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 Vol. 5, No. 2 

February 2003

Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*

~ Page 16 ~

Teaching Teenage Girls,
You Must Have the Answers

By Marilyn LaStrape

In the account Jesus provides us of the five talented, two talented and one talented man, we are taught that all of us have at least one talent or ability that is to be used in God's service. It was made clear to me years ago that one of the talents he had given to me was the ability to teach.

Of all the ages that I have taught over the years, the teenage girls were my favorite because I had experienced many things that they had not, and they needed to be taught what God's Word said about the issues of life. I emphasized that "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3, NKJV), teaching them there was no situation in their lives they would encounter that was not covered in principle in the Book.

I taught this age group in the mid-1980's; the girls were ages 13-19, and the most challenging questions came from the ones 16-19 who were dating and thinking about getting married. One class period one of the girls asked, "Who took care of Jesus while he was on earth?" We had been discussing the statement Jesus made when he had said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" (Luke 9:58). We read the account in Luke 8:1-3 that names several of the women who took care of Jesus from their substance. I was able to make those Scriptures "come alive" by asking them what they thought it would have been like to have the honor and privilege of literally serving our Lord. They were further challenged with the thought of thinking about whether or not these women ever had to strongly discuss whose turn it was to have Jesus in their home!

We should never pretend to know when we do not know and I found this to be particularly true in teaching teen girls. Sometimes the subjects would be so intense, especially the ones revolving around dating, sex and marriage, that I REALLY had to have my scriptural references together in order to show them; and showing them meant book, chapter and verse - not what I thought! This challenge was most apparent when we studied marrying a Christian. The congregation that we attended was only a few miles away from the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, California. Young single Marines were a "constant" as they were transferred to and from the base regularly. Naturally these young men had the attention of some of the teen girls, but most especially the ones that were juniors and seniors in high school. Inevitably, some of them would end up dating, "falling in love" and wanting to get married before the young Marine was transferred to his next duty station.

One year there were several girls that would be graduating high school within a year or less. After observing some of these whirlwind romances and marriages, I knew it was time to give the girls a class on Christian marriage. A 13-week class soon followed, and as the class progressed, some of the questions they would ask were transparent giveaways to where the girls were emotionally. They knew and believed what the Bible said about marrying a non-Christian, but somehow they wanted or needed validation from me in someway to tell them that it would all work out. They would even cite 1 Corinthians 7:13: "And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her let her not divorce him." They were never given any encouragement remotely akin to violating Scripture on this issue. I would have them go back to that same verse and point out that the optimum phrase in that passage was "has a husband who does not believe, not fiancÚ or boyfriend. They were taught that if they chose to marry a non-Christian, they would suffer the consequences of that ill-fated choice because none of us can "fly in the face" of God and expect to get away with it! Paul said it best to the Galatians when he said, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

We studied a variety of subjects and discussed virtually everything from relationships with parents and siblings; being that salt, light, and fragrance of Christ that is to be left in every place; responsible dating practices; sex and pregnancy before marriage; careers versus keepers at home; edifying communication -- just to name a few. Always being ready to give an answer was the watchword for that class!

The distinctiveness of the church was a subject that was addressed on a regular basis throughout the time I had this class. The girls knew that just going to the weekly services, just praying daily, just giving of their means, just reading the Bible daily, just doing good for others and just being a nice person was not going to get their names written in heaven. They had a clear understanding that obedience to God in EVERY aspect of their lives was imperative because Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). They understood that God's Word had to be embraced by faith and they had the choice of either accepting or rejecting that truth, but they could not ever change it.

A couple of these girls and I have stayed in touch over the years. They both married Marines and now have families. I am proud to say they are both still faithful members of the Lord's church! One of these women wrote an article for the Christian Mirror website for a Mother's Day contest sponsored by that website last year. She won second place based on the article that she submitted about me being her "spiritual" mother and teaching her what being a Christian was really all about!

We must redeem the time that we have with our young people. Our greatest spiritual legacy is to leave an example they can follow. Our young people need to understand that they too must always be ready to give an answer with boldness, conviction and no hesitation. God's Word demands nothing less! "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word" (Psalm 119:9).Image

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