It’s easy for our minds to drift when we hear God’s Word, but it’s important to tune in.
Rebekah M. Stahmann
We’ve all been there: sitting in the pew early on Sunday morning using all your strength to keep yourself from nodding off for the fifth time during the seemingly eternal sermon. No matter how hard you try to listen, the words coming from the pastor’s mouth sound like nothing new as he repeats the gospel message you’ve heard hundreds of times before. And not only do you have to stay for the entire service but you also have to sit through another entire Bible study based on the book of Deuteronomy, which is just so BORING for you as a teen.
Sure, your love for Jesus is strong and your faith is the most important thing to you, but sometimes as a teen it’s just so hard to connect to the material being taught to a church that’s primarily filled with those who are much older than you.
As the 17-year-old daughter of a pastor and Lutheran school teacher, I get it. Taking sermons and devotions to heart can be extremely difficult if they don’t seem to correlate to our everyday lives as teenagers. Sometimes as a teen, it’s hard to relate to the old biblical teachings that we’ve been hearing for years and years. You know how the saying goes: “In one ear and out the other!” Truly tuning into the words being spoken to us can be challenging and frustrating.
Through my personal struggle with paying attention during church and connecting the words to my life, I’ve come up with some ways to take God’s words he is preaching to us truly to heart.
When we prepare our hearts for worship, our number-one focus should be growing in our faith and relationship with God. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the one doing the work, and it’s not all about us. The time we have to study God’s Word and reflect on it is precious, and we should never take it for granted, no matter how tired we are from staying up late on Saturday night.
I’ve heard that advice so often and I’ve tried to put it in practice. When I sit down in the pew on Sunday morning, I take the time to tune into the words and focus on the message that the pastor feels is important to share. That message is for me. Remember that God is speaking through his called servant, and he wants us to listen.
Believe it or not, this same problem was very much present during biblical times as well. The most obvious example was in the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus was preparing for his betrayal and death. Jesus had instructed his disciples to keep watch and pray while he was gone. The disciples, like us, were sinful and gave into the temptations of falling asleep, not unlike the occasional dozing off during church. Jesus quickly rebuked them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Jesus gives us many opportunities to study his Word, which we should willingly hear and learn. His words are there specifically to help us in our everyday struggles of life. Remember regularly to tune into the sermon or any other Bible study you might attend. The words have been prepared for your benefit.
Ask God to bless your studies and keep your mind alert, even after those Saturday night Netflix marathons.
Rebekah Stahmann, a 2018 graduate of Arizona Lutheran Academy, Phoenix, Arizona, is a member at Salem, Scottsdale, Arizona.
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Author: Rebekah M. Stahmann
Volume 105, Number 8
Issue: August 2018
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