THE CHALLENGE TO CHANGE!--By Maria--To "Lay Aside Every Weight" & Open Up & Communicate! Maria #145 DO 2680 12/90
1. Although most of you Teens & JETTs have been in the Family all your lives, & many of you adults for several years of your lives, we realise that some of you have not had much of an opportunity to really participate in this Revolution for Jesus & fully experience what it's all about! This is why we're now issuing this new challenge to have a real Discipleship Training Revolution; so you can experience the same thrills, excitement, fulfillment & joy that we did when we were "Teens for Christ" in the early days of our Family! We want to show you what this Family is really like!--Or what it should be like! And we hope that you will catch the vision & see that you can play an important part in helping to make it what it should be!
2. Maybe some of you haven't always been given such a good sample of what the Family is supposed to be like. There might be some things in your life that you may look back on & wonder about: "Well, I don't think this was right," or "Maybe that wasn't right." Some of you may even feel like, "Well, I was mistreated, I wasn't given what I needed, & that's why I've now got problems today!--It's not my fault!" Well, it may be true, your Shepherds or parents have probably all made mistakes, your teachers have made mistakes, & of course, you have made mistakes too!--Everybody makes mistakes!
3. But just because others weren't always the best of samples to you in the past, or made mistakes with you in the past, is no excuse for you to hang on to your problems today! When you grow up & begin to really mature spiritually, then you no longer place the blame for all your problems on others, you begin assuming that responsibility yourself. The Word says, "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God!"--Rom. 14:12. The time comes when you've simply got to "lay aside every weight" from the past so you can begin earnestly running the race for Jesus.--The race that He expects you to run! (Heb.12:1.)
4. "But," you Teens may say, "my parents had a separation, & I don't think it was right! It hurt me & that's what caused me to become bitter & to have my problems!" Or, "I had to go to a System school, & I made some really bad friends there, & they influenced me in a very negative way, & that's what's caused me all my problems!" Well, even if some things happened in your life that were difficult & a very big trial for you, God's promise is still true, that "all things work together for good to them that love God!"--Rom.8:28.--And just because you have been around some negative influences is no excuse for you to remain negative yourself!--Or bitter or self-righteous or critical or proud etc.!
5. Besides, a lot of experiences that may have been very trying for you, could very well have been the Lord's Will, sacrifices that had to be made for the Lord's Work's sake.--In which case, you certainly have no reason to get bitter & discontented & murmur about it! In fact, if you take hardships, sacrifices & trials the right way, & you see the Lord's hand in them & keep your eyes on Him, then you will win great victories out of seeming defeats, & God can use such experiences to teach you very valuable & priceless lessons.
6. But regardless of who or what has seemed to be responsible for your different trials & hardships, difficulties, heartbreaks, etc., you know it's not the Lord's Will that you develop & hold on to serious spiritual problems as a result! In fact, the only one who wants you to develop & hang on to serious problems over such things is the Devil! He's the one who tries to always paint your outlook on your circumstances black & negative, & make you bitter & resentful & rebellious & unyielded to the Lord & to His dealings in your life!
7. Now is the time for us all to "forget those (negative) things which are behind, & reach forth unto those things which are before!--Together pressing towards the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus!"--Phil.3:13,14. It's now time to forget your Shepherds' or parents' mistakes, forget the bitternesses you may feel towards them; forget your teachers' mistakes & your resentment towards them; overlook your Shepherds' faults & any critical attitude you may have developed towards them etc.
8. If you're going to grow & make any real progress spiritually, you've now got to lay aside all the "weights" of familiarity & disrespect & discontentment that you may be carrying, & forgive those who have wronged you or you have wronged, & ask them to forgive you too, & all of us trust the Lord to forgive us all, as we renew our dedication & commitment to Jesus! It's time for all of us to turn over a new leaf & start a new life & start having some radical changes as we join together to truly live for Jesus & be the genuine 110% disciples that He's called us to be!
9. It's time to wake up & "not be ignorant of the Devil's devices" (2Cor.2:11), & realise that he's the culprit who is causing us most of our problems! The Lord wants us all to unite against him as we go on the attack for Jesus!--Not allowing any spiritual hindrances or bitterness or resentfulness towards each other or towards the Lord to burden us & drag us down. We all need to forgive one another as we want others to forgive us, & to repent & get on the right track for Jesus, & determine to follow Him closer than we ever have before!
A Key to Victories: Open Communication!
10. In order for us all to truly unite against & defeat the Enemy, it's important that you Teens & JETTs really work together with the adults at establishing a real link or connection in the spirit with each other so you can try to work out all the rough spots together. You will win great victories when you learn to freely, lovingly & honestly communicate with each other all that's on your heart without fear. No matter how much you may feel that some adults have misunderstood you or reacted negatively to you in the past, we believe that they understand better now & are going to try to do their best to help you bear your burdens & understand the things you're going through. So please give them a chance.
11. Don't be afraid to open up & share your heart! No matter what trials, battles or questions you may have, trust the Lord & your Shepherds, & share it with them, & you may be surprised how much they'll be able to help you sort things out. You'll also be amazed at how much lighter your burden will become once you get it off your heart by telling them about it. Sharing things from your heart with your Shepherds can be a time of fellowship & companionship that will greatly help to strengthen you & help you gain victories over the stumbling blocks that the Enemy tries to put in your path.
12. Open communication takes real work by both parties, but it's well worth the effort to find that there's someone who understands your problems, who cares about what you're going through, who can share your burdens, who you can feel secure with, who can help you with your questions & pray with you for victories, & who knows you well yet loves you dearly. So "to do good & to communicate, forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased!"--Heb. 13:16. PTL! Amen? GBY! ILY!
10) If any of the following incidents or experiences happened to you, which of them would give you a good & acceptable excuse to develop & hang on to serious spiritual problems such as bitterness, resentment, doubt, etc.?
a. Your parents are separated.
b. You were harshly or unjustly disciplined.
c. You felt neglected or not as loved as much as others.
d. Your parents exposed you to too much of the System's influence: School, TV, worldly friends, etc.
e. You were given too much glory & exaltation.
f. None of the above.
11) Honest & open communication with your Shepherds is:
a. Something to be feared & avoided at all costs.
b. A stepping stone to help you overcome any stumbling blocks of the Enemy.
c. Work.--But is well worth the effort to find that there's someone who really understands & cares for you, who will help you through your trials.
12) Has the Enemy ever "weighed you down" with any of these--or any other--trying experiences from your past? Do you feel that you may be having some problems or negative attitudes now as a result of any such incidents? Would you like to counsel & have prayer with your Shepherds about anything along these lines?
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family