Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Think for the Generations

There's more to life than the present.

The Mind of Christ in His Word: Part 1 (7)

I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide
them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the L
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
Psalm 78.2-4

A culture of narcissism
When, in 1977, Christopher Lasch published his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Culture of Narcissism, the truth of his thesis was not as clear to everyone else. Mr. Lasch explained that a chilling blanket of self-interest was settling over the American landscape, and that narcissism – the fascination with self – was showing signs of becoming epidemic.

Who today doubts that Mr. Lasch was right?

Ours is a generation that lives for the here-and-now, and for maximizing self-interest and self-advancement. The increase of government entitlements, the reduction of education to the promotion of economic self-interest, the insistence everywhere on rights, the tsunami of easy debt, bringing with it the flotsam and jetsam of material goods, the pervasive presence of social media, the plague of abortion, the rising tide of divorce and child abuse, and the power of advertising all bear witness to a condition in which narcissistic self-interest has become the prevailing mood.

We are a people who want what we want now, and who show little regard for what might be left for the generations to follow.

Even in the Church, our purpose seems increasingly to be to cater to the interests of individuals, to make people feel good about believing and worshipping, rather than to seek the glory and praise of God as the driving force in our lives and congregations – even if this requires sacrifice, self-denial, or death.

The rising tide of narcissism is lifting all boats in the harbors of the world, and that includes members of the believing community. But even the most cursory glance at Scripture, where the mind of Christ beckons us from every page, reveals that this is not the way we should think about our lives.

A faith for the generations
God leads His people by promises. He holds out for them precious and very great promises, which He calls them to believe in, live toward, and pass on to their children, since the promises never come fully to fruition in any single generation. Realizing those promises requires living sacrificially, denying base self-interest and the tendency to squander wealth, strength, and time on frivolous matters, and to work always for the edification of our fellow-believers, and in particular, for those who will succeed us in leading the work of Christ’s Kingdom (Ps. 45.17).

The mind of Christ looks to the future, suffers the children to come to Him for blessing, commands parents to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, calls us to make disciples for the generations to come, and requires that we deny ourselves as Jesus did, take up whatever our cross may be, and serve others for the sake of Jesus and His Kingdom. The enemy of the Kingdom of God is mere self-interest. And even when that self-interest is cloaked in the garb of Christian spirituality, it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that cares more about the individual and moment than the Kingdom and the generations to come.

Mere self-interest, even in the name of spirituality, is not the mark of a mature mind.

If we will let the mind of Christ inform and shape our thinking, we will renounce all self-interest and devote ourselves to seeking God’s Kingdom and promises now and for the generations to come. Focused on gaining the City to Come, we will follow the example of those heroic saints who have preceded us, and live toward the promises of God for ourselves, our children, and the generations yet to come (Heb. 11).

Some practical suggestions
But what does this entail? How can generational thinking become more a part of our own thoughts and plans? Let me make four suggestions which we find consistently throughout Scripture concerning our commitment to the generations to come.

First, in our churches and in our own lives, we must encourage and support marriage as God defines it in His Word, and the begetting and raising of children as the highest calling of marriage. And we must equip and support parents to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, giving them a vision of the Kingdom and promises of God in ever-increasing fullness. The nuclear family is under serious attack today, and Christians must hold the line against all contrary views.

Second, we must stop treating the education of our children as a perpetual VBS joy ride and begin equipping our children for lives as ambassadors in the Kingdom of God. Even children have a Personal Mission Field, and we should be teaching them how to serve the Lord there, rather than filling their educational time with frivolous activities and meaningless crafts. We must give our children a vision of the Kingdom and their role in it, so that this becomes a hallmark of their minds as they mature.

Third, every believer must strive to set an example of Christian worldview living for young people of every age. That is, we must learn to walk circumspectly, making the most of our time as those who are imbued with the wisdom of God, taking every thought and every moment captive for obedience to Jesus Christ. We must work hard to bring more of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom into every nook and cranny of our lives.

Finally, we must keep growing in the mind of Christ, so that, increasingly, we mature in seeing the world as He does, and making the kind of choices He would, in our everyday calling to follow Him. This begins with daily time in the Scriptures and expands from there to a disciplined life of reading and study in the things of the Lord.

Live this way, and the generations to come will rise up and call you blessed, cherishing the memory of your devotion and your sacrifice, and living for their children as fervently as you did for yours.

For reflection
1.  What opportunities exist in your church for you to serve the generations to come?

2.  How can you support parents and teachers who are raising and serving the children and young people in your church?

3.  What are you planning to do to make sure that you keep increasing toward maturity in the mind of Christ?

Next steps – Demonstration: How is the Kingdom of God faring in your Personal Mission Field? Where can you improve to realize more of the righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit?.

T. M. Moore

Our book, Understanding the Times, provides a more detailed and expansive description of the world of our day and how we as believers must pursue our calling in it. Order your free copy by clicking here.

All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here. Check out our newest feature, Readings from the Celtic Revival (click here).

Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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