1. The pursuit of pleasure can lead you places that you do not want to go. All humans are pleasure seeking missiles. It is how God has wired us. Who in their right mind does not want to be happy? When I turned 18 I began seeking pleasure in the wrong places and it almost cost me my life. You can check THIS out if you want to learn more about my story. Here is the truth of the matter. You were made to be in a relationship with God and only he can truly satisfy the deepest cravings of your heart. There are a world of substitutes for God but all of them lead to pain and heartbreak. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” -Augustine
2. You do not need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be happy. The people who are never happy unless they have a “significant other” grow up to be people who have serious issues. Their story is all too common. Relationship after relationship and a bunch of bad stories. Don’t be the guy or the girl that believes that life is void of meaning and purpose unless they are dating someone. If you want to watch a true story of a young lady who tried to fill up the empty spaces of her life with relationships then watch THIS.
3. The most important thing about the person you date (or end up marrying one day) is that they love Jesus more than you. Common interests are good. Being able to laugh together is nice. If you become the most important thing in the life of the person you are dating then they have made you into an idol. Eventually they will discover that you can not meet their deepest needs. Which leads to disillusionment and the end of the relationship. First and foremost look for some who is passionately in love with Jesus.
4. Get to know and befriend those who seem left out and alone. In high school I spent the majority of my lunches in the high school bathroom hiding because I was terrified of going into the cafeteria. Why? I was incredibly shy and did not know anyone. It’s not hard to understood why this led me to hate high school. It would have meant the world to me to have had someone reach out to me and bring me into their circle of friends. One thing to keep in mind. Sometimes the people who are hurting or feel alone put up a facade that they are OK. It’s just how they have learned to get through the day. You will have to push past those defenses if you want to get to know them. Who can you reach out to? Your friendship could seriously change their life.
5. Forget about being cool. Instead, be remembered as a person who loved others. I don’t even know if teens use the word cool anymore. In the 1980s being cool meant that you were popular. It is way overrated. The two greatest commandments in all of scripture are to love God and to love others. Make it your ambition in high school to love others well.
6. Develop a devotional life now. Everything that I am writing about here is impossible if you are not developing a meaningful relationship with God. Your heart and life will only change as you are growing in your love for Christ. Another thing to keep in mind. There are alarming statistics about Christian high school students going off to college and walking away from the faith. Here is the number one reason that happens, a lack of love for Jesus Christ. Make it a priority now to pursue Christ with all of your heart.
7. Be involved in church now and in college. It’s great if you have and hang out with some Christian friends at school. In fact, I think that is very important. What you need to know is that Christians are part of the family of God. Being a part of a church that is passionate about Jesus Christ will help you grow in your faith. I would encourage you as you head off to college to get connected with a local church. Parachurch organizations (CRU, Intervarsity) are great, but God has called us to be in fellowship with others in the local church.
8. Your parents love you more then you will ever know. I would gladly lay down my life for my kids. No exaggeration. Your parents feel the same way about you. Work on building your relationship with your parents. Open up about how you are feeling and what you are thinking. You may be pleasantly surprised when it comes to all the wisdom they have and are willing to share with you.
9. You need to be on guard against wasting large portions of your life with your phone and social media. How many hours a day do you think you spend on your phone? Some studies say that teens spend nine hours a day looking at screens. You need to be aware that your phone and technology are shaping you more then you know. Our phones often times distract us from the real world and from real relationships. So what do you do if you sense that your phone and technology are becoming too important to you? It’s really not enough just to put your phone away. You need to replace it with something better. “True freedom from the bondage of technology comes not mainly from throwing away the smartphone, but from filling the void with the glories of Jesus that you are trying to fill with the pleasures of the device.” -Tony Reinke, “12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You
10. Enjoy the days of your youth. Man, enjoy these days! I look back with way too many regrets about high school. Don’t worry about what others think. Discover who you are and embrace it. Laugh a ton and enjoy these days because they go by so fast.