originally preached to students at my church, apparently these thoughts struck a chord with more than just Columbus teens:
I recently had the privilege of speaking to our teenagers at Mt Vernon Church. In that talk I shared “7 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every High Schooler.” Here are the seven things:
1. Once you graduate from high school, you’ll be amazed at how little you care about those high school friends you spent so much time trying to impress. I guarantee you, you’ll look back at all those hours wasted trying to impress the ‘cool kids’ as wasted time. Don’t give into peer pressure to impress people you won’t really care about five years from now.
2. Drinking doesn’t mean you’re cool; it just means you have a problem making dumb decisions. The alcohol industry spends $2 billion a year in advertising getting people to drink. Why? Because they want you to become addicted (which means more money for them). If you’ve got a mom or a dad who drinks too much, I know that you don’t think it’s very cool that they’re wasted all the time. But I guarantee you, they probably thought they were the ‘cool kids’ in high school because they broke the rules. Don’t go down that path. It’s not worth it.
3. 98% of your high school relationships won’t last past college. The average marrying age (in MS) is 26 for guys, 25 for girls. Chances are that your high school relationship won’t be the person that you marry. So don’t act like you’re married! Don’t ditch your friends, don’t change who you are. Most importantly, don’t give up pieces of yourself that you intend to save for your real spouse one day.
4. Every sexual mistake you make now destroys intimacy with your future spouse. I know you’re curious, I know you’re tempted, and I know that all those Hollywood actors make pre-marital sex seem cool, but don’t do it. I’ve counseled with hundreds of teens who’ve made sexual mistakes. ALL of them regret it. How many people do you want your future spouse to sleep with before they get to you? Then behave in the same way.
6. The most important ingredient to getting ahead in life is hard work. It’s really that simple. Most people don’t have the determination and discipline to see things through. So that I don’t get lumped in with a former presidential candidate, I won’t say that 47% of Americans are lazy, but the principle behind those remarks isn’t that far off. If you want to get ahead in life, work hard. Most people aren’t willing to put the time and energy into it, leaving more for you.
7. God wants to use you RIGHT NOW to change your world. Many of the world’s revivals have been started by teenagers. Who says the next one can’t be started by you? I love what 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Live that out, and watch what God does through you.