How do young believers live sold-out lives for the Lord if they did not receive modeling from their parents? One answer could be found in Joshua 5 and 6. In these chapters, the Lord prescribed a series of steps for a new generation to follow upon entering the Promise Land. This generation did not receive good modeling from their parents. Let’s take a look at the steps God provided, and then explore the parallels they contain for modern-day believers.


The Promise Land

The generation that died in the wilderness did not trust God to give them the Promise Land. They shrank away in fear from the enemies that occupied it (Numbers 14). Therefore, God had to ask their sons to do the exact opposite of what was modeled to them.


On top of this, the generation that died in the wilderness failed to circumcise their sons. Therefore, Joshua had to circumcise them when they were full-grown men, in plain view of their enemies, before they could take their inheritance (Joshua 5). Once they did this, God declared that He had given Jericho – the first deposit of their promised inheritance – into their hands.


However, God’s word did not come to pass immediately. In fact, when God said this, Jericho was still an impenetrable fortress with no apparent way to conquer it. Therefore, the Israelites had to exercise faith and patience. They had to believe God’s word was true even though their circumstances had not changed.


Next, they obeyed God by marching in circles around their inheritance without ever actually approaching it. On the surface, this seemed illogical and counterproductive. However, their willingness to obey God by faith, without understanding His reasons, invited His supernatural intervention into their circumstances. On the seventh day, the great walls of Jericho suddenly came crashing down. Israel’s enemies were left defenseless and the first installment of their inheritance was handed to them on a silver platter (Joshua 6).


A Pattern for First-Time Promise-Takers

The aforementioned sequence of events contains a parallel for how God sometimes deals with young people who were not spiritually circumcised. When Christian parents become spiritual wanderers, never laying ahold of the promises or inheritance God intended for them, they typically also do not spiritually circumcise their children. Their children may have correct doctrines, but they never fully surrender their lives to the Lord because it was not modeled to them.


Nevertheless, God can provide grace for children to overcome this lack of modeling. When they reach the age of independence, God apprehends them with a vision of the inheritance He has in mind for them – their promise land, so to speak. In other words, He puts His dreams in their hearts.  


However, God’s dreams do not come cheaply or easily. The first step to laying ahold of them is circumcision – cutting away the old self-serving form of Christianity we were used to and re-consecrating ourselves to be used by the Lord however He wishes. This can be facilitated through the discipleship/mentoring of one or more spiritual father or mother figures, just as the Israelites were circumcised by Joshua. 


The next steps are faith and patience. We must believe God can really cause the dreams He put in our hearts to be fulfilled. Not only that – we must persevere in believing for a period of time, possibly many years or decades. During this time He may have us doing mundane, seemingly unproductive things that have nothing to do with taking ahold of our inheritance – marching in circles, as it were. This is why Hebrews 6:12 exhorts us to be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”


The purpose of these steps is to shape our characters so we will be trustworthy stewards of our inheritances. If there is something we want than closeness with God, we are not mature enough to have it without turning it into an idol. Persevering through these steps helps us esteem the presence of God in our lives even more than the good things He wants to give us.


When we persevere through an ordained season of waiting, God can easily make up for all the “unproductive” time we spent performing tasks unrelated to our inheritance. He can supernaturally cause barriers to our calling to come crashing down and empower us to overcome any opposition from the enemy.


What is My Mission?

When young believers approach adulthood, some of the most burning questions on their hearts are: What is my purpose? What did God create me for? How will He use me to impact the world for His kingdom?


Some young people feel caught between wanting to fully devote themselves to serving God and wanting to pursue a field of study or a career path they feel passionate about. This is often a false dilemma. Virtually every field of human endeavor can be a powerful tool for the advancement of God’s kingdom. I’m not referring to the need for Christians to be salt and light in every area of society, although that is true too. I am saying the fields themselves can be a witness because they reveal God’s nature.


Consider the following incomplete list of fields of human pursuit:


·         Government 

·         Economics

·         Business

·         Physics

·         Chemistry

·         Biology

·         Law Enforcement

·         Health/Medicine

·         Food/Agriculture

·         News Media/journalism

·         Entertainment/Music/Athletics

·         Family/Marriage/Sexuality

·         Church/Religion

·         Technology/Engineering

·         Construction/Manufacturing

·         History/Anthropology

·         Sociology/Psychology


All of these fields can be used to reveal facets of God’s nature. None of them is incompatible with “ministry” or “missionary work”. They are all potential ministries and mission fields. Young people can much more easily be excited about ministry, missionary work, and advancing God’s kingdom when they realize these things are directly aligned with their personal dreams and passions.


We experience and radiate God’s presence in a special way when we do what we were created to do. We feel excited and fulfilled and thankful. This kind of holy fulfillment manifests God’s presence and is a powerful witness to those around us even if they can’t readily identify what they are sensing. This is true whether it is on a construction site or in a chemistry lab or in a classroom.


The very first mention in scripture of someone being filled with God’s Spirit is Exodus 31:2-5. The man’s name was Bezalel. For what purpose was he filled with God’s Spirit? Was it to preach the gospel or prophesy or heal someone? No, actually it was to create beautiful artistic designs in metal, ston, and wood. The passage states:


“I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.”


This man, Bezalel, was a craftsman whom God anointed to be excellent at his trade and glorify God through it. The same is true of men and women God would send into every field or industry.


A while back I spent a few years learning everything I could about economics. I could not believe the treasures of wisdom contained in this field. I had never seen so clearly as through the field of economics how God created mankind for individual freedom, creative labor, prosperity, and generosity. Everything about it screamed to me, “God is Glorious!” At the same time, Satan’s kingdom has an approach to economics that has an appearance of righteousness, but leads individuals and nations into deep bondage. I think virtually every field of study and human endeavor is like that – having the potential to reveal the glory of God, but susceptible to clever satanic counterfeiting.


We live in a fallen world. 1 John 5:19 says, “…the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” In this age, Christians will always be lights in the darkness. We will never “conquer” or “rule over” the kingdoms of earth until after Christ’s return. Therefore, Satan’s approach to a given field is typically far more prominent and accepted by the mainstream than God’s approach. Even so, there are few things in life more exciting than discovering our unique talents and passions and then using them to reveal a facet of God’s nature and kingdom to those in our spheres of influence.




In the next chapter, we will look at the first of three scriptural examples of children building upon a foundation laid by their parents.