Love in the Teen Years: Don’t Settle for Less

God desires His best concerning relationships

Even though God desires and provides His absolute best for His children, some young people do not understand what that looks like. As a result, they may settle for something less. As a parent, you have been appointed to the position of teaching your child to recognize God’s best in relationships. Praise God for you!

As parents, we should teach our children that those who truly pursue Christ do so in both word and action. Therefore, unity in any relationship will only develop when both participants are striving to follow Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 tells us: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Explain to your young person that a yoke is a wooden frame used to join two animals together so they have great ability to accomplish work. Although he has most likely never seen a working yoke, tell your child that the people in Corinth knew what Paul was referring to: In Deuteronomy 22:10, God forbid His people to plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.  Because these animals belong to different species, the yoke would make one uncomfortable while possibly causing the other to choke or be drug along. This would not be humane treatment of animals, nor an effective means to accomplish their work. However, whenever two animals of similar species are yoked together, their union does not conflict and they are able to accomplish great work.

After conveying this example, explain to your child that God uses this principle to teach us about relationships. The yoke represents the union of two people, or a relationship. Two people both pursuing personal righteousness are united in mind and spirit and, therefore, can be considered equally yoked. As a result, God enables each to compliment and enhance the efforts of the other.

On the other hand, a believer should have little or nothing in common with an unbeliever. Just as righteousness and wickedness have nothing in common, neither do light and darkness. Therefore, a union between a believer and an unbeliever is, according to Scripture, unequally yoked.

Help your child understand that even though there may be similarities between two people (i.e. both like chocolate, rap music, baseball), genuine unity is a result of two people coming together in Christ to live for and serve only Him. Use examples of relationships from your child’s life experience to engage him in conversation, discussing the differences between partnerships centered on Christ and those focused on other things.

Okay, parents, be careful—even if your child has been listening to you thus far, many young people, especially girls, have a sense of responsibility to help others implement change in their lives. If this is the case with your child, explain that genuine long-term change begins in the heart and is, therefore, a work of the Holy Spirit rather than of man. Even though believers are to represent Christ to those around them, they are clearly instructed to avoid entering into bonding relationships with unbelievers. Show your child that God loves us so much that he addresses this issue in His Word. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

What are you doing to instill the desire for God-ordained relationships in the life of your child?