It ain't easy being a teen... and Jackie O. understands that well. Take her sound, faith-filled advice as we walk with God together.
When I was in junior high school, my youth pastor used to lead us in this song:
I've got a river of life flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free,
I've got a river of life flowing out of me.
Spring up, O well, within my soul,
Spring up oh well, and make me whole,
Spring up, O well, and give to me,
That life, abundantly.
It was a reverent and spiritual song, until our youth group got hold of it! We enjoyed taking liberty with hymns and liked to add our own hysterical touches. We'd laugh until it hurt as we sang: (Remember this was junior high...)
Spring up, O well, [Gush! Gush! Gush! Gush!], within my soul,
Spring up, O well, [Gush! Gush! Gush! Gush!], and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, [Gush! Gush! Gush! Gush!], and give to me,
That life, abundantly.
The guys in the band stopped playing long enough for us to spurt out the gushes in a cappella. It was a silly version of the song, but I think it made an impact on me. It helped me remember that God can cause something new to spring up in my life.
In John 4, when speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar, Jesus said, "Will you give me a drink?" (V.7). The woman didn't see herself as qualified to draw water for Jesus and she made excuses. Jesus turned the conversation around from earthly water to heavenly life and said, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (V.10). The woman recognized that she needed the life Jesus spoke about. The Lord continued to share with her, "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (V.14).
Have you ever felt dry and empty like that woman at the well? If your heart is unfilled and drained of the passion you used to have, it doesn't have to stay that way. If your soul is arid and withered, that can change. Here's a promise from God's word especially for you:
"I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs." (Isaiah 41:18, NIV)
The Lord stands ready to touch you right now. All you have do is call upon His name. He can rekindle your passion, restore your sparkle, and cause what has been dry to be refreshed again. The key as you seek God for renewal is found in Isaiah.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." (43:18-19, NIV)
You may be thinking I'm not good enough for God. None of us are good enough. God's promises are based upon His grace, not us and our works. So you see, it doesn't matter what you did last summer! It doesn't matter what you did last night! As you repent from transgression and set your whole heart to follow God, you'll immediately begin to sense grace bubbling up from within.
The flourishing faith you experience as you consecrate yourself to God (separate from sin and follow God's commands) is a spring of life that will continue to stream from your innermost being until it pours out, surges forth, and touches the lives of others. The next thing you know, you'll be the one your friends are texting in-between classes for encouragement. They'll sense that you have something special they need. That something special is Jesus. Don't be ashamed to tell others about Him. Remember He wasn't ashamed of you as He hung on the cross and died.
Interested to learn more? Grab your Bible and read about the joy of the redeemed in Isaiah 35:1-10. As you meditate on this passage, ask the Lord to cause new streams of His Spirit to refresh your life this spring.
~ Jackie O.