When Nobody’s Watching
Suppose tonight as you pillow your head after a long day of school, that you are suddenly awakened by the sounds of someone trying beat down the door of your house. As they force entry, you are met by masked men and weapons that are drawn for combat. Fearful and afraid, you are taken captive and led hundreds of miles away from home to a foreign country. Here in this country, sin is not only prevalent, but also encouraged. You are…
- No rules
- No parents
- No church
- No youth pastor
- No Sunday school teacher
- No Christian school
- Nobody to keep you accountable
There are several questions you would have to ask yourself.
- What would you do?
- How would you respond?
- Would your convictions and principles change?
The scenario that I just described is not a fictitious story! In Daniel 1, we learn about the young man Daniel who became a prisoner of war during his teen years. The encouragement that you and I can receive is that, when faced with a decision to compromise, Daniel remained true to conviction. As a teenager, Daniel learned the importance of becoming a teen with principle.
Principle is defined as an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct, or a guiding sense of requirements and obligations of right conduct. Principle is what you are when nobody is watching. Principle is doing the right thing even when faced with circumstances in which nobody would ever find out about your wrongdoing. Principle is what you are when you are alone. Principle what you are in the dark.
Let me ask you, would you be considered a teen of principle? Or do you have another set of rules that governs your life in which nobody knows about?
As we look at our nation, we hear of statistics of young people who seem to be living life without principles. When asked, “What would you do for $10 million dollars?” two-thirds of Americans gave the following replies:
- 25% would abandon their entire family
- 25% would abandon their church
- 23% would be prostitutes for a week or more
- 16% would give up their American citizenship
- 16% would leave their spouse
- 10% would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free
- 7% would kill a stranger
- 3% percent would put their children up for adoption
As I read these staggering statistics, my heart breaks as I think of people living life without principle. As you now enter into the most formative years of your life, you must begin thinking about what is right and what is wrong, and how you are going to respond to the temptation to do wrong. For instance:
- What will you do when faced with the opportunity to drink an alcoholic beverage?
- What will you do when faced with the opportunity to smoke?
- What do you believe about pre-marital relationships?
- What about your church attendance after graduation?
- What about your relationship with the Lord?
As we look at the life of Daniel, we find that there were necessary qualities in his life that allowed him to become a Teen of Principle.
- A desire for right. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:1, “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” Let me ask you, do you have a desire to do what is right? The definition of desire is to long or hope for; to exhibit or feel desire for. May God give us young people today who do not desire worldliness or the pleasure of the flesh, but young people who would have a desire to do the things that are righteous, pure, and holy!
- A decision for right. The Bible tells us in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart.” Daniel made a decision that he was going to be a young person who lived by principle. Have you made that decision? I’m so thankful that when I was thirteen years old, I made a decision with my life that I was going to do right. This does not mean I was or am perfect (just ask my parents), but it does mean that as a young person there was a decision to do what was right. Let me challenge you to make a list of things in your life that you will or will not do. Why? Because you must be a teen of principle.
- A discipline to stay right. Perhaps as you read this, you have a desire to do right, and you have made the decision to do right; now you are at the difficult part—you must discipline yourself to stay right. Oftentimes at a camp, conference, or revival, teens make a decision for God; but three months later, they go back on their decision. When faced with the opportunity to do wrong, discipline yourself to stay right. In the story of Daniel, we find that he was faced with insurmountable opportunities for wrong and to compromise what he believed; yet, because he disciplined himself, he was able to remain a teen of principle.
Are you a teen of principle? If you’re not, it is never too late to become one. Start today by having a burning desire in your heart to please the Lord. Start today by making decisions in your life regarding right and wrong. And start today by disciplining yourself when faced with the opportunity to compromise your principles. Be a teen of principle!