Wednesday night I had the chance to speak to the youth ministry students at 1st Baptist Church in Minneapolis. I spoke on the topic "Why I Need Jesus..." and I specifically focused on our need for Jesus when we feel lonely.
Loneliness is a very real emotion for teenage students. The pressure of wanting to fit in with their peers is great, and what too often happens is students compromise their faith beliefs in order to feel accepted and avoid loneliness. I wanted the students to hear that Jesus accepts them exactly the way they are, without need or pressure to compromise. Jesus loves us so much, just as we are, that he sacrificially died on a cross for us. There is nothing we do to earn or to keep God's love.
The antidote to loneliness lies in 2 acts of the human will:
1. Begin a real relationship with Jesus Christ
2. Build your life on his acceptance of you, not on the acceptance of other
This a message that we as adults need to hear as well. We seek the acceptance through all kinds of behaviors instead of seeking intimacy with Christ. Continually seeking the acceptance of others is like climbing up the rungs of a ladder higher and higher through our own efforts only to repeatedly slip and fall down to the bottom again and again. It is an exhausting, painful, losing battle.
However, when we find our acceptance in Christ, we have security that we will never be abandoned or forsaken. Beginning a real relationship with Jesus and building your life on his love is like turning the ladder horizontally and simply walking across the cross of Christ into the arms of God. Here all striving will cease and there will only remain peace and joy.
You can download and read my message outline, here.