Do you desire to read and obey God’s Word more than you yearn to win the lottery or eat the best cheesecake, or get your dream home? If you can say yes, then yay! I’m sure you will spend the rest of your life learning more and more about what it means to seek God and obey Him. But how do you pass that desire on to your adolescent? When kids are little–this is why kids’ ministries are so important–they are more open and perhaps hungrier to learn about God. But parenting teens who seem apathetic to the whole God’s Word thing is another thing; how are you supposed to help them hunger for it? I’d like to suggest that your apathetic teen may already be hungry for God; he just doesn’t realize it yet.
Let’s think about hunger for a minute. Hunger is what you feel when your stomach is empty. If we carry that hunger into other areas, we might say that emotional hunger is what you feel when your love tank is empty, or that spiritual hunger is what you feel–perhaps unbeknownst to you–when your God-tank is empty. Our stomachs let us know they are hungry because they growl. And sometimes I think that when someone’s God tank is empty, he “growls” too. He may be apathetic, grumpy, negative, depressed, difficult–spiritual “growling” manifests itself in many ways. So when your teens are “growling” at you, it may be a sign that they are hungry for God, even if they don’t know it. Their apathy may be a form of “growling” from spiritual hunger.
If you can see your teen’s spiritual apathy as a sign that he’s really hungry for God–even though he may not acknowledge it–then perhaps it would help guide you as you help him fulfill his hunger.
- Continue to speak God’s truths lovingly and consistently into his life, looking for those teachable moments. Yes, teens still have them.
- Continue to pray over them, and with them, even if the only time they will let you do that is at the dinner table. Make the most of it!
- Continue to expose them to people who will speak God’s truth into their lives–friends, family, coaches, teachers.
- And most importantly, continue to Walk God’s Talk in front of him, so that he will see how your hunger has been satisfied, and know that his can be too.
You cannot force-feed your teen God’s Words. But you can tempt him with the sweetness of it, and pray he will eventually see it as the banquet that will fulfill his soul’s deepest hunger pangs.