Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stones of Religion or the Bread of Life?

This article was also written in 1999 - but if anything, it's even more true today. I pray it speaks to your heart.

After training at our local Crisis Pregnancy Center I was turned loose! Yes, I finally became a counselor. Now I began to concentrate on message a bit more than methods. - I learned the methods, but they don't rule. The Holy Spirit rules. He shows me as I seek Him how to use the methods He inspired to minister life.

Now I am able to come up for air and "check out the lay of the land." One thing I have been observing is the background of the clients we serve. Many of them had considerable exposure to church as they grew up. In fact, many of them go to church now on a regular basis - some once a week, some more than that. Also, many of them go to conservative, evangelical churches.

This brings up a question: Why are so many churched young people coming in to see if they are pregnant? - Are they familiar with the concept of sin? Yes. Do they have consciences? Many seem to experience guilt and discomfort when we talk about their Christianity in relationship to their actions in the sexual arena. So what's wrong? Why this great gap between knowledge and action? Something's missing in the "diet" they are getting in these churches.

As I seek the Lord, asking Him what each young person needs, there is one thing that stands out above all others - many of our clients don't see their Lord if they are saved, or the Lord if they aren't, as pertinent to the situation they are in. They have been gnawing on religious stones instead of bread. Few of the churched youth I see view Him as the Bread of Life, that is, their best friend in the war against sin - if anything, they see God as an absentee rule-maker who has left us to flounder around.

In light of that, some think what God desires of us is unrealistic today considering what they are up against. They have the morality right, but they don't have support and a plan in place to enable them to say no. Others feel what God desires of us makes Him their adversary, yet they don't want to admit this because many of them have just enough "religion" to know they'd better not charge God with being unfair, even if they think it. Then again, still others feel the religion they were taught as children does not apply to them now - they have been hurt by life, and feel since God has let them down, well... . These things and more they wouldn't dream of speaking out in the church - that just wouldn't be Christian!

Brothers and sisters, this brings me to another question. Do you know what the young people in your church are feeling about the things they have been taught? It is one thing for an eight year old to agree to the truths of the faith, and it is quite another for our teens to agree and act on what they know.

In the context of the young people you know, let's examine things. For starters, do your young people know why God said not to have sex until they are married? - All I can usually get from my clients is that God said it was wrong. Teens today need to know more than that. They need to understand it is wrong because God has a plan for families. He wants them to be solid - parents loving each other, having their priorities right and their marital foundation secure, and working toward common goals. This will be the best climate in which to raise secure, loved, God-fearing children. God says in Malachi 2:15 (New Living Translation) "Didn't the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. ..."

Today because of the breakdown of society, many of our young people don't understand what you just read. They don't have the foggiest idea of how to make their marital foundation solid. They don't even think of God's "rules" in this light, much less know how to solidify their relationships. They don't understand that for a boyfriend to want sex before marriage shows a fundamental disrespect for God Himself, His institution of marriage and family, and the girl he is with. They don't know that God doesn't want women to be used - and that sex before marriage is using a woman (or a man). They don't know that God's purpose for families is to "raise up godly seed" as King James puts it. They also don't know what real love is. Yes, they know Bible verses about love, but they have little understanding. This is why they often don't understand what "using" someone means. They have been trying to swallow stones instead of the Living Bread.

This lack of understanding I'm running into says to me that we adults have dropped the ball. It is our job to communicate our faith in such a way that our youth can "catch" it. What are these young people missing? They don't understand God's relevance to every part of their lives. Why? Relevance comes from knowing Jesus not just as Savior, but as Lord. Our youth must see our lives as He becomes our best friend. Then we will naturally model to our young people dependence upon Him when we don't know what to do and when we are tempted to sin. They will see us dropping our religious facades and getting real - with God and with ourselves. This in turn will have an impact on their lives, because they will see firsthand how to find the Bread of Life.

You may say, "But we have regular times of training for our youth. We have videos about dating and marital and family relationships by Joshua Harris, Garry Smalley, Dr. James Dobson, and Chuck Swindoll. We try to encourage our youth. Surely what is taught is plain. Are you trying to say that isn't what we should be doing?"

No, I think those things (and others I haven't mentioned) are a good start. However, we as the Body of Christ need to recognize that for our youth to walk in righteousness, holiness, and repentance, we ourselves must be doing no less. Instructional videos aren't enough. Our churches must be filled with interested God-fearing adults who are willing to model lives of humble submission to Jesus' lordship, or all our youth will see is religion.

When they look at us, do our youth see self-sufficiency or broken, humble dependence on God? Do they see us seeking God regarding our priorities or "adding God" to an already full life? Are we more concerned about "doing" or "being?" - If we are "being," we will find our eyes will be more open to the gaps in understanding our young people are experiencing today. If we are "being," we also will find our young people themselves will become more aware of the difference in quality between "religion" and true faith, and they will be more open to input. Then these types of instructional materials can be used with great effect.

Friends, the only way our faith, and that of our youth is going to get practical enough for living in today's world is to ask Jesus to be our Lord in every area of our lives. As we do, He will teach us lessons He wants us to impart to our youth through our speech and our conduct. Remember, not only are we responsible to have faith - we also are responsible to impart it. Are we feeding ourselves and our children stones of religion (Mt7:7-11, Lk11:9-13) or the true bread of life? - It's a choice for which we will be held accountable.

1 Great Ideas:

Anonymous Anne said...

Wow Barb, I am blown away by your insight and by the way you communicate it. I have been missing out by not reading your blog! Keep writing.....the Lord is speaking to and through you.

February 15, 2017 6:56 AM

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