1. Be Involved in Your Youth Group
One of the greatest opportunities that are afforded to you right now is a church youth group. I have been involved in several over the past few years. While I was a teenager I was in Liberty Baptist Church’s youth group, while in college I ministered for three years in the youth group where I went to church, and now we have a youth group in the church that I pastor at Southern Hills. What is amazing about youth group is that you have a youth pastor who loves you and prays for you. There are amazing activities like Winter Retreat, Summer Camp, and Youth Conference. There is a spirit of love that encourages you to live right in a world that is encouraging you to live for yourself.
2. Read Your Bible
One of the greatest habits you can begin now is the habit of reading your Bible every day. I can tell you from personal experience that if you start reading your Bible for fifteen minutes every day while you are a teenager it is a habit that will easily continue throughout your entire life. You will be glad that you started this habit in your teen years.
3. Obey Your Parents
Just because you are now a teenager and no longer in grade school doesn’t mean that Ephesians 6:1 doesn’t apply to you. In fact, I would say that it might apply more to you today than ever before. God has given you a mother and, if you are fortunate, a father to help guide you in a healthy direction for your life. Take advantage of the gift of God and love your parents enough to obey them. They are God’s gift to you.
4. Do Well in School
School is not a joke. What you do academically over the six years between 7th and 12th grade will determine much of the outcome of your life. Feel the pressure? Good! How are your grades? Your grades will determine what college you get into, and how well you do in that college setting will directly impact your financial future in many ways.
Please don’t tell me about Bill Gates. I know about Bill Gates, and he would tell you to go to college. The fact that he dropped out and became wealthy is the exception not the rule. The rule is those who drop out do not have the advantages of those who finish college and go on to graduate school. Do well in school now so that you can do well in college.
5. Read, Read, Read
I love television. I love movies! I love video games! Really, I do. When I was a teenager I was a gamer and knew more movie trivia than most of my friends. But the thing that I began to love as a teenager that actually brought benefit into my life was reading. Start reading! Informational books, fictional novels, non-fictional historical books, and biographies are all wonderful resources, and those who learn to love to read as teenagers will carry that love with them throughout life. Read, read, read!
6. Start Looking into Colleges
It’s never too early to begin looking into colleges. There are many great colleges out there, and it might be difficult to choose so I suggest you: ask your parents their opinion, ask your youth pastor his opinion, and begin doing some online research.
7. Dream about the Future
Stop thinking only about today. You have a bright future, and you need to begin thinking about where you are headed. I suggest if you want true fulfillment in life, you begin by asking God what He would have you to do with your life (2 Corinthians 5:20).
God is the one who created you, and He created you for a specific purpose and plan. Seek the Lord and He will guide you into your unique calling. This does not mean that you will automatically be called to Africa to be a missionary to the lost tribes of the Congo. What it does mean is that you will begin to feel God’s pulling and prodding into a field that He has created you to be an ambassador for Him. Dream big and let God guide you into whatever field He desires for you.
8. Pick a Major
Once you know what God would have you to do and the direction He is leading you in, pick a major. Determine now what you will want to study when you arrive at college. Perhaps, engineering, graphic design, science, medicine, law, history, or Bible. Pick a major that you can actually use to find a real job. Majoring in French artists of the 16th Century might not get you a job in this life. So pick a major that can get you a job in the field you feel God is directing your life.