I am disgusted when I hear these words coming out of my mouth. I promised myself I would never think them, never believe them and most importantly never say them. Now I find myself not only thinking, believing and saying them but also living my life based on them. In my youth someone would start a sentence with these words and I would shut down. It didn’t matter if what followed was true, profound, brilliant and life changing, I never listened long enough to find out. Now I find myself saying these same words. What follows them may be identical to those who spoke them before, I really don’t know as I didn’t listen, but what I do know is…
Things were so much better when I was young.
I am not sure if it is perspective or reality that causes me to see times past as different but things have changed and I am not sure if it is for the better. I am trying my best not to attack the changes that come with each new generation. When I was growing up we were told, “That rock and roll music comes from the devil.” The guitar especially when electrified causes Satan to enter the minds of those who listen and leads to drug addiction. The drums invited evil spirits to possess all who took in their evil cult based rhythms and those who played them were the spawn of Satan himself (I have 2 sons that play drums and one of those also plays and makes guitars, electrified guitars). The generation before started almost every sentence or so it seemed, with, “When I was young…” That was my signal to tune out. My signal to tune back in was, “Things were so much better when I was young”
The church has been the battleground for many wars.
The declaration of war always seemed to start with, “When I was young,” and end with, “Things were so much better, the church was godlier.” My generation fought the worship wars in hopes that others would not have to. To borrow a phrase from history, it was the war to end all wars. I believe that, as far as worship goes, we have gone from an all-out war to an uneasy truce. From time to time someone mentions how much better the music was when they were growing up, I think I have even said that about a song or two, but for the most part we have come to see this as personal likes and dislikes rather than a battle between God and the powers of darkness.
I do believe I am about to declare war once again.
I am not sure if it is my perspective or it is reality that causes me to see times past as different but things have changed and I am not sure if it is for the better. I believe this is a battle between God and the powers of darkness. This isn’t about the type of music or Sunday morning service styles. This isn’t my attempt to elevate one generation over another but, when I was young…
God was beyond our comprehension, Jesus was all we needed and the Holy Spirit was powerful.
When I was young, I didn’t know that Pentecostals, Episcopalians, Catholics, Baptists and all other denominations worshiped different gods. When I was young, I didn’t know that the Holy Spirit was finished His work in some churches, limited in others while moving mightily in others. When I was young, I didn’t know that some believed in Jesus, others were selected to believe in Jesus, while others were just selected regardless of their belief in Jesus. When I was young, I didn’t know that prayer was powerful in one church belief system while it was only useful in some situations in another while in the remaining churches prayer, if said right and coupled with the right amount of faith makes God do whatever you ask. When I was young, things were so much better and I would suggest, godlier. Maybe it was the innocence of my youth but I am telling you there was something different, something better.
When I was young in my faith…
I believed the Holy Spirit moved in way I could not live without. I chose to put my faith in Jesus who called me to follow Him. I prayed believing that God would answer in His perfection, not limited or controlled by my request but rather overjoyed by my trust and obedience. Then I grew up and my childlike faith became less of a faith and more of a belief system that limited God to the doctrines of man that best served the limits of my comfort zone. I miss the good old days. Things were so much better and Godlier, when I was young.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4 (ESV)