Changed Heart

Our teenagers’ lives are marked by a convergence of realities that often result in sinful behavior. They are fallen and depraved beings, they are at a developmental stage where impulsivity is strong, they believe they can make good decisions, and they are immersed in a peer culture that oftentimes exerts a powerful negative influence. When they fail, we can easily be lured into believing that if their outward behavior suddenly conforms to Godly standards, everything is alright on the inside. As a result, we sometimes fall into the trap of putting a premium on outward behavior, rather than on inward heart change. Jesus reminds us that we should shoot for the heart, not the behavior. When speaking about the Pharisees he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. While it might be easier on us if we demand and receive behavioral conformity from our kids, the reality that bears long-term fruit for the Kingdom of God is the obedience that flows not from fear, but from a changed heart.