6 Ways Parents of Rebellious Teens Fight for Faith

That means that all of the people listening to me who know somebody or who are somebody that has sinned so grievously, so long, grew up in such a wonderful home, and threw it away so often, are not beyond the power of the patience of Jesus to reach them. So we preach that to ourselves and we strengthen our faith with that amazing statement of the apostle Paul.

Third, meditate often on the truth that God is sovereign over the human heart and, therefore, is able to put a camel through the eye of the needle, which is impossible. And I say that because when the rich man turned away from Jesus, he did so because he was in love with the world—and you may think that is who your kids are. That is what they have done. They have turned away and they are in love with the world now.

Well, Jesus says about him, “‘How difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were amazed and they said, ‘Who then can be saved?’” (Mark 10:24, “With man it is impossible.” And that is the way a lot of parents feel. They shouldn’t dwell on that. They should dwell on the next half. “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Parents, we must preach to ourselves over and over again in the salvation of our children, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, not with God. All things are possible with God. All things are possible with God.” And he is talking about getting a person who is in love with his riches or his worldliness into the kingdom of God. And he says, “I can do that. I can do that.” I can’t. You can’t. “But I can. So trust me.”

Fourth, focus your attention on delighting yourself in the Lord, not on delighting in the conversion of your children. Now don’t take this in the wrong way. It is right to delight in the conversion of your children. If you don’t, something is deeply wrong. But I am simply talking about what gets the focus in your life.

I am thinking, of course, of Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Focus your spiritual energies on cultivating a robust, deep, unshakable, satisfying delight in God as God. And only then will we be in a position to receive the rest of this verse. “He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Fifth, let the longing, the aching, the praying, the weeping for your children, let the longing that you feel for the conversion and the obedience of your children become the measure of your longing for other lost people. This has been a great lesson to me as I have raised children and how deeply I long for them to follow Christ. And then I wake up to realize: I am not longing for others quite that way. This is a convicting thing. Let God’s good work of producing desire in your heart for the conversion of your children produce a desire for the conversion of other lost people in your life as well.

Sixth, pray. Pray, pray, pray. Jesus said keep on knocking (Luke 11:9). He loves it when you knock. He will never grow weary of the prayers that you would launch his way for your children.  

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John Piper
John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.