A Christian worldview isn’t all our teenagers need. Where can they learn a truly empowering view of self?
My family and I are about to set aside our typical practice of reading a Bible passage and discussing it for family devotions. Instead, we plan to take several months to read, study and discuss the Heidelberg Catechism together.
The catechism is a 16th Century document that guides believers through a biblical, systematic study of the Christian faith in a question-and-answer format. I’ve decided my family could use something methodical like that. When I lead Bible discussions, I too often miss certain important topics.
But there’s also another, bigger reason why I’ve chosen the Heidelberg Catechism. My kids are both middle schoolers, and on my own I’ve struggled to give them answers to key questions middle schoolers tend to wrestle with.
Kids of that age are figuring out their identity. Even the cool ones usually don’t feel cool. Even those who seem to fit in at church, school or with friends often don’t think they fit in. They’re asking questions like: Am I safe and accepted in the group? How does being a Christian make me different? What gives me happiness and fulfillment? Why do I matter? Who am I?
The catechism deals warmly and challengingly with such issues, beginning with its famous opening question that’s rooted in this identity crisis: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer, built on Romans 14:8, says, “That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.*
Who am I? I am His.
That’s a shocking view of self in today’s world, as it surely was for many in the 16th Century. But it is the only answer that puts an unshakeable foundation under the feet of tottering kids—or adults.
Jesus is my only security. Jesus is my only hope. Jesus is my only source of confidence. Jesus is the only way I tap into power. Jesus is my eternal forgiveness and unfailing righteousness. My relationships that thrive, flourish in Him. The good I do in the world, I do with Him. The satisfaction I feel, I feel through Him. The sins I give up, I give up for him. He alone is worthy.
Worldview studies are all the rage for teens these days. Some of those can be very helpful. But kids also need me-view studies. They need to see Jesus, and all they are in Him.
*The Heidelberg Catechism with Scripture Texts (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 1989), 9.