God shows us how to live. The problem is we would rather have a discussion about it, then do what He says.
There is no middle ground when it comes to being a follower of Christ. For me, contending for my faith has been a process of my obedience. The more I trust and revere God, the more I feel His presence so that I can act on what He’s called me to do. And that is to be a light for His Kingdom.
Obedience to God is not easy while living in a culture whose theology is of self-preservation. I have found that in today’s culture, we avoid risk and call it wisdom. We care more about what we earn in our bank accounts calling this our financial responsibility, our faith. Or we spend thousands on education and deem it as maturity (This was taken from Neil Cole on How to Pilot a New Way).
How does the Bible speak into our everyday life?
Since the beginning of time, God has set His protective boundaries around each of His creations.
Deuteronomy 28 says in that if we keep God’s commands, He will bless you. Most of us have heard these verses:
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8 The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord, your God, will bless you in the land He is giving you.
The problem is, nobody wants to read Deuteronomy 27: 11-26 to understand why God would want to bless such sinners. We stand with our hands out expecting Him to fill them when we’ve ignored Him.
58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this Book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God— 59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.
Doesn’t this last verse sound a lot like our world today? We, over many generations have forgotten to do what God has called us to do. Simply, He wants to be first over everything in our life.
When I choose to follow Christ, I thought God asked me to live an ethical life. However, that’s not all of it. Living right is the easy part of Christianity. The more I studied God’s Word; the deeper God revealed a whole lot more. What I’m blogging is one small example that will make a large impact on our future generations.
When I’ve allowed the culture to take up residence in my thoughts, that is when I turn from God and begin to submit to the world’s traditions, values, and views (Romans 12:2).
We have been called by God to stay, live, and be obedient within the boundaries God had set since the beginning of our history. Proverbs 8:27-32 says, ” I was there when He established the heavens and formed the great springs in the depths of the oceans. I was there when He set the limits of the seas and gave them his instructions not to spread beyond their boundaries… And so, young men, listen to me, for how happy are all who follow my instructions.”
God, from the beginning of time, set boundaries between the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) between darkness and light (v 3). God divided the water between the sky and the water on earth(v.6). Oceans and rivers had boundaries so that the land could emerge (v 9-10). The sun and the stars that created day and night, along with seasons, were divided (v 14-15). Man and woman, God and His angels all had boundaries. Including a single forbidden fruit tree that was planted in the center of Eden.
It was so, and God was pleased and blessed it. God loved His creation of man and walked the earth to be close to him.
Once Adam and Eve stepped over the set boundary God had for them, human sin began. Man lost his identity and idolatry began, and fellowship with God was broken.
In God’s graciousness, He saw that they, His creation, roamed the earth lost. God had compassion for them and spoke face to face with Moses (Deuteronomy 5), giving the human race Ten Commandments. Ten laws for future generations to follow so they would know to revere God.
What is the purpose of these laws the Lord gave? (Deuteronomy 6:20-25). To tell others how we were once slaves (to the culture) (v 20) that He saved us(v21-23). God has commanded us to obey all the laws and revere Him (v24). For it always goes well with us when we follow all the laws of the Lord our God (v25).
Look at us now thousands of years later living fearful with our idols of materialism, living morally bankrupt, and our hope shattered.
Here’s what God has shown me. We, in modern society, have overstepped the boundaries God set in motion for raising the next generation.
When we examine the story of the virgin Mary, and the timing of her engagement, and Holy conception, we will see God’s perfect design for raising God-fearing adults.
First, when Mary found out she was chosen by God to be pregnant, she was willing to be a servant to the Most-High God to glorify His name above her comfort. No matter what others gossiped about her, even if it cost her her life. If you research Mary’s age, scholars claim she was twelve or thirteen when engaged to Joseph.
A few days later, Mary walked by herself from Nazareth to Judea, a twenty-nine-hour walk. She left her home by herself to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant and would give birth to John the Baptist.
Do some digging into your family history. Look back four or five, six generations, depending on how old you are, and see when your great, great grandparents were married. Most likely, around thirteen or fourteen? Then the next set of grandparents fifteen to sixteen? The next…sixteen or seventeen? And so on. Each generation has moved the boundary line to what we claim as expected. Where are we today?
Here’s something else to think about. When a woman starts her period, how old is she? Twelve to sixteen, depending on her body? The purpose of a woman getting a period is for reproduction. The Bible says, “Yes, have many children and repopulate the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 9:7). God doesn’t waste any time with procreation, then why are we wasting valuable childbearing years?
Have you noticed the longer we’ve waited to have children, the more congenital disabilities, illnesses, and health issues children face?
God refers to Adam and Eve as a man and woman, not a boy and girl. In the book of Matthew 21:15-16, children and infants and mentioned together. And Mark 9:36-37 says, Jesus took the child in His arms.
The Bible does mention the word youth a few times. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Timothy is encouraged not to allow anyone to put him down because of his youth while preaching the Good News.
In fact, G. Stanley Hall, President of the American Psychological Association in 1904, founded the term adolescent. This is not a Biblical term and has done more harm to our families and future generations by keeping our children from emotionally becoming adults.
It will take years, if not multiple generations, to undo the mess we are in today. This change needs to be like a transfusion. Baby steps.
For the pendulum to begin to swing in the opposite direction. Let’s start to raise adults and not children. Let’s lose terms like pre-teen and adolescent and use Biblical terms that define the different rolls God discusses in the Bible for children and adults. And then begin to develop a strategy on how to move from adolescent to adult behavior.
This is how God made us to live. You may struggle to embrace this. It’s a “refurbished” idea that sounds risky. But this is how Jesus lived. Ask yourself, can this generation and the next risk anything more in the direction they’re going?
As you pray and begin to empower your children to dream, let them know it’s okay to make mistakes. As parents we worry and over-protect our children. In doing that, we’ve created an environment that expects them to get every decision right. No one will be willing to take a chance. We’ve created a culture that means nothing to be a Christian and seek after God for help.
Our pre-teens and teens and even adults are too dependent on us as parents. We need to shift that dependency to them so they can it figure out. Ask them questions that prompt them in their choices how to depend on Jesus. Without Jesus they have nothing.
Always celebrate the small changes! Encourage your children as you point out the positive changes, like not having to be reminded to clean their room, do their homework or help out next door. Like I said, baby steps. Pray a lot, and ask God to direct you in how to find your child’s passion and take action on it. Change takes time. Other parents will be watching.
Every summer when our girls were in lower elementary school we encouraged them to have fun, but we also excepted our girls to read, and serve outside the home. Our friends didn’t like it. And my husband and I would get some backlash when they’d say, “They’re kids, let them have fun!” Now years later they’re asking us how can we get their son or daughter to be as responsible as ours? My response, ask them what they want to be and help make it a reality.
I believe God creates us with a job already in mind. When we began to pray and reframe how we raised our girls to balance school while pursuing their passion. It taught them quickly how to live in an adult world where they to be respectful, humble, responsible young adults at the age of ten and twelve.
Even Jesus at the age of twelve didn’t return with his parents, but stayed a days walk away with the teachers in the Temple (Luke 2:41-49).
Over the last eleven years, our youngest has worked hard to live out her dream job. Because of this, she wakes up early and stays up late pursuing her passion while balancing her senior year. She makes money, is independent, and confident. She’s seventeen. Her most significant issue is finding a hard-working, God-fearing man that can lead her and not be intimidated by her goals.
Here’s the good news: 80% of people will act their way into a new way of behaving.
When we release our children to become adults, they find purpose and are willing to provide for their future needs, because it’s their passion. This also helps us hard working parents who are overwhelmed. Having to provide for a household of adults who remain living at home as children is not okay. This behavior adds to our nation’s issues of depression, anger, mental illness, out of control hormones, and sex outside of marriage.
We have moved the boundary line so far outside of God’s original plan that we have set our “children” up to fail. How God has created them to be, think, and feel about sex and marriage is normal. However, we’re keeping them hostage because our culture changes the rules to fit our expectations.
Hallelujah, God, doesn’t change. Hebrews 13:8-9, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas.” How comforting to know that our God doesn’t change the blueprints, He ordained for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Let’s begin change today and go where God is calling us to lead our next generation tomorrow.
Bringing Glory to God in everything we do.