There is nothing quite like the excitement of being with first generation Christians! They do not use all of the cliches or know the church culture. But neither do they have the coldness that so often seems to creep into the hearts of those who have allowed their faith to become mundane. In some ways, it is like being with some of the first Christians in the early church – they are full of zeal and wonder at the glory of the gospel…something like all of us were when we first came to know Jesus as our Savior.
Do you remember those early days?
How quickly we “settle down” and how easily we forget what it means to belong to Christ. Many believers have been saved for so long that they have lost the meaning of the word lost. Think back to the day of your salvation. Now, go back one more day. Remember what it was like to be without God in the world, and then imagine being without Him for all of eternity.
I am a third generation Christian. My parents and my grandparents on both sides were dedicated followers of Christ. This is a tremendous privilege and an amazing opportunity. It is also a challenge.
When you grow up around something it is easy to take it for granted. I recently read the testimony of a man who came to Christ out of Hinduism. He marveled that many long-time believers seem to struggle with questions. For him, it has been the most glorious revelation to see the simple power of the gospel.
Yes, it is easy to forget what we have and miss what He has for us.
Permit me to give a few suggestions to an army of “third generation Christians.”
- Be grateful for what you have received. No church or family is perfect. No one has perfect teachers, but we have a perfect Christ. If you know who Jesus is you are blessed beyond measure. You have heard more truth than many people will ever hear in a lifetime. Thank God and thank those who pointed you to Him.
- Be thoughtful of what others have sacrificed. It is easy to point out the failures of others. Someone rightly said, “It takes no size to criticize.” You may have had many building blocks added to your faith but never forget the people who helped lay the foundation. We are all products of those who God providentially placed in our lives. Someone came before you and blazed the trail. Someone paid the price to start a godly line and we are enjoying the benefits.
- Be growing in your own faith and willing to take a step of obedience. You cannot live on the faith of your parents or grandparents – it must be yours, and it must be ever deepening. What step of faith and obedience have you taken recently? Refuse to stop where you are. So many Christians are stuck at the last place they refused to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and the clear guidance of Scripture.
- Be constantly seeking to advance the gospel. Most of us have grown up surrounded by churches and fellow believers. If we do not advance the cause of Christ in our world this will soon be gone. It has been said that each generation of Christians is responsible for each generation of sinners. This is our generation to win for Christ.
- Be aware that others are coming after you. If Jesus tarries His coming, there is another generation that soon will take their place. What kind of heritage will we leave them? In the end, it is not just about what you have received but about what you have relayed.
It’s our turn. It’s our time. If you know Christ, it is time to live like it and share Him with others – no matter how long you have been saved. Speak less about how long you have been a Christian and more about how short the time before we see Christ. Live with urgency and intensity.
I remember as a young man sitting under Mr. Singspiration, Dr. Al Smith, as he taught us a wonderful little song he had written. The words have come to my mind many times in recent days. It would do us all good to make this our theme…
I have never lost the wonder of it all.
I have never lost the wonder of it all!
Since the day that Jesus saved me
And a whole new life He gave me,
I have never lost the wonder of it all!
Regardless of how long you have been saved, how much you know about the Bible, or how many years you have been in church…
If you are a first generation, second generation, or third generation Christian…
Do not lose the wonder of it all!