Living a better story

September 25th, 2019

The Wall Street Journal recently published a poll taken by people between the ages of 18 and 38 years old. The poll revealed a major value shift among young adults in the United States. Twenty years ago the previous generation, who took the same poll, valued work ethic, patriotism, religion and having children. Young adults in today’s society are shifting away from these values and stepping into their own identity. Some critics worry that today’s young adults are eroding the foundation of American traditionalism by not valuing God, family and their country. Yet, today’s young adults are identifying themselves with values that Jesus cared about deeply, such as community involvement, social justice and inclusivity of others.

Each generation has its own story to tell, giving new insights from which other generations can learn. It’s important that generations learn from one another, so we can all live a better story.

What did Jesus value?

In biblical times the Jews had an expectation of God’s kingdom centering around nationalism, the military, political power and religious supremacy rather than a spiritual transformation. When Jesus showed up, he flipped everyone’s expectations upside down, calling people to radically rethink what they valued. Even though God’s people valued power through political and religious structures, Jesus teaches us in Scripture that power over evil can be attained only through a restored relationship with God.

Jesus gives us a framework of what that restored relationship looks like through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7). When God’s people are unified with Jesus, our hearts and attitudes shift toward the things that God values. The themes found in the Sermon on the Mount teach us to care deeply about the oppressed and to recognize that God’s love is inclusive of all. While young people are still discovering their identity, it is our responsibility to encourage them to care deeply about and to model the things Jesus valued.

Question of the day: What values do you think are most important to your generation?
Focal scriptures: Matthew 5:1-11; Isaiah 61:1-4, 8; Matthew 7:24-27 

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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