A few weeks ago, a young Christian friend of mine turned 13. His mom asked some of us to write out words of counsel for him. Here are things I wish someone had told me at age 13, given in no particular order and no with aim to be comprehensive:
- At this stage, your brain is keyed to memorize things easily. It’s the best time of your life when you should memorize portions of the Bible. Believe me, it gets harder with every passing year.
- You are also at an age when you can study the Bible for yourself. I read the Bible through for the first time when I was 14, and was pleased to see how much of it I could understand.
- Always tell the truth, to people and to God, even about trivial matters. Always. Lying is for cowards and is one of the most corrosive practices in your relationship with God.
- Choose your friends wisely. Don’t run with the cool people, run with the good ones.
- Whatever bad habits you develop now will follow you the rest of your life (I’m thinking particularly of foul language, but the rule applies across the board). Even if you gain victory of them later on, they will never disappear completely, so I advise you to avoid them in the first place.
- Treat women with kindness and respect, beginning with your mother and sisters.
- Don’t just complain about problems, be a person who seeks positive solutions.
- Extend your education, both formal and informal, as far as you possibly can. Read excellent books.
- Seek out people of good Christian character and base your lifestyle on what you see in them.
- Don’t be one of those Christians who just receives blessings; always keep an eye open to help other people in need.
- When you are in a group, look around to see who is lonely; make them feel befriended.
- Finally: You are at the stage when you can fully develop your own relationship with God, and not just relate to him through the church or through your parents. Go to him directly and build a good strong bond.
Happy 13th birthday! Gary