November 30, 2017 • Life for Leaders
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.
Through Isaiah, the Lord promises that his words will be “on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever” (59:21). This promise, once given to Israel, speaks to one of the deepest yearnings of our own hearts. Those of us who care about children, whether they’re related to us or not, want so much for God’s words to be on their lips and in their hearts. We ache for the next generations to know the Lord, to walk with him, and to be guided by his truth.
Though younger people in our society do show considerable interest in “spirituality,” this doesn’t necessarily extend to orthodox Christianity or the church. Surveys show that the next generations are increasingly negative about the church and its teachings. Many have left the church because of their own experience of its hypocrisy and judgmentalism, or because they have felt excluded from its common life.
If we want God’s words to guide the lives of the next generations, including our own children and grandchildren, then we need to commit ourselves to this goal. It will impact how we live each day and how we function together as the church. It will require new authenticity, openness, and integrity. We have no more important calling than to pass on our faith to the next generations.
P.S. – For years, my colleagues at the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) have been helping Christians to live out this calling with wisdom and effectiveness. Their unique research has been captured in two recent, excellent books, Sticky Faith and Growing Young. If you want God’s Word to live on the lips of the next generations, I would encourage you to check out these amazing resources. As you know, I don’t usually recommend books in my Life for Leaders devotions. But the work of FYI is groundbreaking, and I’d like you to be familiar with it. You can learn more from their website.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How are you impacting the faith of young people in your world?
What can you do to live in such a way that the next generations are drawn to the Lord through you?
Gracious God, today I’m praying for the children of the church and the wider world. May your words be on their lips and in their hearts. May they know your Word. May it shape their lives, inform their thoughts, and guide their actions.
Help me, dear Lord, to speak and live in such a way that the next generations are drawn to you through me. Forgive me when my words and deeds don’t match. Use me to reach out to youth and young adults with love and grace.
Help your church, Lord, to connect with younger generations. May we do this, not simply as a program to build our churches, but as a way of helping young people to know you, to love you, and to live with kingdom purpose. Give us all the courage to live out our faith with authenticity. Help us to be open to change, even change that makes us uncomfortable. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: What We Want for Children
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.