Have you been wondering how to serve God in your youth? Or asking yourself what you can do for God between school, homework, studying, work, sports, etc. You’re not alone, my precious friend.
“What can I do for God?”
I probably asked myself that very question a million times during my teen years. I yearned to learn how to serve God but could not figure out how in the world a teenage girl could serve God in my youth. What can I do for God that someone older and wiser than me couldn’t? It’s something I struggled with greatly, especially since I encountered many older adults who had a similar mindset and didn’t take my desire to learn how to serve God seriously. I knew I should be reading my Bible and praying every day, but other than that I was at a loss. I felt too young, unqualified, and completely clueless on how to serve God. Looking back it’s easier to see how I could have been serving God during the hustle and bustle of high school life (hindsight is 20/20, right?). Before I get into that let’s discuss why you should serve God.
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Why Serve God in Your Youth?
Scripture is clear that we should serve God but why serve God is a more complicated question. A common question many teenagers have is why serve God instead of living however they want. I’ve turned to scripture to answer this and there are also some benefits of serving God that are worth being mentioned. Here’s what I’ve found in my studies.
1. Serving God In Your Youth Sets You On The Right Path
The first reason you should serve God in your youth is presented in Proverbs 22:6 (CSB),
“Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he won’t depart from it.”
This verse shows that how you are raised, how you behave, and the habits you form in your youth have an influence on who you will be as an adult. This influence can be either positive or negative depending on how you’re living now. When you serve God in your youth, you’re preparing yourself to live righteously as an adult as well.
2. Serve God In Your Youth Because He Knows What Best For You
Secondly, you should serve God in your youth because God knows what is best for you. As a teenager, and even into adulthood, you have no way of knowing or even comprehending what is best for your life. How could you? You don't know what possibilities the future holds for you or how each decision you make will impact those possibilities. But God does. Isaiah 55: 8-9 says,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.' This is the Lord's declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
One of the benefits of serving God is that He will reveal His will for you. When you trust God and follow His will, there is no longer a need to worry. There is no need to worry about whether things will work out, whether you're making the right decision, etc.
3. Serve God In Your Youth Because God Can Make Even Bad Things Result In Good
Why serve God? The life of a Christian is not all pie in the sky and angels playing harps; I feel this can be especially for teenagers. Serving God in your youth does not guarantee you a life without trouble. (I can personally attest to this!) Serving God in your youth does mean that even when trouble comes, God can bring something good out of it (something else I can personally attest to). Another benefit of serving God is that when you focus on serving God, the troubles of life don't seem all that daunting. You're able to look at life from a new perspective and see things from a new point of view.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 CSB
4. Serve God In Your Youth Because of the Joy It Brings
One last reason you should strive to serve the Lord in your youth is because of the simple joy of serving God. Romans 15:13 (CSB) says,
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The joy of serving God is not something easily explained, but when you live your life for God He gives you a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). So another one of the benefits of serving God is with God on your side there’s no need to worry; you can simply find joy in each and every day.
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How Can You Serve God in Your Youth?
Now that we’ve discussed why you should serve God in your youth, let’s talk about how to serve God in your youth. When asking “what can I do for God?” what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Is it preaching? Mission work? Leading praise and worship? Or maybe some other lofty and complicated role for a teenager?
Of course, I’m not saying you cannot take on the roles mentioned above while a teenager but what if I told you serving God in your youth doesn’t have to be complicated? You can easily serve God in your everyday life, right in the midst of all the homework, tests, sports practices, and band rehearsals. 1 Timothy 4:12 (CSB) says this,
“Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct,, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
This one simple verse tells you five ways you can serve God in your youth: in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
Serve God In Your Youth With Your Words
The first way you can serve God in your youth is by zipping your lips. That’s right! Words have the amazing power to either build some up or completely tear them down. You can serve God by speaking words of life. Stop gossiping and spreading rumors and speak words of kindness that encourage others.
Ephesians 4:29 (CSB) says,
“No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.”
Ever since I was a child, my mouth has gotten me in trouble. Whether it be words spoken in anger, gossip, or even speaking poorly about myself, I struggled with speaking only uplifting and encouraging words. Somewhere along the way I picked up this little trick: before saying something take a moment to consider these three things:
- Is it positive?
- Is it hurtful to another person?
- Is it really necessary?
If your answer to any of these three questions is “no” then it doesn’t need to leave your lips.
Serve God In Your Youth With Your Conduct
The second way you can serve God in your youth is through your behavior; you can reflect your faith with how you treat others!
Honor Your Parents
One way you can serve God in your youth with your behavior is by honoring your parents. This means no talking back or arguing, no disobeying their rules, and even no rolling your eyes when you think their back is turned (because trust me, they always know). Show your appreciation for everything they do for you- some things you most definitely don’t even know about. Tell them how much you love them and let your mom kiss your forehead in front of your friends without complaining.
Ephesians 6:1-3 (CSB) says,
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord because this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.”
The second way you can serve God in your youth through your conduct is by respecting others, whether or not they return that respect to you. Show the same love and grace God has shown to you to others. Don’t gossip or speak rudely about people you don’t like. Listen to and obey those who have authority over you (i.e. teachers, principals, bus drivers, etc.).
Romans 12:10 (CSB) says,
“Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Serve God in Your Youth By Loving Everyone
The third way you can serve God in your youth is by loving. This one can be difficult, especially when dealing with difficult people or when others are not kind and loving in return. Thankfully, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us exactly how to love others. We can love others by being kind, patient, not envying or boasting. We can love others by not boasting to or dishonoring others, putting ourselves above others, or getting angry at others. You can serve God by serving others; do something kind for someone without expecting anything in return. I encourage you to refer back to this passage of scripture whenever you struggle with loving others. Even better – serve God by sharing Jesus with others!
1 John 4:16 (CSB) says,
“And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.”
Serve God In Your Youth By Having Faith
The fourth way you serve God in your youth is by showing faith! But what does it mean to have faith? Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB) says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
You serve God in your youth by trusting God in all situations- the good and the bad. Maybe even more importantly, you can have faith by submitting your will to God’s. As I have already discussed, God knows and wants what’s best for you. You can serve God in your youth by accepting God’s will for you even when you don’t understand it.
Serve God In Your Youth By Living in Purity
Finally, you can serve God in your youth by living in purity which may be one of the most difficult things to accomplish in a society that promotes sexual promiscuity at every turn. Colossians 3:5 (CSB) says,
“Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.”
You can serve God by living a life that honors and glorifies him. This means giving up the desires of our flesh (whether it be lust, greed, etc.) and pursuing God’s will instead. If you want to read more about living in purity, be sure to check out Pure in Heart by Susan Rohrer.
Serving God in your youth doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s not about big, huge acts of service that everyone notices. Serving God in your youth is about the small things you do each day to point others to God. It’s about waking up each morning and deciding you’re going to live for God despite everything you have going on. Serving God in your youth is loving others, having faith, and living in a way that is evidence of God’s goodness and mercy. The next time you find yourself asking “what can I do for God?,” refer to 1 Timothy 4:12 and remember you can serve God in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity!