Jump Start # 2138
Special Note: Jump Starts are taking a vacation for the rest of the week. Actually, I’m on vacation now. We plan to be back with you at the first of next week. If you need to keep reading, there are over 2100 Jump Starts posted on the Jump Start website (www.jumpstartsdaily.com). There are search engines that allow you to look up specific passages or words. Recently, one of our readers told me that with Windows 10, there is an option that will read the Jump Starts to you. Now, that’s cool!
Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called, ‘Today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
My wife and I come from different backgrounds spiritually. She grew up in a denomination and is the first in her family to embrace pure N.T. Christianity in it’s primitive form. I came from a long, long line of family members that understood the N.T. plea. I can trace my spiritual heritage back at least five generations, to some of the first disciples in the state of Indiana. Different backgrounds. Different perspectives. I had the wonderful advantage of growing up in a godly home. Sundays were set. You went to church services. No discussion about that. There were words, attitudes, behavior that were off limits. We had curfews and were expected to honor those. I’m thankful for that. My kids grew up with a similar atmosphere.
However, for people like me, often called second generation Christians, there comes some special challenges. These challenges are unique to those of us who grew up this way. The book of Judges shows us that the generation that followed Joshua did not know the Lord. They introduced idols and began a long and slow departure from the Lord. Hebrews is written to second generation Christians. They became sluggish in their faith. This is something us “second generational” people have to keep an eye on.
What are some of the challenges facing second generation Christians:
First, there is a tendency to take our faith for granted. We’ve heard so many lessons on so many topics, that it is easy to tune out and not continue to grow our faith. It is easy to fudge the lines of tradition and truth. Before long, tradition looks like truth. The way we have done it become the only way to do it. New ideas, new approaches, new technology, Biblically accurate, ruffles our feathers because “it’s different.” And, to us second generation folks, different is wrong. Going through the motions can be a real problem. There are not too many steps that takes a person to be lukewarm and from that to being dead spiritually. Still attending. Still standing for truth, but no zeal, heart or dedication. Ephesus had lost their first love. Easy to do when you take your eyes off the Lord and just take things for granted.
Second, it’s often hard for second generation Christians to understand and relate to those who are different. It’s easy to be impatient when teaching someone. There’s the verse. It’s so obvious. Why can’t you see it? It’s hard to understand a background in which the Bible was talked about but not followed closely. It’s hard to understand why people have fallen into the social and carnival concept of the modern church. Us second generational folks have known the books of the Bible before we started kindergarten. We know the stories of Samson, the fiery furnace, Paul’s travels and Daniel in the lion’s den. We’ve heard them dozens of times in our lives. What’s hard for us to understand is someone who hasn’t heard of those things. It’s hard to understand why some buy into evolution. It seems so obvious to us. It’s hard for us to understand why some question the authorship of the Bible or, put such emphasis upon feelings. It’s hard, because we have never stood in their shoes. We have never had these questions. Conversations with those different than we are reminds us that we need to provide real proof and genuine answers to the probing questions our friends have.
Third, it’s hard for second generation Christians to see any value in the religious community that they differ with. It’s easy just to say, “they are all wrong,” and then close the book. But there are great ideas, wonderful insights and helpful reminders that others have that can help us. Because someone may be wrong about one thing doesn’t mean he’s wrong about everything. The religious community seems to do a better job at welcoming new people and they excel in compassion. We can learn from them. This is hard for some second generation people. Mention a certain author in the pulpit, and if he’s not one of our writers, someone will be quick to point out that he’s not right about worship or baptism. That may be true, but did you hear what the quote said. Truth is truth, no matter who says it. There can be a spiritual arrogance among second generation Christians. We can feel that we have the sole rights to the Bible and that only we truly understand the word of God. That spirit isn’t too far from what Jesus saw with the Pharisees.
Fourth, it’s easy for second generation Christians to be content. They can become content with complacency. They can become content with lifeless worship. There can be just enough guilt to compel a person to get to the church house, but not enough faith to make any real changes in their lives. Second generation Christians can be out spoken about doctrine and the church, while their personal lives are a mess. They may demand following Christ when it comes to worship, but Christ is missing in their lives. Hypocrisy is a real threat to second generation Christians.
There are real challenges facing second generation Christians. Elders ought to know which members are first generation and which are second. Each come with blessings and challenges. The more we understand each other, the more we can help each other.
What’s the hope for second generation Christians? They must pay attention to their faith. They must continue to feed their faith. They must be active and challenge themselves. They must keep focused upon the Lord. These are the thoughts sprinkled throughout the book of Hebrews.
Is it better to be a first generation or a second generation Christian? That’s really a question that we can’t answer. We don’t have a choice in that. We are a product of what our parents provided for us. But the real question is what are we doing with the advantages given to us? Together, first and second generation Christians can offer so much to a congregation. Together, we help each other. Together, we learn from each other. First and second, opportunities and challenges. Do you realize these? Are you thankful for the blessings? Are you stepping up to the challenges?
My little grandchildren, if they grow and become Christians, as I hope they will, will be the seventh generation Christians in our family. Now, that’s a legacy and a heritage. It doesn’t just happen. I hope in all of these generations, that the Lord has been honored and somewhere along the line, someone has been helped by one of us.