Our church recently finished reading Judges and what we saw over and over, and what is even said at the end of the book, was that “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25 NASB). When I read that, it seems eerily familiar. Familiar because that is true of the culture and mindset that we live in today. “Should I sleep with my boyfriend? Well, it seems like the right decision and he might dump me if I don’t, so sure.” “Should I say a crude joke to hang with the homies? I mean, it will make them laugh, and they’ll accept me and of course I want to be accepted, so I think I’ll do it.” “Do I gossip with my girlfriends about Jenny? Pointing out her flaws make me feel better about myself. But I make sure to end it with “bless her heart.” That totally makes it okay.” And the cycle continues. We do what is right in our eyes. We take matters into our own hands and don’t seek our All-Knowing Father for guidance.
I was recently talking with my mom. She’s wise and kind and loves Jesus, so talking with her about faith and what we’re learning is like I’m Anne Shirley soaking up the wisdom of Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables, anyone?). She was telling me that she heard something recently about how it takes only one generation to turn away from God, and only one generation to turn back to Him. I’ve been thinking about that since we talked. The generation of Judges turned from the Lord, and a book later, Ruth turns things around. And look at the blessing she received for her obedience…she’s written into the genealogy of Jesus himself! (Matthew 1:5)
We take matters into our own hands and don’t seek our All-Knowing Father for guidance.
I work at a church and get to hang out with a bunch of great people every Sunday. I’ve especially loved hanging with the 7pm crowd. It’s full of a few hundred college students who’ve kept me young and up way past my bedtime. Some have found Jesus and live their faith out loud, while others are still searching. I would find myself most Sunday evenings standing in the back of the sanctuary praying for those hearts. Praying that they will be the generation that turns back to the Lord and that their obedience will start the chain reaction that our world needs. Please Lord, let this be it! They sing loud during worship, and they sing like they mean it. They end their night with deep conversation about what they learned and the struggles they face. They are honest and transparent. They aren’t ashamed by their sin to the point of hiding it, but share it and seek accountability. When they talk about the Gospel, they speak about Jesus and how they couldn’t have been saved from where they were without His life, death and resurrection.
I wonder… is it this generation that will be the change we need to live in full obedience to God? Will they be the ones who will love God so much that they love others more than themselves? Will this be the generation that will stop answering their flesh long enough to fully walk in the new life that Christ gives?
Sometimes in my conversations with these students I feel like there is something I can offer them, but I find that they are the ones blessing me with their intentional faith. There’s a lot that we can learn from these “kids.”
We can learn to be honest with where we’re at. You don’t have to tell a room full of people, but find a handful of women who you trust and be open and honest with them. Encourage and pray for one another and be intentional to point one another to Christ.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:15 (NASB)
Will this be the generation that will stop answering their flesh long enough to fully walk in the new life that Christ gives?
We can learn to worship God with the passion and reverence He deserves. Don’t worry that the person in front of you during church can hear your off-key singing. Belt it out like you mean it deep down in your soul. Don’t be afraid if you raise your hands that you’ll draw attention to yourself. Posture yourself in a way that shows that you want to give everything to the Lord and that you need Him.
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. John 4:23 (NASB)
Mentor someone! Mentor one of those college-aged girls! They long to be discipled and poured into. You don’t have to have it all together, or have your Master’s of Divinity, just read your Bible, seek the Lord and allow Him to work through you. Growing up, I was mentored by a woman who took me with her. What I mean by that is she would call me and see if I wanted to spend time with her. She’d pick me up and I would go to the store with her, or I would go over to her house and fold laundry with her. It didn’t have to be something that was added to her already busy schedule as a mom. It didn’t have to be coffee shop, look into each other’s eyes and share in “how’s your heart” kind of talk. She just took me with her and was intentional with that time to have good, Christ-centered conversation. She wasn’t just pouring into me through conversation, but she modeled what a good wife and mother look like.
We need to rise to the occasion and get in the mess.
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:1-3
Will you join with me in praying for this generation? That they would be the ones who boldly step out to obey Christ and make the difference our world desperately needs. That as they lean into the strength and courage only God can give, they would rally the rest of us to join them, passionately spreading the Gospel across this earth.
And for the rest of us, we need to rise to the occasion and get in the mess with them! We can sit and watch them live boldly for Christ, or we can stand shoulder to shoulder with them to turn this world back to Christ. We can tell our neighbors, coworkers and friends about our Savior and live a life that reflects Him. We can stop living as though we are still slaves to sin and fear, and instead live in the fullness of NEW life that Christ has given. Remember, it took one woman, Ruth, to turn things around. Could you be our modern day Ruth? Let’s be the change that our world so desperately needs, and let’s start now.
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks. Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob. Psalm 24:6
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