This is from a dear friend and solid believer in Christ. I hope you are encouraged and help your teens find the alternatives to friday nights!
The football game is over, you aren’t tired and don’t want to go home. It’s only 10 o’clock so you ask your friends what they’re up to. You already know the answer but hope they might be doing something else. “The party is at Todd’s, everyone is going. You missed out on last weeks’ party—it was crazy—you should come tonight!”
At this point you have two options— either go to the party or go home. As a non-believer you might not see anything wrong with going to a party where you know there will be drugs and alcohol. It’s a Friday night, why shouldn’t you have some fun with all your friends? Option two is the one of a believer: you know that you shouldn’t go to the party because of the temptation and sin that it might cause.
Some might think there is a third alternative, that it’s okay to go to the party if you aren’t tempted by any of the things in front of you. BUT… what if someone from school that knows you are a Christian sees you there. They might not know you hadn’t been drinking or flirting, causing them to think these are appropriate activities for Christians to partake in. Whether you think it is a big deal or not to go to the party, someone is always watching you. You are a role model for the Christian life style and I hope your life reflects that.
Opting to go home on a Friday night may not seem like the most exciting thing to do. Constantly getting texts from your friends asking you why you aren’t at the party isn’t fun, and thoughts of being left out and unpopular only make it harder.
I claimed to be a Christian my whole life but I didn’t really obey God or invest in my faith until my junior year of high school. I knew that going to parties and drinking weren’t things I should be doing, but I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be the girl that everyone liked, and I thought partying would make me that girl. I was wrong.
I started attending UFC during the winter of my junior year. I didn’t really know very many people, but as I continued to attend almost every Sunday I felt more and more comfortable. Eventually I met Ingrid, Devon and Dave. Ingrid went to my high school; she had a heart for the Lord and was such an encouragement to me. Devon was one of the UFC youth leaders; she came to my basketball games waiting around to say hi, ask me how I was doing and always hoping to see me at church that Sunday. Dave would greet me with his usual; “How’s it going Bro?”, always leading to some kind of conversation. Each one of them took the time to get to know me through little ways that made a huge impact on my life.
Once summer came around I went on the youth trip to San Francisco, really propelling my faith and friendships in the right direction. I became part of a friend group that shared my faith and kept me accountable. My new friends showed me that partying wasn’t important, and that it was my relationship with God that truly mattered. They created a support system for me—in times of both struggle and success they were by my side.
Through this time I learned that I had a choice, and when I chose youth events instead of parties I never regretted it. Without the community I have in the body of Christ and without the friends I have made, my relationship with God would be stagnant. Each day I grow closer to God and I learn of His plan for me.
So here’s my advice from my experiences in high school. Think about what you are doing—at parties, at school, everywhere! Are you being obedient to Christ? If you don’t have a core group of Christian friends, I urge you to find them. If you are having a hard time come to one of UFC’s middle or high school events.
John 17:20-23 says,
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Jesus prays for unity in the body of Christ—that we may be as one. I now pray for you, that you may receive the unity with fellow believers that I have received. I pray that if you haven’t found those friends that God will provide them for you. I pray that the friends you make will hold you to a higher standard and encourage you to invest in your relationship with God, just as mine have. I pray that the next Friday there is a party that you choose the alternative—go to a movie, watch Netflix, or just hangout with your family. Whatever you choose, glorify Him in all you do.