Authenticity: Why Today’s Youth Are Looking for Something Real

It’s not hard to see that things are different today in our world than they were say 10-15 years ago. Yes, time goes on. But as time goes on, the world changes. Societal norms shift, cultures change. Ideals and morals change with culture. What’s right and wrong yesterday are not exactly what’s right and wrong today. And what’s right and wrong today, may not be right or wrong 50 years from now. This is how culture flows.

Biblically, what’s right and wrong does not change. As Christians, we serve a God who does not change (Malachi 3:6). We should not be surprised that culture shifts and constantly changes, as we know that there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 states:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing underthesun.”

As we serve a God who does not change and live in a world that does change, the Apostle Paul says that though we live in the world, we are to not live of the world (John 17:14-15). Romans 12:2 (NIV) says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Galatians 1:4 (NIV) teaches us that it is Jesus Christ “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”

In the day and age we live in, we are living in the end of the Church Age – the Dispensation of Grace. In other words, Jesus Christ is coming back soon. Since He came, He initiated our dispensation, so that we live under His grace – and if we have faith in Him and believe in Him, then by and through His grace, we are forgiven and have a new life (Gal. 2:8-9).

Jesus Christ compares the day of His return to the days of Noah. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27). He also compares the day of His return to the days of Lot by saying: “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business–eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building–” (Luke 17:28) In other words, life will go on as usual, while the world tarries in their own sin, going about their business.

We as Christians are told to be watchful (1 Pet. 5:8). The Apostle Paul says the following: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good…” (2 Timothy 3:1-3). Is this not what is going on in the world today? Yes, and it is going on more than ever.

The direction many mainline liberal American denominations have headed is to be soft in their approach of the Word, forsaking biblical covenants and holy lifestyles. In our age of secular humanism and cultural relativism, our youth have been reared under the generation before them which came out of growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, where authority was questioned. Often times, I hear from parents these days, “What is wrong with today’s youth and this generation? They don’t want to work, they are lazy, they are this, that, and the other…”

Yes, this generation has it’s issues. But so does every generation. If anything, the parents who have raised this generation or partially to blame for the issues. The problem with the former generation (born in the 1960’s) is that it has placed the same generational expectations on our Millennial Generation, which has different challenges it faces than the former did. This has caused our Millennial Generation to be faced with a seemingly impossible challenge in front of them: a changing work marketplace and educational system with parental expectations that do not fit in to the current model of how fast the world and technology are going these days.

Though it may seem that our Millennials are questioning authority more and more, they are really searching for community at a rate we have not seen in previous generations. Though Millennials take pride in their zeal of youth, they must never forsake the wisdom of the older generations. In order to harness and direct passion, wisdom must be applied. 

In the face of the challenges that are Millennials are going through, what has been the answer from a number of churches? A watered down, seeker-sensitive message that forsakes sound doctrine for cultural relevancy. And our Millennial generation bought into it hook and sinker. For a while, it seemed to work – churches moved towards a more entertainment-based praise and worship team, the music was relevant, the preaching turned into short, 15-minute “be a better you” pep talk, and it drew thousands. Church attendance soared. But there was an emptiness. Yes, churches may have filled their pews, but at what expense? Soon, chastity and pre-marital relations were thrown out the window and seen as ‘out-dated.’ The existence of Hell was erased. Homosexuality was not only tolerated, but encouraged. Gender roles went out the window. Alcoholic abstinence was ruled out. Words like ‘sin’ and ‘repent’ are nowhere to be found. A co-existent ‘Kumbaya’ utopia had been created.

The problem with this? It doesn’t satisfy. Soon, congregants wonder what happened to true worship that brought glory to God. People wondered what happened to preaching that brought forth conviction of sin. This is why our youth today, after experiencing the SAME thing in the world that they do at several churches, are getting sick and tired of being fed a message that never satisfies. They feast on a snack,  but they don’t get a meal.

We have a youth today that are starting to wake up. Keep in mind, I was born in 1987 and I myself am a Millennial. I know that challenges our generation has faced. I have also seen the challenges faced by those born in the late 1990’s and afterward. Our young people are craving something real, and are at the point when we will see a generation fed up with being fed a false gospel of wish-washiness, of cultural relativism, and one that frankly lacks authenticity. To be authentic and real is to not only acknowledge who we are as a person, but to subject ourselves to Jesus Christ and His holiness as revealed in His Word, in order that we might live life and have abundant life.

This generation is a threat to Satan. Why? Before he fell from Heaven, Lucifer was in charge of the heavenly music and worship to God. When he fell from heaven, that position was lost. Ever wonder why our music and praise and worship experiences such an attack from the enemy? Wonder why there tends to be drama on different praise teams? Why there are issues with worship leaders and their retention? It’s because we as men and women are called to worship – we were created to worship. We are God’s replacement for what Satan did – that’s why our worship to God is a threat to the Devil.

Why is it that our generation is so musically inclined? There were other generations that had some music. But it wasn’t until the 1700’s and on where orchestras and music became prominent. Look at all the music all of a sudden that bubbled out of the 1900’s and the rate at which it inclined! In the 19th century church, you had maybe one organ player, and the early 20th century you may have had someone who played the organ and someone who sang, and now we have huge praise teams with bands that play every kind of instrument. There is a reason why our generation has really skyrocketed in its passion with music – it’s because we are nearing the return of the Lord! We are being called into our place as worshipers, and we are being called into our true identity.

What will we see over the coming years? People will start to flee the Emerging Church movement and experience an authentic revival that will shake the nation. The emerging church is all about confirming who you think you already are, but the true, authentic Christianity will confirm who you can and will be through a new life in Christ. Remember, a revival revives those who have already experienced church, and an awakening awakens the community who has never experienced the Lord or church at all! Soon, in the United States, we will experience both. Pockets of revival have occurred here and there, but we will soon see a national awakening.

Another reason why our Millennial generation is under attack is because we have been prophesied over by prophets in the Old Testament. Check this out: Joel 2:28-29 states:

“And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

When does this occur? Before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is why we are having so many youth today experiencing the Holy Spirit, and prophesying. Southern West Virginia has been experiencing revivals, especially in their schools. Students have gotten saved and laid hands on other students and healings have occurred in lunch room cafeterias and at football practices. This doesn’t make the news, but it has been happening a lot. And this has been happening with our young people!

The reason why this generation has such an attack on it is because we are the generation that will conform to the image that we have been created to conform to – the image of God. This generation is called to reflect who God is. I think it’s interesting that as we are nearing the return of the Lord and Jesus’ Millennial reign for 1,000 years, we currently have a generation that are actually called Millennials! Just food for thought.

True, biblically-based churches have lost numbers in the past 10 years. American Christians have had a rough 8 years under the Obama Administration, and religious freedoms were squashed by laws. Now, we have an opportunity in front of us: it will come time when bibilcally-based churches will see revival. Numbers don’t matter. It’s not the number of congregants that a church congregation has – it’s how effective and committed they are to Christ that matters. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” That is His promise to His people.

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Over the past handful of years, the light bulbs have been off, even over a majority of Christians. They have been left hanging in the rain, disconnected to their power source – God Himself. Soon, the light bulbs will come on. Christians will become filled with the Holy Spirit. Youth will experience revival. Older generations will link arms with our young generation to fulfill Malachi 4:5-6:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LordAnd he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

[I exhort the older generation to this statement]: Do not forsake today’s youth. They need you. They need your guidance. Teach them wisdom, not from man-made traditions, but from the Word. They may have purple hair and piercings, but looks don’t matter. God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance (1 Sam. 16:7)

[I exhort the younger generation to this statement]: You were made to have the passion that you do. Harness it, let it develop. Seek the older generation, and learn to pray how they pray. Seek their advice. Listen to their chastising. Don’t give up on your goals and dreams.

When revival and awakening occurs, it will spark in the younger generation. The older generation will join in. I thank God that authenticity hasn’t died. Again, to be authentic is not being who you were, it is who you are in Christ in the new life you now live. The Apostle Paul provides this promise given to those who have come out of every unclean lifestyle: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)

We allow ourselves to be authentic when we are honest about who we were and willing to step into who we are willing to become. This is what our generation is really looking for – something real. You can’t get more real than Jesus. He is knocking, will you answer?

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