The Lord has placed authority figures in the lives of teenagers to correct, protect, and direct them. Regrettably, many young people bristle at the thought of someone other than themselves knowing what might be best for them, subsequently hardening their hearts to any needful reproof or guidance. And while illustrations of this contempt of authority—whatever authority that may be—copiously dot the recorded history of man, it seems as if harboring this attitude of disdain and distrust is not only characteristic of twenty-first century society but also fostered. Rather than turning to an authority figure (a parent, a pastor, a pastor’s wife, a youth pastor, a youth pastor’s wife, a Sunday school teacher, a Christian school principal or teacher, etc.) for counsel, young people as well as their older contemporaries position themselves against that authority, dispelling or flouting any form of leadership; even instruction received grudgingly is diced and pared until it bears only the slightest trace of original meaning.
In Hebrews 13:7, we read: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls…” Teenagers, we are commanded to obey authority, those that “have rule” over us; but perhaps there are some of you who genuinely and sincerely wonder why authority should be obeyed and what their purpose is in your lives.
Correction. Much of your success or failure in life depends upon whether or not you allow authority to correct you. You have only lived a fraction, Lord willing, of a long life. You are still learning and experiencing that which those in authority have learned and experienced long before you were born. You must allow authority to correct you in areas where you are weak or need help. Wise you would be to hear and heed their correction and instruction.
Protection. The authority in your life is not there to harm or hurt you; authority is there to help and protect you. For example, near the area in which we live is a field filled with hundreds of sheep. Surrounding those sheep is a chain-link fence which the shepherds have put in place for the protection of the sheep. The shepherds did not put the fence there because they hate the sheep or want them to suffer. On the contrary, they understand that, if the fence were not there, the sheep might wander onto the busy highway and become someone’s lamb chops. The same is true in your lives, young people. Satan desires to destroy you, the world wants you, and your flesh urges you to enjoy the pleasures of sin; God has placed authority in your lives to protect you from these enemies.
Direction. God has placed authority in your lives to point you in the right direction. They have been down the road you are traveling and are much wiser and more experienced than you. Authorities will help you succeed in life if you will allow them to give you direction.
Young people, please understand that authority is not your enemy! Ask yourself, how is your relationship with your authority? If it is not right, then make it right today. If you have had a bad spirit toward the God-given authority in your lives, confess it to the Lord today. Allow the authority in your life to give correction, protection, and direction. This statement has been embedded in my mind since my teenage years and has been true in my own life: “Happy is the man who finds his authority then willingly submits to that authority.”