Teaching Teens To Recognize God in Their Day-To-Day

Beautiful wild colorful butterfly resting on plant. Insect macro.

Gently taking the bottom off the two-liter, it was easy to explain God to my then six year old son.  With anticipation and a little sadness, we released his butterfly into our flower garden hoping it would stay close at least for a few days.  Matt had watched this creature grow and mature through each stage of metamorphosis with the expectation of a beautiful butterfly.  We weren’t disappointed.  As wings unfurled, we recognized with excitement, it was all we had hoped it would be.

For me

a God teaching moment with my son.

By the time our kids become tweens and teens most of us want more for our kids.  We are confident that they know about God, but our real desire is for them to know God.  We want them to have a desire to spend time in their Bible, choose obedience, and have a relationship with Him.

Sometimes we fall into the habit of nagging them into our idea of what it means to walk with God.

Did you read your Bible today?  check

Did you say your prayers?  check

Did you ask God to forgive you for calling your sister a bad name?  check

But what about showing them how to think about God and His involvement in their day-to-day lives?

Years ago I heard a radio program called Chapel of the Air by David and Karen Mains that took families on a 50-day Spiritual Adventure before Easter.  One year, this 15 minute broadcast out of Wheaton, IL, ran a series called The God Hunt.  Their program gave me a whole new perspective on how to think about our relationship with God.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

If we can choose to live by this verse and understand that God is sovereign, we can use it to teach our children to truly know Him.  God is involved in our day-to-day life–our success, our grief, our mistakes.  He uses all of it to shape us into the person He wants us to be “according to His purpose”.

So what does that look like in the day-to-day with your teen?  Rather than nagging them to spend time with God, invite them to look at their life through the lens of the Holy Spirit.

The conversation might be something like this…

“I’m so sorry Milan broke up with you last night.  You must really  be sad.”  Then listen, hug, show empathy, listen some more…

When the emotion dies down–“Honey, I know you are really hurting and I hurt for you, but God is in the middle of this.  You might not feel like hearing this right now, but His Word says He works everything together for our good.  I’m not sure what he’s going to do through this, but know that He loves you and wouldn’t allow it unless he has something better for you.” More hugs and listening.

or maybe this…

“Chris, I’m excited that you made the team. God has really gifted you.  Now I can’t wait to see how God uses you to be a light for Him there.”

or this…

“John, the way you handled the situation with your sister disappointed me and I know that you hurt her with your words.  Scripture says to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Would you want her to treat you like that?”

“What do you think you might do to resolve this with Stephanie?”  Then talk about what restoration looks like.

God is the midst of our day-to-day as well as our kids’.  By having conversations like these on a daily basis our kids will learn that God walks with them wherever they go.  They’ll learn to think about their day in terms of His desires over their own.

That’s the true basis for relationship!

“Let go…and let God”,


What about you?  How do you teach your tweens and teens about having relationship with Jesus?










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