Jesus was able to look at the multitudes that followed Him and see their need. He had compassion and a heart of understanding towards the issues that affected others. In like manner, you can gain inspiration in how to communicate to others with the character and nature of Jesus Christ in light of the issues young women face today. In this podcast, Leslie provides biblical solutions that have the power to effect lasting change in the lives of others.
Leslie Ludy: Hi everyone, this is Leslie Ludy, host of the Set Apart Girl Podcast: Biblical Encouragement for Women of All Ages.
Today’s episode is about the top issues that today’s young women are facing, and the biblical answers they need for those issues. If you are like me, and have a burden and a desire to reach today’s young women for Christ, it’s so important to understand the issues that they’re facing, and be prepared with biblical answers that they desperately need to hear.
To preface this, I want to offer some encouragement about the most effective way to communicate to the young women in your own life. I remember when I was about 17 years old, I had made a decision to not date around and to let God write my love story. And I was very passionate about this new understanding of God’s pattern for relationships, and somebody, one of my friends, asked me casually one day, “Why are you not dating around?” And I saw it as my golden opportunity, and I launched into a fifteen minute fiery passionate lecture about all the evils and dangers of shallow flings, and whipped all these Bible verses. Instead of just humbly sharing what God had done in this area of my life, and sharing the choices that I had made and why I had made them, I turned it into a preaching opportunity. And my friend just kinda looked at me weirdly and made an excuse to leave. It was not effective at all!
It brought me back to that famous quote that says, “Preach Christ at all times, and if necessary, use words.” It’s not that my words were bad, but it can’t just be the truth that we’re speaking. It has to be spoken in the nature and attitude of Jesus Christ with love and with humility. It’s not just about having all the right Scriptural answers that makes you effective when you’re sharing with young women, but it’s humbly sharing how these truths have personally changed your own life that will make you the most effective in speaking into someone’s life.
So as I became more mature in my understanding of how to communicate truth, I began to share stories of what God had done, how He brought me to a place of surrender, and how He challenged me in these different areas. And that made so much more of an impact upon these girls than simply just whipping out a lecture of how the way that they were living was wrong. It’s important to find a balance between conversational sharing and boldly speaking truth.
There seems to be two extremes that we can go to. There’s the conversational dialogue trend that is very popular among some of the more emergent groups in Christianity where you sort of dialogue about your thoughts and feelings about truth – and no one’s ever really right and no one is ever really wrong. That is not what today’s young women need to hear. That kind of wishy-washy approach, where, “I don’t really have the answers, but let’s just all talk about our confusion.” That’s not going to lead them anywhere good – but neither will this preach-and-shout-and-holler and not show any type of humility, love, or the attitude and nature of Christ reach them. It’s so important to be humble and approachable, but also bold and uncompromising in your stand for truth.
Paul sets an incredible example. He said it was not that he had already attained, or been made perfect and then in another place he also boldly says, to follow him as he follows Christ (see Philippians 3:12 and 1 Corinthians 11:1). Boldly speaking truth and preaching are important if done in the nature and attitude of Jesus Christ. One-on-one conversations, the approach of humbly sharing what God has done in your life and interspersing bold truth into those conversations, is what I have found to be the most effective. So, ask God to show you what that looks like in your particular life, relationships, and ministry. Have that humble, loving, approachable attitude, yet be uncompromising and not wishy-washy in your stand for truth.
Issue #1 — God Feels So Distant
Leslie Ludy: So now let’s take a look at some of the top issues that, I believe, today’s young women are facing, and some of the biblical answers that we need to be ready for. First of all, today’s young women, a great many of them, desire to get close to God, but He feels distant and they don’t really know why. And this is even true for girls who aren’t necessarily growing up in Christian homes. A lot of them have a desire to know God, and to hear about God, and to draw close to God, but they have absolutely no idea how to reach Him. And even girls who have grown up in the church often think, “Well, I’ve grown up in the church, but I don’t even know if Christianity is real because God feels distant, and He’s not really answering my prayers.”
Solution #1 — Seek Him & Surrender Your Heart
Leslie Ludy: The biblical solution to this is found in Jeremiah 29:13, which says, “You will seek me, and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” The reason that young women today are not finding God is because they first must be willing to fully surrender their lives, lay everything down at His feet, and cast their gaze upon Him – without being divided, without seeking Him and their own selfishness at the same time. To seek Him with an undivided heart is the only way that young women will truly find Him today. Now that’s not a popular message to be telling young women, but they will always feel that distance between themselves and God until they are willing to fully surrender their lives to Him, and to give Him the best hours of their day. Not to just fit Him into their lives, but truly to build their lives around Him.
That was what God challenged me with when I was in high school, and I said, “Lord, I don’t really know You. I’ve grown up in a Christian home but I don’t even really know who You are,” and that was the message that He spoke to my heart. “Don’t just fit Me into your life, but build your life around Me.” And when I started truly doing that – cutting out all the distractions, and building my life around my relationship with Jesus Christ, then I truly felt closer to Him than I ever would have believed possible. He became a real, active, intimate part of my daily life.
So I encourage you to ask yourself, when have you felt the closest to God, and what were the key heart attitudes that marked that time of your life? Share this with the young women in your life. Give them that vision of something more in their relationship with Christ that they are desperately seeking. Share with them specific ways that you draw close to Jesus Christ with an undivided heart. Share with them how you maintain a surrendered heart, and how that has impacted your spiritual life.
Issue #2 — Attention Seeking
Leslie Ludy: The second issue that today’s young women are facing, is that they’re desperately seeking approval from guys, and they often will give their heart, their mind, and their body to one guy after the next. And in our modern culture, it’s not even necessarily guys now. It can even be same-sex attraction issues. But they’re looking to a romantic relationship to fulfill their deepest needs.
Solution #2 — Finding Fulfillment in Christ
Leslie Ludy: The biblical answer to this is that Jesus has to become their all in all, as it says in Ephesians 1:23. The truth is that none of us will ever find the fulfillment that we are seeking outside of Jesus Christ. Romantic relationships, when they are led by God, can be a blessing and a joy to our lives, but the deepest fulfillment that we are all seeking can only be found in Jesus Christ. And building daily intimacy with Him is the only thing that can truly satisfy us.
So share with the girls in your life how you personally cultivate intimacy with Christ, and how that fulfills your desire for fulfillment and security. How does your intimacy with Jesus Christ personally satisfy your soul? Share with them ways that you draw closer to Jesus Christ every day. What does a quiet time look like for you? How do you build prayer and Bible study and worship into your daily life? And if Jesus is not currently what you’re building your life around, then remember that you really cannot communicate this truth to the young women in your life until that becomes the reality of your life as well.
Issue #3 — The Plague of Insecurity
Leslie Ludy: The third issue that today’s young women are facing is that they are plagued by extreme insecurity, which leads to self-destruction and devastating choices. We live in a society that is constantly sending that message,You’re not good enough. You’re not beautiful enough. You’ll never be this. You’ll never be that… and constantly dangling an unachievable standard in front of young women today.
I remember talking to a graphic designer who worked for a major clothing label, and he said, “There’s no woman who looks like the type of woman you see on a magazine cover or on a billboard. We digitally alter every single thing about her, then put her image up and say, ‘Hey ladies, this is what you need to look like!’” So it’s no wonder that we have a society of women who are completely enslaved and in bondage to insecurity, and have made really self-destructive choices to deal with that insecurity.
Solution #3 — Becoming Christ-Confident
Leslie Ludy: The biblical answer to this is different than what some of us may think. Our typical solution is to want to build up a young woman’s self-esteem, and constantly tell her, “Oh, you’re good! You’re beautiful just the way you are! You have all this goodness inside of you!” And try to get her to feel good about herself. But if you read Ezekiel 16, it’s a picture in Scripture of God redeeming Israel, and it’s also an incredible picture of what God does when He redeems a soul. This is a life that has been cast out into an open field with no beauty, with no goodness, and God rescues this life and adorns this soul, this life with His own beauty. And makes this person, this child, this life beautiful with His beauty. And as Charles Spurgeon said, “There is no beauty in any of us, but what our Lord has worked in us.”
So it is only when today’s young women realize that they are nothing and have nothing outside of Christ, that they can truly experience freedom from insecurity. It’s the opposite from what we often think, but what they need is to understand how to die to self, not build up self. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus says if you want to be my disciple, you must learn to deny yourself — which means to lose sight of yourself, and lose sight of your own interests. I think the example in Luke 7:27-50, of the woman who came and washed Jesus’ feet with her hair is such a profound picture of this because she recognized that outside of Him she had nothing. She recognized how desperately she needed Him, and that without Him she was lost, she was hopeless.
So I encourage you to share with the girls in your life specific ways that you have found your identity in Christ. Don’t just try to build up their self-esteem, but teach them what it means to die to self so that Christ might live through them. And share how dying to self has changed you life. How letting go of your own ambitions, dreams, pursuits, desires, the things you clung to and thought, This is so important; this is what makes me who I am… How has letting those things go, and choosing the beauty of Christ instead of your own goodness, and your own beauty, changed your life? How has it freed you from insecurity? When you share those things with the girls in your life, you will be able to reach them with the message that they really need to hear – the true solution for their insecurity, rather than this false message of self-esteem.
Issue #4 — A Lack of Purpose
Leslie Ludy: The fourth issue that young women today are facing is that they often want to do something meaningful with their lives, but they don’t know what. They don’t know how to do something meaningful with their lives. Most young women today don’t want to waste their lives just sitting on Facebook, and on social media, and watching movies, and doing shallow things; but they don’t really know what they are supposed to do with their lives. And in this country we have this glut of young people without any kind of spiritual employment, and we’ve done them a great disservice to make them think that the Christian life is all about them.
Solution #4 — Pursuing a Poured Out Life
Leslie Ludy: The biblical answer to this dilemma is that we are called to live a poured out life. James 1:27, talks about pure religion and undefiled before God is to visit widows and orphans in their distress. And in Matthew 25:40, Jesus says that what you have done to the least of these, you have done to Me.
So often, girls today are obsessed with trying to find their destiny, their purpose, taking personality tests, and figuring out what makes them special and unique and what they should be doing with their life. But truly, they’re only going to find purpose when they are about their Father’s business:
When they are busy building the Kingdom of Heaven.
When they are going where Jesus goes.
When they are doing the things that Jesus does.
When they’re literally understanding how to become His hands and His feet to this lost and dying world around them.
So I encourage you to help the young women in your life prepare for a purposeful life by reminding them that when they give their lives to Jesus Christ, there are good works that He has prepared in advance for them to do (see Ephesians 2:10). So share with the girls specific ways that you’ve learned how to turn outward, and live a poured out life, and how it has given you a sense of eternal purpose and fruit in your life, and then given them practical suggestions. You’re never too young to start living a poured out life. You can reach out to a lonely neighbor. You can reach out to the elderly in your community.
You can serve your own family at home. There are always ways to turn outward and give and serve, and when young women discover this they will discover that purpose that they are desperately seeking.
Leslie Ludy: So some final thoughts that I want to share with you about the top issues that today’s young women are facing. This is iso important to know; today we are trying to reach a post-modern generation. Which means that if you’re trying to reach today’s young women, you’re speaking to an audience that has a lot of conflicting thoughts in their minds. For example, they might actually believe something like this, “Well, I believe Jesus is the only way to God, but some people can find God through other religions too.” Those are two completely conflicting ideas, but they can exist together in the same brain. That is the post-modern mind that we are dealing with. The only way to break through this post-modern mush is with the unrelenting, undiluted truth of God’s Word. He says that His truth is what sets free. So remember not to just tell young women what they want to hear. Tell them what they need to hear. And when you do, do it in the nature and the attitude of Jesus Christ. Whether they respond immediately or not, you will make an eternal impact upon their soul.
Thanks for listening today! If you enjoyed this podcast please visit www.SetApartGirl.com for more resources on this subject. I pray that you have a blessed and Christ-centered week!