1 Corinthians 6:17
But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
That smile; it hides a lot actually. Those brown eyes hiding behind the wire-framed glasses know how to brighten when people enter a room even when I didn’t feel like it. I played the game well. That Italian nose…well…it was a statement all by itself. Yet, who could forget that Irish red hair? Yes…the thick red hair we all said I would never lose [so says the bald middle-aged man looking back at himself].
A few days ago, I received a text message from my son who is a sophomore in high school – the same school I attended a few decades ago. I opened the message and was surprised to see this picture. He asked, “Is this YOU?” I paused and silently laughed before replying, “Yes, son, and aren’t you happy that you look just like me?!” Of course we laughed over this picture any many others while several students were cleaning out old yearbooks.
Pictures have a way of evoking more than…memories. They touch places, stir up emotions, and revive words that haven’t been breached in years. I look back at this picture and want to do two things: (a) stoke the embers of leadership while stamping out the fear of rejection that guided my life for years and (b) hold him tightly assuring him that the future trials would be intense but he would come out more precious than gold.
If those bricks could talk, they would say they were supporting the backs of Christian teenagers who faced many of the same challenges that our kids face today. Sure, the battle has intensified over the years and the enemy is advancing, but the common denominator has NOT changed: Satan wants every human being to believe that they are alone, isolated, and rejected. Why do you think suicide rates are on the rise despite being “more connected” now than at any other time in history?
This is why I love what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” Oh I wish I would have understood this more as a youth. The enemy has such a grip on our children (and adults for that matter) making them believe that they are alone. As a child of God, we are never alone! We have His Spirit, our Advocate! FACT.
Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
We come against negative words spoken over our youth and take back what is rightfully ours by the power and authority of Jesus Christ in us. We pray for our children, youth, teachers, and leaders. We invite Holy Spirit to overwhelm us with His presence as we throw off our sinful ways in our homes, schools, and jobs. We seek God’s forgiveness, salvation, and revival. We ask that God will sharpen our youth and that Holy Spirit will embolden them to walk upright in authority.
~I see you Ryan: charismatic in personality and faith; your appeal allows you to be a powerful witness to God’s greatness across all environments. One who reaches to the disadvantaged first with strength and empathy.
~I see you Makayla; bold in faith and healing words; you were set apart by the Lord of Heaven’s Armies when time began. Eyes are upon you as you lead with Christ-like boldness. The enemy trembles for you proclaim our mighty God who lives in you and you use the sword He gave you.
~I see you Drew; magnetic in Christ; you walk with purpose and integrity. The soul of one who is gentle yet courageous will bring others to Christ. The light in you will dispel any darkness around you.
~I see you Madelynn; greatest advocate for those in need; you carry the burdens of those around you like a veteran counselor. Despite the trials and stones, your God-given empathy and mercy allow you to walk through fiery darts without getting burned.
~I see you Cruz; captivating in Spirit; your Spirit radiates even in the brightest of rooms. People are drawn to the light and you carry Christ with purpose. Go, therefore, and make disciples for you walk with a missionary’s heart in dark hallways.
~I see you Ashlyn; evangelical in Spirit; your heart (mind, will, and emotions) are tuned to Holy Spirit and your feet simply walk where He tells you. Your mouth utters what the Spirit whispers and fear is not in your vocabulary. The Father smiles upon His child as you stand in boldness proclaiming to the masses.
You see, the world wants us to believe that there is no more hope. My hope is not in this world but in the Lord. Therefore, we have GREAT hope, and our youth are boldly proving His power, worth, and love. Above all…know that God loves you! You are not alone. That red-headed teenager in the picture above struggled with rejection and knew how to hide it. It’s time that we encircle our youth and disciple them, encourage them, and cheer them along in this dark world. Why? “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.”
Lesson: If you struggle with rejection or loneliness, memorize this Bible passage and ask Holy Spirit to manifest this verse in you today and every day. You are NOT alone. Reach out to your pastor, counselor, small group, or lifegroup today.
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