There's no question that today's youth face serious challenges to their faith. I am sure you've heard the confusion regularly advocated by politicians, high-profile personalities, and even the pulpit—confusion about Truth, gender, identity, morality, and more. Believers are concerned for their children, grandchildren, and the next generation. I know I am. But though the world is waging a war for the hearts of the next generation, we can take heart because God has equipped us with everything good to live a life pleasing to Him (see Hebrews 13:21)—a life that blesses others and points them to the only one who saves: Jesus Christ.
How does God equip us to lead the next generation? With His Word: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Similarly, the psalmist questions, "How can a young person stay on the path of purity?" (Psalm 119:9). The answer is likewise rooted in Scripture: "By living according to your word" (v. 9). The younger a person is when they begin filling their mind and heart with the Word of God, the more of His power, His grace, and His Truth that person will experience as they grow up. The younger a person is when they begin to make their heart a home for the Word of God, the more peaceful, contented, and joyful they will be as they walk through this broken world.
"We must work to sow the seed of God's Word and wisdom into the hearts of the next generation."
I cannot begin to tell you how many people I have encountered in my decades of ministry who have suffered awful addictions and destructive behaviors—the inability to relate to their spouse or the inability to just love another person. These attitudes are the consequences of bad seeds planted early in life—habits formed from an early age. But thank God that at any age and at any stage, the Word of God, when it's applied, has the power to purify. So we, as God's people, must work to do just that—to sow the seed of God's Word and wisdom into the hearts of the next generation. Our youth need us.
1. THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS US TO BOLDLY SEEK AND SPEAK TRUTH.
Historical revisionists and progressive Bible scholars are trying to apply their own values and opinions to the Word of God and to historical facts. They remove the pieces they don't like. May we be warned: If we continue on this path, our children and grandchildren will not learn the Truth about the Word of God.
Paul exhorts Timothy, "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. . . . They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:2-4). Sound familiar? This word is for us today. We must not be ashamed of the Gospel, for "it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
Only God's Truth changes lives and unlocks the beauty of our full worth as men and women who are made in His image. We must hold fast to the faith, speak boldly, and humbly model how to seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness.
2. THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS US TO MENTOR AND AFFIRM THEM.
Jesus affirmed His disciples by calling them friends, by commending them on their righteous works and their faith, and by trusting them with increasingly more responsibility (see John 15:14-15; 20:21; 21:15-17). When Jesus affirmed His followers, He increased their confidence. He empowered them to believe they could take on the world. And in the book of Acts, they did—influencing and changing the world for Christ.
This is the kind of attention, exhortation, and commission the next generation needs from us. With humility and love, we can guide our children and grandchildren in the Truth of God's Word and prepare them to be ambassadors for Christ in a hostile world. So, like Christ, let us spend ourselves cultivating relationships with today's youth to build them up and call them to remember, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
3. THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS US TO PRAY FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO WORK IN THEIR LIVES.
The Holy Spirit empowers us not only to understand the Word of God but to obey and live by it. His is the power that helps us do the impossible, believe the impossible, and trust the God of the impossible. So as we walk by the Spirit and model submission to His way in our lives, we must also pray that the Lord would give the next generation His Spirit—"the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [they] may know him better" (Ephesians 1:17).
The more that the next generation draws on the Spirit of God, the more deeply they'll know Him, the lover of their souls. For, the Spirit who gives life can and will transform the next generation from one point of glory to another all the way to eternity, impacting countless souls for Christ by their witness.
NAMING THE NEXT GENERATION
Who is the next generation in your midst? With whom might the Lord be calling you to build God-honoring relationships to impact the next generation—a grandchild, child, youth group, or ministry to at-risk youth?
Make a list of opportunities to serve the youth in your area today and ask the Lord to reveal what steps He would have you take to be faithful to His call to teach His Truth to the next generation.