what you do that really matters. What are you actions saying? Do you say one thing and do another? Part of being followable is being a person who’s actions match what they say.
Check Your Attitude – Your attitude is key. Learning to have a good attitude will propel you toward success. Make sure in everything you do, you’re keeping a good attitude. A good attitude will help you become a person others want to follow.
Developing habits that cause you to be followable take time. However, if you invest in growing your leadership skills, you can become a person that others will want to follow.
If you were asked to choose between wearing a brand new pair of Nike shoes or wearing some shoes from the bargain store, which would you choose? If you’re like most people you’d chose the brand new Nike shoes. That’s because for most people, the ‘off brand’ or ‘generic brand’ just doesn’t cut it. They want the real thing. They want something authentic or genuine.
In the same way, your faith should be something that is genuine and authentic in your life. Paul gives Timothy a pat on the back for his genuine faith in 2 Timothy 1:5.[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. (NLT)[/quote]
Here’s a few things genuine faith looks like:[list type=”bullet”]
Genuine faith is sold out to God
Genuine faith is fresh and active
Genuine faith doesn’t blend in – it lets God change the way you live.
Genuine faith isn’t boring or outdated
Genuine faith believes that the things God says in the Bible aren’t suggestions, they’re a way of life.
Genuine faith doesn’t compromise
Genuine faith causes action
Genuine faith isn’t based on feelings
Genuine faith looks different than off-brand or generic Christianity. It acts differently than off-brand Christianity. So, how does your faith rate? Is is generic or authentic?
Success doesn’t happen automatically. It comes as a result of the habits and choices you make everyday. Check out this lesson based on principles from the book Success for Teens for some tips on how to be a success as a teenager.
180 Youth Group Assignment
What was one thing you learned or liked from the video above? (Please put your answer in a comment below)
Read Chapter 1 in Success for Teens or listen to it online
If you haven’t already, like StudentDevos on Facebook
If you get time, check out this great song by Hawk Nelson – We can change the world