King Solomon opens the book of Proverbs with, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” These words are so important, particularly in light of our current culture. Why? Because according to a recent study by the Barna Group, “Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.”
The question that must be asked is: what will we, as the church, do to combat this? To reach our youth and this next generation, we must show them the deep riches of Scripture and the sufficiency of God’s Word.
Paul speaks to this depth—which is seen throughout the Bible—when he says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
In other words: Scripture is sufficient for training us in the way that we should live and how we should follow God. Yet, many young people are searching for depth in every place but the church. So why do we do? We must, by the work of the Holy Spirit, show them God’s Word to be the joy and delight of our hearts that Jeremiah speaks of in Jeremiah 15:16. It is not only enough for us to give them what God’s Word says; we must speak it and preach it to their hearts so they can see the joy that comes from walking with the Lord.
When our young people see that God can handle their doubts, questions, anxiety, temptations, and sins they will see that the God of the Bible is anything but shallow. The way that we get there is by having honest conversations about the Bible, ones that allow the younger generation to ask questions, to wrestle with concepts of faith, and to ultimately see that God is the answer to their hearts’ longings.
If we approach them with a superficial view of the Word of God, we can expect our efforts to produce superficial Christians who see God and the church as just another activity. But if we can present them with strong biblical truth and share the character of God himself, we may again see a revival of young people who are not casually in love with God, but are passionately in love with God because he is truly their Lord.
God does not need our help in presenting him to anyone—children, students, or adults—as the God who will fulfill their wildest dreams. Rather, he is calling us to present them with the truth of his unfailing and never-changing character. It is this honesty and the faith of our own lives that God can use to open this generation’s eyes up to the God who is all that their hearts desire.