All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
If you look a few verses back the writer of Hebrews mentions the faith of the ancestors of Israel. Ending with the patriarchs (as well as Sarah). In this passage the author looks at the promises that they were given from God the Father. The largest example being how Abraham was promised to have "descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore", and how he obviously didn't receive that in his life time.
How did this come about, and why am I talking about it (especially after not having blogged for almost a year)? I was reading a daily devotional that is forwarded to me every morning by a friend of mine. It generally starts with a scripture to dialogue about (much like this blog), but curiously once I finshed the passage in scripture God told me to stop reading. The scripture was Hebrews 11:13-16 (the one above). God began to speak to me about it, and how it applied to my life. I won't share with you the direct meaning that it had, and has for me, but I believe I was taught a core principle of Christianty while I was learning about my own life.
As much as we are told this all the time in church it's a pretty simple concept. Christianity isn't about us. It's for those who are yet to come, those who are to join us in our belief. Specifically though this passage reminded me of our duty to train those coming after us.
I believe that our relationship with God is not just about our personal growth with him. I don't deny that we should focus on our personal relationship either, but I believe there is more to Christianity. We also focus on the lost, and again this is very important if not a pivotal element in our lives. But I want to focus on the building up of other believers.
I want to tell you about preparing a generation.
Each generation is like a jump from where the last left off. This has always been for better or for worse, very rarely does a generation imitate its parent generation. We see this easily displayed in technology, every generation has completely new and innovative things that make our lives more efficient. Possibly most noteable though is our attitude. We choose to either rebel against our parents who in our minds thought they knew 'how best to care for us', or we try to fix the problems that we once perceived in our parents' style of teaching and training us.
Ideally each generation should be a leap forwards from their parents. Specifically I would like to see faith developed in our generation, and through us, the coming generation. There are some things that I have found we know to be true, but we still don't have the belief for it. Much like how in Acts 12 the church was praying for Peter, but they didn't believe when he came knocking at the door. They knew that prayer has power, but they did not believe that God's hand would actually move through their prayer.
I'm not exactly sure how to transition to this, so I apologize, but here it is.
As I often do, I was once telling my mom about my day, and how a few of my friends and I had felt led to go try walking on water. I told her in detail everything that led up to the point of stepping out on the water, my mom then interjected and said,"and you did" with a tearful expression of how good our God is. She believed for me, not so much having faith in being able to walk on water, but I believe she had faith, that I had faith, to walk on water.
This is what I want to see more of in our generation.
~First faith in the next generation.
~Second creating opportunities for them to develop their faith.
We may not believe that if we pray for someone that they will be healed, but we don't need to
destroy their faith by telling them so, or worse not praying for the sick to be healed.
Again, I believe that we need to create an atmosphere for those following us that develops their faith and belief. Not showing them where we failed to believe, but rather painting a picture of what can happen if they do believe.