As teens begin to form their own identities, they may experiment with behaviors that could turn into habits. As early as Genesis 17:1-3, the Bible talks about Abram forming new habits to better lead a God-centered life. The Bible has a lot to say about the habits that teens can develop and offers guidance about breaking old habits, renewing the mind and forming new habits, which you can share in the form of lessons.
Overcoming Addictions and Bad Habits
Because of the gift of free will, Christian teens are not immune to addictions. Explain to youth that addictions can come in several forms, including drug and alcohol, video gaming, caffeine, food and even addictions to social media. While not all addictions are illegal, they can get in the way of a young person’s relationship with God and leading a healthy lifestyle. Share 1 Corinthians 6:12, in which Paul states that while an action may be lawful, it isn’t always profitable so he won’t let anything but God master him. Follow the verse with 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, where Paul says that Christians, like athletes, need to practice self-control in all areas of life. Talk to the teens about the habits and addictions that people their age struggle with, and point out that these behaviors affect more than just those who exercise them. Proverbs 10:17 and 1 Corinthians 15:33 state that bad habits affect others. Discuss different ways to break bad habits and overcome addictions. Provide each teen a list of hotlines and community resources that assist with addictions, as well as a list of encouraging Bible verses about overcoming struggles, with God’s help.
Developing Spiritual Habits
Just as teens may make it a habit to talk to friends on the phone after dinner, they can just as easily develop spiritual habits that deepen their relationships with God. Ask the teens about a time that they had a food craving or were “dying” to buy a certain accessory. Then ask if they’ve ever felt the same zeal for God. Tell the teens that by developing spiritual habits, they can feel excited about growing their relationship with God. Share the benefits of developing spiritual habits such as acquiring wisdom, receiving direction from God and gaining confidence. Then discuss actions that help develop spiritual habits such as praying, reading the Bible, seeking God in their surroundings and spending time with other Christians. Remind the group that repetition is necessary to form good spiritual habits, and review biblical figures who developed such habits, such as David, who regularly studied God’s teachings and stated that he found it delightful in Psalm 1:2.
Using Edifying Language
The manner in which a teen speaks is a habit that he’s developed. Since Christians aren’t immune to using foul language, share James 3:5-6, which states that if a person’s tongue is accustomed to using bad language or putting others down, his words can corrupt the whole body and cause a destructive path. Discuss how foul language doesn’t impress God or others, as it only reveals a young person’s weaknesses. Share verses that discuss God’s will for Christians to use words that uplift others and are gracious, such as Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:8 and Colossians 4:6.
Trust Dictates Habits
Sometimes bad habits form because of a lack of trust in God. Such habits can include fearing the unknown, worrying, seeking approval from others or using destructive behaviors to cope with negative emotions. Share Proverbs 3:5-7 which says that Christians should trust in God instead of themselves. In other words, when a teen makes it a habit to consider if an action or decision is Godly, He will lead the young person down the right path. Similarly, when a teen makes a good choice based on her trust of God, she’ll form a habit of basing choices on that trust, which can help eliminate worry, anxiety and destructive behaviors. Refer to Philippians 4:6-7 which states that God always offers His peace, regardless of the situation.