For Such a Time as This: Talking Truth with our Teens
“…Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
These were the words of Mordecai challenging Esther, his niece and the queen, with the power she alone possessed to save the Jews in her kingdom. As the wife of the king, who had issued a death sentence on the Jewish people, it was ultimately Esther’s position of influence that led him to renounce his decree. But it took a truth-talk reminder to prompt her into action.
I can’t help but think of these same words, “for such a time as this,” as it relates to the need for Christians to hold fast to the absolute truth of God’s word. If not us, who will speak truth into a culture bent on relativity? Who will stand up for God’s laws so that those who are perishing will see their need for a Savior? Who will proclaim God’s promises of mercy and grace that are ours – all of ours – in Christ Jesus?
Along with the political and legislative changes of 2016 came what feels like to me the end of all credence to the authoritative voice of God’s word in our culture. Of course, the erosion didn’t happen in just one year’s time. Christianity has long ridden the slippery slope of watering down God’s word. But never before have I felt so alone in my beliefs. What troubles me most is that these thin and cushy proclamations come from proclaimed believers.
The fact that non-Christians reject the Word of God as truth is not surprising. But the diminishing belief in absolute truth (and the embracing of a post-Christian worldview by those who identify as believers in Christ) is! And this is exactly what has happened as truth has been redefined. No longer is scripture the authority, but the self-truths of each individual.
So what does this mean for our children growing up in this culture? How can we help them see that truth is not whatever they want it to be? That truth is a person, and the Word of God made flesh? How will they know the Father, full of grace and truth, if not by the power of His word?
For such a time as this: We must not buy into the lie that God’s Word needs to be modified or reinterpreted to remain relevant. No, God’s Word is timeless because His Word – His Truth – is Jesus Christ who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). We need to help our kids be able to confidently place their trust and hope in God’s Word.
For such a time as this: We tell them over and over again the one unfolding narrative of the Bible. The story of a conquering King, promised and sent by God to redeem His people from sin and give them a place in His eternal kingdom. To know this story, our kids must hear and know their own need for redemption, as mirrored throughout all of scripture. Like every murderer, adulterer, tax collector, prostitute, Pharisee, and man or woman in the “faith hall of fame,” we are in the same boat – guilty of sin and deserving of death. Knowing this, their true condition, is the only way they can possibly understand who Jesus is for them and why His grace is so amazing. If we approach the Bible any other way – as a rule book, and instruction manual, or just good advice – we will set our kids up to pick and choose which truths they like and which they don’t, putting them on a direct path to disregard the good news of God’s grace to the guilty.
The purpose of God’s law is to show us our need for a Savior, because we consistently fail to measure up. But if the truth is suppressed and our kids don’t know their true condition, they won’t see God’s Word as his love letter to sinners. They’ll only see it has a list of demands they can never meet. With a Christ-centered view of Scripture, our kids will learn and feel the remarkable truth that they’re loved anyway.
Apart from being confronted with the truth of God’s Word, the world in which we live will never see that life can’t be found in whatever “truth” it chooses to believe. Missing from this point-of-view is the understanding that God’s Truth is all about love and acceptance, and true love can never be separated from hard truth.
Jesus never watered down His message of truth to be more loving and accepting, and yet those living contrary to His word still flocked to him and believed – sinners saved by grace because they heard the truth of who Jesus was for them and knew they needed what He offered.
For such a time then as this: Let’s proclaim boldly and lovingly (to our kids and to the broken world around us) the truth about who Jesus is. The One who came to conquer sin, death, and the devil because He loves sinners like us.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)