Teenage Years, Youths’ Spiritually Critical Periods
Teenage Years, Youths’ Spiritually Critical Periods
The time of youth is known as the active period of humans all over the world, and this time according to documentations on adolescence starts from teenage period.
Online Wikipedia says this about adolescence that it is from Latin word “adolescere” which means to grow up. Adolescence is said to be a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that starts from puberty to adulthood stage.
Teenage years, according to the word “teenage”, it relates to anything that has to do with “teens”, thus these years start from “thirteen to nineteen years”.
The associated characteristics demonstrated by individuals at these years make teenage years a critical stage during the developmental milestone of humans all over the world, because it is the years of growing up, with varying changes, physically, socially, psychologically, culturally, mentally, spiritually among others being shown in the lives of teenagers.
In many of the books, and researches, “teenage” has been incorporated into adolescence stage it is not treated alone because it is a phase that is interwoven with the youthful phase in life.
Majority if not all the history books of the world have it written in them the history of a man, a Hebrew, one of the sons of Jacob called Joseph in their accounts. It is from the documentations of prophet Moses concerning this rare man of his days as found in the book of Genesis chapter 37 that I want us to see some of the things about teenage years how critical and crucial the stage is in individual lives and the need to guide and guard ourselves as we pass through this stage in life.
1. Time of Revelation: This phase is the phase of revelation in individual’s life. Revelation is defined as a surprising and previously unknown fact that has been disclosed (or communicated) to someone (or group) supernaturally or otherwise. It could reveal the past or be talking about the future to the person.
In the book of Genesis 37 we shall see how God reveals the future to the man called Joseph through his dreams at his teenage phase.
“And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.” (Gen. 37: 1-2 & 5 (emphasis mine))
Hebrew word for the past tense of dream here is “חלם”, châlam (pronounced as khaw-lam') which means to cause to dream, being out of the physical senses. While the word dream in Hebrew here is “חלםחלום”, which when Romanized becomes chălôm chălôm, (pronounced as khal-ome', khal-ome').
Our God is a magnanimous God because as he rains on the evil so does, he sends rain on the good, he does not exempt the house of the unjust when his sun rises from the east, thus he never leaves anyone, any human without communing with him or her.
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mat. 5:45)
All over the world it is known that one of the means of God (or deity) talking to humans is through dreams, examples of this is replete in the bible. (Gen. 20:3; 40:5; 41:7; Jdg. 7:13; 1Ki. 3:5; Job33:15; Dan2:3; Mat. 27:19) These bible chapters show that God talking to the now Hebrews those who are not heirs of father Abraham to show us that God has ever been mindful of all humans on earth and he has not left any without instructions.
As we could see from the book of Genesis 37:2 that it was at the teenage years of Joseph that God started communicating with him through dreams, God started revealing to him what cannot but happen to him in the future.
As good bible students we should not overlook the age indicated in this book to mean ordinary thing, to look at it as if it does not matter. It is written here so that teenagers would know the importance of their age and time and should not misbehave, should not do anything slip-shoddily, but to take note of what God is telling them at this phase through dreams and other means because that is their phase of revelation, the phase when they will have deeper insights into their future.
2. Phase of Formation: Online free Dictionary defines formation as the act of giving, or form, shape, or existence. Joseph has been living and interacting with his brethren before and he has been having another notion about life, he has been creating in his mind a new way of living that is different from the way of living of his brethren. Her has not be contented with the way of living of his brethren as Lot too was not satisfied with the way of living of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah when he was living there.
“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
“(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Pe 2:7-8)
He thence has been forming in himself a new way of life that would be devoid of all the manners of living and lifestyles of his brethren.
One clear example that we shall see that shows he has not been contented with their way of lives neither wishing to toe their paths of living was what Jacob’s eldest son did by going in to the wife of his father and having carnal knowledge of the woman.
“And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:” (Gen 35:22)
What the man Rueben did became an open knowledge unto all and sundry. This would have been like a dagger thrust into the heart of Joseph and he has made up his mind never to toe such path when he comes of age, as such as from then has he be fleeing from youthful lusts.
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Ti 2:22)
His kind of person, the personality type became revealed at this time. In the same vein is it happening all over the world, at this time, the personality types of individuals would be revealed to people associating with him. Nothing happens by accident in life, at a tender age, one can really know, decipher the kind of person one shall be interacting with.
3. Stage of Discovery: Discovery is the act, process, or an instance of observing or finding something unknown.
It is during this phase in life that one shall discover whether one has the attributes of a good leader or not.
Joseph at this phase in his life discovers that he has the attributes to be a good leader and this eventually was corroborated by the revelation he received afterwards.
“For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
“And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” (Gen 37: 7-8)
As he has discovered himself other siblings were yet to discover themselves as he had during this phase which eventually resulted in them becoming envious of his words, revelations and lifestyle.
As teenager, you need know that this is the phase whence you can discover yourself, discover your talents discover your likes and dislikes. If you have been skeptical, uncertain about some things about your life before, when you get to this phase, it would get clearer through several means as it happened unto Joseph whom I am using as my example in this topic.
4. Time of Chatting Path to Follow in life: as he walks and works with his brethren and was seeing their ways of life, instead of joining them to do evil as other people would have done, he did not do that.
“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:” (Exo 23:2 (emphasis mine))
Because he does not have it in mind to join their ways of life, that was why he could be taken their evil reports back to their father.
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” (Gen 37:2 (emphasis mine))
He distanced himself from all appearances of evil as the bible says and sets a standard for himself, a standard of righteousness and faithfulness.
5. Time of Learning:
Online Wikipedia says learning is the method of acquiring new, or adjusting existing, knowledge, behavior, skills, values, or preferences. The learning ability is possessed by humans, animals, some plants and some machines. It is good to add that this process, learning continues throughout humans’ lifetime.
When one is learning one would be under the tutorship of some people, a leader or master. Take as example, an apprentice, when an apprentice is under a master such a one would be rebuked, chastised in some cases because the master wants the apprentice to be a good person a good representative of what he has learnt from him.
Joseph demonstrated this in the account of him given by Prophet Moses in the book of Genesis. During this time he did not show that he was the person God reveals something to and would for that say his father is not his father again for rebuking him, he did not say that his father wants to put out his glory, he did not say his father wants to put off his talent or gift, but he accepted the rebuke with open heart and open mind.
“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
“And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, what is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” (Gen 37:9-10 (emphasis mine))
The Hebrew word for rebuke here is “גּער”, Romanized as gâ‛ar, (pronounced as gaw-ar') which means chide, reprove.
After his father rebuked him it was not stated again that he discussed his dream with people again. It was not stated here that he started arguing with his father as some of us use to argue with people today to show that we are right in what we are saying some will even start fighting with people because they do not accept what they say or when they try to counsel them on what they have received or seen.
One of the key thing to know someone who is learning is that the person would yield to corrections or instructions, and this is shown in this man, this should be demonstrated in the lives of teenagers, any teenager who is not demonstrating this is showing that he or she is not ready to learn and such a one hardly would anyone put things in his custody in the future and if man cannot put things in your custody it is certain that God too would not be able to put things in your custody, it means you have failed, you have disappointed him during your teenage years.
6. Phase of Laying Footprints:
Footprints are the impressions (or images, outline or indentation) left behind by a person foot on a surface while walking or running.
I heard a story of a young Christian, teenager who died in a church some couple of years back. It was stated that during the time of his burial except for those who were not around in the church he was attending and perhaps small children every member of the church gathered to bury the teenager. After the burial so many good reports of the teenage guy were being shared by people, members of the church and outsiders whom the guy had dealings with during his transient days on earth. The senior pastor of the church was moved by all and the mammoth crowd who gathered to bury the guy that the following Sunday he cannot but refer to the guy while preaching. He said since the time he has been in the ministry he has not seen people gathered together to bury a young man like the guy, that he was moved and that they guy has left an indelible mark in his heart.
At this stage, that is when we lay foundations for others to follow, that is when we start leaving our footprints on the sand of time for others to follow.
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” (Gen 37:2)
Joseph as one of the children of Jacob lay clear cut footprints on the sand of time for all during his days because he was committed to the work he was doing. He was not a lazy person. It is disturbing today to discover that some teenagers are lazy, they do not want to work they want everything to come to them on the platter of gold. This was not the case with Joseph, he followed others to the field to shepherd the flock of their parents. By doing this he started laying good examples for all to follow.
My advice to you as parents reading this is that you should encourage your teenage children while growing up, do not indulge him or her in continuing in his wrong attitudes. When he does something that needs to be reproved of, do so immediately with the mind of correcting him and putting him aright so that he would not make such mistake in the future. We should not leave our teenagers alone to themselves, we should not say they have come of age and that they should continue to do as they like, for saying that would expose them to wrong doing the more.
As teenagers I will want you to have this at the back of your mind that because people are living their lives as they like that does not mean you should leave your life as you like. When your peers are doing what is wrong, what is not right, without being rebuked neither corrected, that does not mean it is right, that is not a license for you to join them to do what is not right. Always bear it in mind that the accepted way of living you will find it in the bible and other abnormal ways of living that people have introduced into the you should ignore them and distance yourself from those. As Joseph did, you should do, and that is fleeing youthful lusts.
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