Redeeming the Culture

Five strategies from Paul Tripp for helping our teenagers interact redemptively with their culture.

1. Prepare: “The first step is to instill in our teenagers a biblical view of life.” He especially encourages family devotions to have practical application not just imparting of knowledge about the Bible.

2. Test: “We teach our teenagers to critique, evaluate, interpret, and analyze the surrounding culture from a biblical perspective.” I would call this cultural exegesis.

3. Identify: “Here we teach our children to recognize common ground…We want teenagers who have learned to identify with their culture—not agreeing with its interpretations and responses, but identifying with its struggle and humbly acknowledging why these responses seem logical to someone who does not  know Christ and his Word.”

4. Decide: “We want to teach our teenagers how to know when they can be redemptive participants in their culture an when they must separate from it…Calmly help your teenagers learn how to think through these decisions.  Require them to be part of the discussion and thinking process. Many parents not only protect their teenagers from the world, but block them out of the decision-making process as well. In doing this, they leave them unprepared for the myriad of decisions they will have to make as adults.”

5. Redeem: “Here we teach our teenagers to take back turf that has been lost to the world by witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ. Our voice in the culture is ordained by God not just to be negative, not just to be always against something. The goal is to declare positively what God had in mind when he designed things in the beginning, to be part of rebuilding the culture his way, and to proclaim that this rebuilding can only be done by people who are living in proper relationship with God through Jesus Christ.”

Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior

Paul Tripp gives five signs that our teenagers understand and participate in the spiritual battle. While he is addressing teenagers, the list is a good one for all of us.

1. He will have a heartfelt, internalized fear of God…He does what he does not because someone is watching, or out of fear of the consequences, but ultimately because of a deep, worshipful love and reverence for God.

2. Second to fear of God, but directly related to it is submission to authority…If a person fears God, he will be submissive to the authorities that God has placed in his life.

3. The next quality evident in a person who is engaged in spiritual warfare…is separation from the wicked…If a teenager is serious in his desire to participate in the spiritual struggle, if he is seriously seeking to live a life pleasing to the Lord, and if he is living in a willing submission to authorities in his life, then he is going to want to spend his time with people who share his values.

4. It is impossible to participate in the spiritual struggle if you do not have the ability to think through your faith and apply it to the situations of life. What a teenager needs, if he is going to live a God-honoring life, is a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures that allows him to apply its commands, principles, and perspectives to the many different situations that arise in everyday life.

5. The final piece of this goal of focusing on the spiritual struggle is biblical self-awareness…We want to be used of God to produce teens who can regularly examine themselves in the perfect mirror of the Word of God and who can humbly accept what is revealed there.

Why Children Leave Home Early and Unprepared

“I have counseled many teenagers and their parents, it has become very clear to me that few teenagers leave because of the rules. No, they leave because of the relationship. They leave because the relationship with their parents has gotten so bad, so angry, so confrontational, so adversarial that they cannot stand to live under the same roof with them.  Sadly, this happens frequently in the homes of believers.” (Paul Tripp,  Age of Opportunity.)

Five Goals for Shepherding Teenagers

Paul Tripp gives five specific goals each parent should have as they shepherd their teenagers.

1. Focusing on the Spiritual Struggle: Do not allow the seen to trump the unseen.

2. Developing a Heart of Conviction and Wisdom: Teach your children how to obey the Scriptures and to apply wisdom to those places that the Scriptures do not speak directly to.

3. Teaching a Teenager to Understand and Interact Redemptively with His Culture: He must neither reject the culture altogether or drink culture in without a second thought.

4. Developing a Heart for God in Your Teenager: There should be day to day evidence of your teenager’s hunger for God.

5. Preparing Teenagers for Leaving Home: “This is the goal of all those years of parental labor.”