Faith Planning for Teenagers: Developing Biblical Goals for Your Life and Achieving Them

Definition of Goals: statements of desired personal accomplishments in measurable terms

Definition of Plans: methods for the achievement of goals

Many dissatisfied adults became that way because of the choices that they made when they were teenagers. Often their choices were made upon impulse, peer pressure, family pressure, or inadequate information and guidance. Their failure to plan meant that they aimed at nothing, often enough, and fell into tragic situations because they failed to plan and live according to their values. The following examples are based upon real situations:

Example 1:  A Christian girl from a Christian family and a Christian boy fell into sexual immorality on a date. She became pregnant, and they married immediately upon graduation from high school. All their dreams of Christian service were abandoned because of the responsibilities of raising a family. They would have to deal with the guilt and shame for years to come before they truly felt God’s forgiveness. They fell into a tragic situation because they failed to plan on how to hold on to their standards.

Example 2: A young man in high school felt a desire to enter the ministry. His academic record was poor due to his having come to Christ after a time of deep rebellion in which he indulged in drinking, drugs and immorality. He felt a leading to attend a Christian college with high academic standards and high tuition. He abandoned his plans to enter the ministry after his impulsive application was rejected. He managed to enter another degree program at a local university, but he retained a deep bitterness at the experience. For some years afterward he manifested an envious disdain for others in and preparing for Christian leadership. Finally after graduation he entered a parachurch ministry, but the pastorate has still remained outside his reach.

Example 3: A young woman began a dating relationship with a young man who did not know Christ as Savior. There were Christian young men who wished to date her, but she felt that they were all ‘nerds’ and ‘losers.’ She ended up marrying the man, and discovered he was a hard drinker and adulterous. Eventually she found herself divorced, with two young children.

Example 4: A young man began a good job with a good salary. He failed to budget his income and save, so that when he wanted to get married, to find a house, and to have children, the finances were not there, so that he had to work himself out of deep debt at these changes in his life. His marriage and spiritual life suffered because he had not learned to give to God first and to plan his finances to fulfill his dreams.

The Advantages of Faith Planning

  • It provides a definite basis for conformity to God’s Word in all one’s life. 

In the Old and New Testament, the practical application of the Word of God to one’s life is called wisdom. Thus faith planning could also be called Biblical wisdom planning.  The conformity of the life of the believer in Christ to the Word of God is also the definition of New Testament discipleship. Thus faith planning takes discipleship training one step further than the traditional methods so far which have emphasized spiritual disciplines and heart attitudes, to short and long range  implementation of the Word of God in the total matrix of one’s life.

  • It provides a basis for answered prayer by placing one’s aims and intentions in line with God’s revealed will.

The development and exercise of faith in God in all the paths of one’s life is the intention of faith planning, and nothing is assumed to be worth attempting without prayer for wisdom and provision for everything necessary along the way to accomplish Biblically based plans.

  • It provides opportunity for real cooperation with family, friends and fellow believers in the application of God’s will.

No one is ever entirely a self made person. Biblical wisdom also involves real cooperation with others, and the implementation of Biblical plans will also involve their consent, cooperation and happiness. Even more, those in authority in the family, the church and the school are there by part of God’s order for the world, and their advice and consent is part of the proper unfolding of the purposes of God for your life.

Your Goal: Become a Godly, Well Balanced Adult

Qualities of Christlikeness: the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Young Men: make it your goal to become a godly Christian gentleman. “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled” (Titus 3:6).

Young Women: make it your goal to become a godly Christian lady. “Then they (the older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 3:4-5).

A Short Survey on the Sources of Guidance from God

  • The Bible itself
  • The advice of those in authority and godly counselors, such as godly parents and pastors and other spiritual leaders
  • Circumstances
  • The leading of the Holy Spirit

Gaining Cooperation for Your Goals from Others

Cooperation is necessary from someone whose family, spiritual or civil authority you are under: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men . . . Show proper respect to everyone” (I Peter 2:13).

Cooperation with others means the greater power of united effort:

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work.
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls,
and has no one to help him up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm,
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
— Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

Cooperation means the promise of answered prayer: “Again, I tell you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask for,  it will be done for you by my Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 18:19

Cooperation means the power of Christ in Christian fellowship: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” — Matthew 18:20.

Whose Cooperation should you seek?

Your parents:

  • Make the point to them that your happiness is their happiness, and their happiness is your happiness
  • Make the point that they will not have to be overprotective but can learn to trust you as you  develop and demonstrate responsibility and the ability to make right choices

* From your pastor, youth pastor or youth sponsor

* From your teachers and others in your school

* From a friend: Find a friend or two;form a triad or prayer partnership.

The Intellectual Life of Students: Grades and School

Learning is important for leading a satisfied life as an adult!

  • Make reasonable goals for the kinds of subjects necessary for your goals beyond your schooling. Take a variety of courses, since a well rounded understanding of the intellectual life of mankind and a well rounded repertoire of basic skills are of advantage for adult life both on and off the job. For example, literature and music classes give a guide to understanding and appreciation of truth and beauty.
  • Make a reasonable goal for grades in those courses and an overall grade point average. Learning is the ultimate goal, but the grades are the way that the school discovers and communicates to others the reality and extent of what you have learned. Make your goals require growth and development in your study skills and understanding of subject matter. Also make them higher than the minimum needed for your plans beyond present schooling. For example,  someone planning on admission to a good university should seek grades greater than the average of those normally admitted to that university.
  • Put together plans for study to accomplish the task of learning. List the books and study materials that you need. Make a schedule for study. Find a disciplined study partner.

Vocational Goals for Teenagers

Biblical Summary: My job is God’s way to provide for my needs. I need to trust his guidance and follow his will to expect his blessing in my work.

Work in itself is good, and it is part of God’s purpose for mankind. Adam had the job of taking care and keeping watch over the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15).

Biblical promises: ask for God to guide you to the right career paths. Claim his promise of wisdom in answer to prayer.

Biblical commands:

Understand that God expects loyalty to those in authority on the job and diligent effort on the job.

Investigate the possibilities, and allow that God’s guidance may come through the counsel of others

1. Talk to a variety of adults about their careers. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like about what they do for  a living.  Ask what it takes to succeed in their chosen field.  Write down the names of  some people you know in whose career you have some interest. Talk to them and find out if you can visit them on the job as well.

2. Aptitude tests and other vocational testing can assist in understanding your capabilities and your interests. Your school guidance office can help you to find what would be suitable for you. These tests are not to be followed naively, though.

Career Direction Decisions and Goals:

  • Make your goals general and flexible. Many change career goals and paths throughout their lives and especially during the time of preparation.
  • Make career goals in accord with goals for your education.

Dating Goals for Teenagers

The ultimate, long range purpose of dating is to learn about the opposite sex for the selection of a suitable marriage partner. The short range purpose is to enjoy someone of the opposite sex while having Christ honoring clean fun! Biblical boundaries must be learned and put into place early to avoid wrong and impulsive decisions later; many dissatisfied adults, who struggle with guilt, shame, unfulfilled dreams, and difficult, dissatisfying and broken marriages,  can trace the path to their situation through unwise, rash and unBiblical decisions made in their dating life.

  • The Bible declares that the proper place for sexual involvement is marriage. The proper boundary then is to wait until then, and limit physical affection to brief kissing and hugging.
  • The Bible declares that believers in Jesus Christ are not to marry intentionally someone who is not committed to Jesus Christ. Therefore the believer in Christ is not to engage in steady dating with anyone who is not definitely committed to Jesus Christ.
  • The outside culture, teenage friends,  and sometimes unthinking relatives and parents encourage one on one dates and steady dating relationships too early.  Before age 16 it is wise to limit dating contact to group dates, talking on the telephone, and recreation with each others’ families.  This limit gives opportunity to develop and adhere to personal standards about premarital sexuality, drugs, smoking and drinking, etc. , and proper courtesy towards others of the opposite sex.
  • Often teenagers enter and prolong steady dating relationships during their high school years for the wrong reasons. Seek to date around before committing to one person steadily. Generally it is best to avoid relationships longer than six months (a year probably should be the absolute limit!), to allow each other to learn about others as well.
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