Inside the PM Dome

07/27/2011

A Challenge to Teenage Boys

Filed under: The PM Weekly — Matt Thomas @ 2:24 pm
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What is the number one distraction in the life of a teenage boy – girls
“But I love her Pastor Matt”…to which I normally reply…”no you don’t, you love yourself.”

In 1 Corinthians 13 the Apostle Paul is describing the agape form of love. (Read 1 Corinthians 13)
Here we find that the definition of love is not simply a feeling, but much more than that. Love in its purest and highest form is described as:
• Longsuffering
• Benevolent
• Not being jealous
• Not boastful
• Not proud
• Doesn’t act reprehensibly
• Is not self centered
• Is not easily angered
• Doesn’t keep a record of wrongs
• Doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness
• Rejoices in what is true
• Bears or covers all things
• Has faith in all situations
• Is optimistic and hopeful
• Is perseverant and consistent
• Is perpetual and never falls away

Now, keeping in mind all of 1 Corinthians 13 and its description of love, along with Jesus selfless demonstration in John 3:16 & John 13 and ultimately on the cross, I believe we can define love in its most pure form in one word: to love is to serve. To love is to willingly forfeit personal benefits for the benefit of another. Love does what’s best for others.

Much of the discussion regarding teen boys and their priorities is about them. It’s true that there ought to be a personal focus on your own spiritual condition as a teen, yet there ought to be a focus on others as well. When it comes to teen girls, do you consider what is best for them at this stage in their lives? Ill clue you in, it not boys…its growing spiritually.

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” When you interact with girls, is this verse primarily on your mind? Is accelerating their spiritual growth first on your priority list? If it is you will act in a way that exemplifies that attitude. If not, then you will act in a way that benefits you.

Let me go on record as saying this, and you can quote me if you like: “The most loving attitude a teenage boy can possess towards a teenage girl, is to place their spiritual growth as his number one priority. The most loving act a teenage boy can exhibit towards a teenage girl is to take any sort of dating relationship or interaction off the table.”

Agape love or agapao is choosing to act in the best interest of another without regard for merit, level of sacrifice, or hope of return. It is unconditional. Its outworking is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Matthew 19:4-5 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Now you explain to me how pursuing a dating relationship as a teen boy (who doesn’t meet the requirements of a man as defined in scripture, and is incapable of leading a relationship with a teenage girl in a way that honors Christ) aids the spiritual growth of that teenage girl? Explain to me how your intentions anything but selfish when you are acting as nothing less than a distraction from what should be her highest priority, namely her own spiritual growth?

Let me teach you something about the way a female works. The affection of a female is responsive. If you offer her attention, her natural tendency is to offer it back. Genesis 3:16 describes this responsive relationship between the man and the woman. To understand this and protect teenage girls from damaging relationships is commendable; to understand this and take advantage of it by pursuing a relationship with a teenage girl is condemnable. There are few things lower than taking advantage of the naïve and innocent.

Now I know that some teenage girls are aggressive and flirtatious and promiscuous and desire to pursue relationships; yet this gives teenage boys no right to reciprocate such attention. The aggressive, flirtatious, promiscuous teenage girl needs teenage boys to care about her enough to stay away. Although she is pursuing you, she is not to blame for her lack of spiritual growth, you are if you choose to pursue a relationship with her or act in a way that gives her the perception that you are interested in doing so.

Remember in Genesis 3, who ate of the tree first; Eve did. Yet who did God hold responsible, Adam. The leader in every godly relationship is the man and therefore the responsibility and stewardship of that relationship is his, and his alone. When you distract a teenage girl from focusing on her spiritual growth, you are the one who will be held accountable; not her.
“But I love her Pastor Matt…” no you don’t, you love yourself. Your intentions are nothing but selfish and you are seeking to use her to gain personal pleasure.

Teenage boys that pursue relationships with teenage girls have no idea what love is because if they did, they would understand that the best thing they can do for teenage girls is to leave them alone. Teenage relationships cause more spiritual damage than just about any other distraction a teenager can face because they steal a most precious asset in the life of a teen, their time. Teenage relationships stunt spiritual growth. Their negative impact is significant, irrevocable, and rarely limited to those immediately involved. Friends, families, youth groups and the like are all impacted when two teens are selfish enough to place their desires over each other’s, the groups, and ultimately God’s.

Those that meet the biblical qualifications for a man and those who meet the biblical qualifications for a woman are those who should pursue marriage. Since the point of dating is to discern the will of God regarding marriage, doesn’t it make sense that those involved in a dating relationship meet the requirements of manhood and womanhood? In short, if the biblical qualifications for a man are not met, you have no business being involved in a man sized relationship. That is the distinction being made in Matthew 19:4-5.

Now do not conclude that when you turn 18 or 21 or any other numeric value that you automatically become a man. Age has literally nothing to do with it. It is all about maturity. When you mature is certain areas of your life then you can be considered a man. Until you do so, you are still biblically considered a boy, and boys never fit into man sized shoes.

Have you ever seen a young boy try to walk around in his father’s shoes? He is clumsy, awkward, and his actions are of little value. This is the case when a teenage boy attempts to walk around in a man sized relationship.

Your flesh and your pride will find this instruction to be offensive. A humble minded individual will view this instruction as wise. Proverbs 12:5 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise.”

“But I love her Pastor Matt.” If you love her so much then do what’s best for her and stay away.

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02/03/2011

Dinner with Sinners

Filed under: The PM Weekly — Matt Thomas @ 6:13 pm

The ministry of Jesus has begun. He has at this time four total disciples, two sets of brothers; Peter & Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee James & John. Jesus has just healed a paralyzed man and forgiven him his sins to the amazement and disapproval of the Pharisees and scribes.

In Matthew chapter nine, we find Jesus calling Matthew, a tax collector, to become a follower and ultimately a disciple. Matthew leaves his collection table and invites Jesus to dine at his house.

Jesus and his four disciples are eating at Matthew’s house along with some of Matthew’s fellow tax collector friends. No doubt still intrigued by Jesus miracles and perceived blasphemies, the accusing Pharisees make their way over to Matthew’s house as well. They take note of the situation and ask the disciples why Jesus would eat with such people as publicans and sinners?

It is not specified whether Jesus heard them audibly or if through His omniscience knew their thoughts. Nevertheless Jesus answers the Pharisees inquiry by giving them an illustration, and teaching us a valuable truth.

He said: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

It is within this simple illustration that we find a most valuable truth regarding how we share the Gospel.

A doctor is not found among those that are well but those that are sick. Those that perceive themselves to be well do not seek out medical attention but those that perceive themselves to be ill. Likewise, those that perceive themselves to be whole spiritually do not seek out Christ’s healing hand of forgiveness, for they mistakenly believe they have no need. Only those who believe themselves to be “sinners” see the value of the Great Physician of the soul.

Jesus reminds the high-minded Pharisees of the prophet Hosea’s teaching regarding the worthless nature of outward sacrifice apart from inward renewal.

Albert Barnes said: “No human beings are by nature righteous. The Pharisees, however, pretended to be righteous. Christ might have meant, by this answer, that it was not the design of his coming to call such persons to repentance, knowing that they would spurn his efforts, and that, to a great extent, they would be vain; or, more probably, he meant to affirm that his proper and only business was to call to repentance such men as he was now with. He came to seek and save such, and it was his proper business, therefore, to associate with them.”

Jesus instructs the Pharisees to “depart and understand.” James Fausset Brown said: “The righteous” are the whole; “sinners,” the sick. When Christ “called” the latter, as He did Matthew, and probably some of those publicans and sinners whom he had invited to meet Him, it was to heal them of their spiritual maladies, or save their souls: “The righteous,” like those miserable self-satisfied Pharisees, “He sent empty away.”

Jesus went into the world and engaged “sinners” with the truth of the Gospel. He also engaged the “spiritual” ones but in a different manner. Although the Pharisees too needed the Gospel, they had to first learn to see themselves as sick instead of whole. Their own pride blinded them of their true condition.

What a marvelous lesson this is for us to remember that Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He sought out those that were spiritually sick and ministered to them. Those that were caught up in their own righteousness He taught them of their true condition, often through admonition. The sick came to Jesus and were made whole. Those that perceived themselves to be well were sent away wanting.

It was Jesus after all who a short while before taught saying “Blessed are they which do hunger now: for you shall be filled… Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.”

Those that are aware of their spiritual illness need to be offered the Divine Remedy of the Gospel. Those that perceive themselves to be spiritually well must first be convinced of their infirmity, and then be made aware of the cure.

Jesus, The Great Physician, has come into the world to redeem mankind from the bonds of sin and to offer freedom and life! His charge to His disciples at His ascension was to go and preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations. We too as His children are given this challenge. Let us then, as Jesus did, seek out those who are dying; not so we can boast of self-righteousness, but rather that we might introduce them to the cure.

 

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