rebelling against low expectations

5 Things That Will Keep Our Generation From Success


I believe that God is moving in our generation. I see a lot of my peers taking seriously the call to follow Christ with all their hearts. We do not want to waste our lives but are passionate about glorifying God by doing hard things.

Although, like every generation, there is a lot of wickedness and apathy among us, I do not believe wickedness needs to define our generation. I think we can and will succeed in our desire to glorify God.

In this pursuit, there are at least five things we must avoid that would hinder our eternal impact: apathy, materialism, playing politics, reaction, and an obsession with knowledge.

1) Apathy

Apathy is probably the most obvious to people. It shows up in our lack of prayer, in our reluctance to give testimony to what we are going through— good or bad — and in our avoidance of evangelism. If you are like me, it is easy to condemn yourself and others for apathy. It is important that we are aware of our weakness, but we must run from condemnation.

Condemnation is never from God — even when we are being apathetic! God’s way of bringing people to repentance is through kindness (Romans 2:4). I like how Keith Green put it: “Discipline is not holiness, nor the way to holiness. It just helps you maintain it.” (from No Compromise by Melody Green).

Apathy also hinders God’s working through us.

We tend to think of apathy as passive, but it is really an aggressive resistance to God’s call and commands.

You can either surrender to God, allowing Him to work through you and in the meantime experience His sweet presence, or you can resist Him and refuse His blessing and presence in your life.

Thankfully, God is very aggressive in His pursuit of us, even in our apathy.

2) Materialism

Materialism is fairly straight forward, but very addictive.

Refuse excess in your life. Give until it hurts, then give some more. Don’t worry about tomorrow — don’t even give a lot of thought to money. God will take care of you. Invest in Eternity by seeking God’s kingdom first and foremost: make seeking God a higher priority than your job or hobbies but seek God in them too (Matthew 6:19-21; 25-34).

Really, seeking God, work, and pleasure should all be in the same context.

This is something only individuals can determine: for some people fixing cars, taking calls, making music or giving direction is what God has called them to do and it is both pleasurable and hard work.

But sometimes we are easily distracted by pursuing things, cool cars, luxurious houses, fancy computers, fashionable clothes — you name it!

We must avoid these.

Ask yourself: “Will this benefit my relationship with God and others?” For example, big houses can be excellent places to host Bible studies, youth activities, or even house churches; but if you do not feel called to this type of ministry, then maybe you should downsize and put the money toward something you do feel called to pursue, like missions, music, education.

3) Playing Politics

Of these five, I believe politics to be the most dangerous. We usually associate it with government, but it can penetrate every area of our lives—especially the church. It is very subtle and a very tempting game to play, it is the mentality that “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” “Agree with me and I won’t bother you.” Don’t play it! Run away from it as fast as you can!

The Pharisees were pros at playing this game. They played it with the Romans and the Jews and they even tried to play it with God.

That’s why they hated Jesus so much, because He never played politics. He said and did only what God told Him to say and do — even if it was unpopular.

Never capitulate to political pressure by compromising truth or keeping quiet about what God has revealed to you just to hold influence or popularity. Fear God, not men!

Politics is all about self-preservation and advancement by pleasing others; the way of the Cross is about submission to God, death to self, and salvation of souls.

Both liberals and conservatives will play the political game.

They laugh at and mock ideology or theology that they despise, giving those around them the subtle hint that “If you agree with this, then I laugh at you.” They will loudly state their opinions, forcing everyone around them to either agree with them or publicly contradict them. If someone disagrees, they will surf the crowd of onlookers with their eyes searching for someone who will share a mocking expression with them.

These “politicians” — especially those who claim to serve God—are insecure and wicked.

We must follow God, even if it’s the hardest thing in the world to do! The hardship is worth it because eternity will last longer than our earthly lives

4) Reaction

Have you ever played with magnets? What happens if you put a magnet of similar charge over other magnets? They all push away, right?

Humans are just like that: quick to react, which only breeds more reaction. It is natural, so don’t try to fight the feeling; instead, refuse to be controlled by it. When one person begins living out of reaction, others begin reacting as well. This can very quickly divide whole communities as some people draw together and others push apart.

Combined with politics and apathy, reaction will quench the Holy Spirit.

Do not ever allow your actions to be controlled by reactions because it will only destroy.

A group that separates from other people because of reaction will soon begin reacting to each other within their smaller group.

This will keep happening until people are lonely and throbbing with pain while the work of God in their lives is all but ruined (which by the grace of God can be rebuilt).

Remember that if you react to someone (an overly strict teacher, for example) they are still controlling you, even if you do the very opposite of what they want you to do. If you really do not want to be controlled by other people, surrender to God and allow what He says to you and about you to determine your actions.

5) An Obsession with Knowledge

Now this is where it gets tricky because I’m afraid people will think I am discouraging education. I am not. I support people following God if they feel led to get a higher education. The problem here is not education or training but an obsession with knowing. Let me explain.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat from any of the trees, including the Tree of Life.

The only tree they could not eat from was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 3). So when the serpent came along and doubted God’s words, telling them that if they eat of the tree, they will actually become like God, that is, “knowing good and evil” (verse 5), Adam and Eve had to choose who were they going to worship.

Did they find God more worthy of their obedience or the Serpent?

They chose “to know” rather than “to obey.” You see, worship, not knowledge, is the path to obedience.

Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 2 “I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God,” but instead “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

He was emphasizing the Spirit’s power, not knowledge, as being the proper foundation of faith.

If we want to obey God and be used by Him, we must stop obsessing over knowledge and start pursuing worship.

We can do this: our generation can make an impact on eternity. But we must actively counteract apathy, reject materialism, run away from everyday politics, be led by the Spirit rather than reaction, and pursue worship rather than knowledge.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

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Photo courtesy of Spencer Finnley and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Christopher Witmer

is the 24-year-old Editor-in-Chief for Originally from Northern Minnesota, he lives with his family in Los Angeles where they moved to plant inner-city churches. He loves sports, travel, and music, but his passion is writing for God and lifting high the name of Jesus through his writing.


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    • Awesome! Praise God! Hope it helps!

      Yes, I have a deep appreciation for Keith Green, especially after reading his biography, “No Compromise,” by his wife, Melody. I know he’s not perfect, but he’s worthy of imitation, I think, like King David, the apostle Paul, etc.

  • I wonder why so few people see this. These things have permeated our society, and people ignore it. This is huge!

  • Hey Chris, great article!
    However, I do partially disagree with your point on politics. You see, I don’t see a problem with a Christians going into politics, as long as they don’t compromise. If they do not compromise, politics can be a great way to influence people for God.

    Unfortunately, these days, it is nearly impossible to get elected without compromising. And even if you are elected, it is unbelievably hard not to give in while in office. Bad company corrupts good character. So, because of this, I would not want to risk going into politics, myself.

    With that being said, if a Christian does go into politics, we should support him/her. God puts the leaders in their places and, with all due respect, I believe that saying all politicians are evil is wrong. Look at David, from the Bible, a king, who had even more power then politicians. Though he made mistakes, he served God very well and led his people well. I do realize this isn’t normal, and that most of the kings of Israel were evil, but I do believe this proves that there are some followers of God whom God does want to go into politics, however rare this may be. So, that is why I think it is very dangerous to say that politicians who claim to pursue God are wicked.

    God bless, dude,
    – Trent

    • Thanks for the clarification, Trent!

      However, I was not referring to governmental/magisterial politics. I was referring to “everyday politics,” the attitude of “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Everyday politics is the pressuring to agree, act, or dress like someone in order to be heard, liked, or accepted by them. Maybe the term isn’t as common as I thought it was; I’m sorry if I didn’t make that clear enough. Although I whole-heartedly agree that we should honor those in authority, it is still despicable if elected officials act this way.

      • Thanks, Chris,
        In that case, I full-heartedly agree with you, especially when it gets into churchs. That happened in my old church and that’s one of the reasons we left. You’re awesome, dude. Keep up the awesome writing and God bless!

        – Trent

  • Yay, Chris! GREAT article!
    I love this, seeing our generation get serious about Christ. The introduction to your article which spoke of how God is moving in our generation, I think, is spot on, and the knowledge that I’m not the only one noticing this really excites me.
    Your points about apathy, playing politics(as a game we play to preserve and advance ourselves), as well as the really important point you made about an obsession with knowledge, really struck me. I love that line in Matthew West’s song, Do Something, where at one point he refers to Christians and the church as “angels of apathy”, which is incredibly accurate.
    That’s something that we’ve lost in our “tolerate everything” culture, is passion. Our churches are apathetic; we’re often more focused on doctrine and gripped by materialism than doing the work and will of Christ, and it’s horrible.
    And I was just praying tonight with a group of people about revival in our nation. Yes, we have the resources, but instead of clinging to them we should “give until it hurts” just as Jesus did.

    Trent, what Christ was referring to when he spoke of politics was not, I think, in the traditional way we have learned to look at it. If you’ll notice, he never mentioned elections, or the NRA, or anything about traditional governmental politics. He spoke about politics in the church. He warned us of becoming modern-day Pharisees. Of the politics of the denominations and individual congregations, not to play games with each other, and to refuse to play “build your own kingdom”.
    It’s something exciting to me to see how our generation plays well together, in many senses of the idiom. We can and do and will work together and plan together and pray together and study the Bible together. We can and do and will refuse to build our own kingdoms, and instead will seek the kingdom of God first and foremost, together. Not all of us, and there will be some who will look down on us for many things, and who will discourage us and mock us for making God and Christ the center of our lives in every area as much as we can, but we have to and will have to press on despite all of it.
    Thank you so much for sharing this, Chris, I appreciate it so much, especially how it lines up with things I’ve been thinking about recently and things God’s been teaching me and bringing to my notice. Thank you, thank you, so so much.

    • Wow, Praise God Sadie! It’s amazing how God moves and speaks to us at the right moments!

      What you said is exactly right! And you described the politics much better than I did! Thanks!

      • I agree, it is amazing. How does the song go? Who am I that You are mindful of me? Perfectly accurate lyrics. Psalm 33:18 says something along the same lines: “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him…”(I had to look that up on the internet to find it, ’cause I didn’t know what verse it was)
        I’m surprised that you say that. Thanks for the compliment. I thought you did good describing the politics. It’s something I’ve come to recognize in the area churches and it bothers me and my family quite a bit.
        Thanks again for the encouragement! God bless!

  • Thanks Chris. The first paragraph really described what I feel like right now. I feel like I’m called to do something greater but I feel like I fail so much! There has just been so many instances where someone says something that I find really convicting and it reminds me of myself or I’ll read something that’s convicting that I feel like is an echo of my life. This article really gave me an idea of what temptations I’m facing. (I know I have temptations, but it helps to avoid them when I know what they are called or what they are.) Thank you!

  • Great! I totally agree with you.

    Another thing that can cause our generation to stumble is procrastination. I know this
    . . .from personal experience. I will probably talk more about it in the discussion on procrastination.

    Anyways, keep on writing Christopher for the glory of God!

    God Bless,


  • Hey Christopher,

    This is a great article! You’re a talented writer. I like how you explained your points! 🙂

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by knowledge? Scripture also talks about having the knowledge of God (Philemon 1:6; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 4:6; 10:5; Ephesians 1:17; 4:13; Colossians 2:2; Titus 1:1; 2 Peter 1:8; 2:20; 3:18). To worship God, we must know God and discern what is ungodly. Would you agree?

    In addition, what about pursuing knowledge and higher education with the goal of learning about God and His creation? I know you’re not against higher education — would you further encourage Christians to enter and influence higher education to learn/teach God’s truth and creative handiwork?

    • Hi Kim,

      Great questions!

      First I want to say, I have no problems with higher education or teaching higher education. In fact, I am still really considering this myself. I do, however, have concerns with how much the church/Western culture focuses on getting education–to the point that it sometimes seems you can’t have a proper life or understanding of the Bible unless you have a university or seminary degree. Depending on what you feel called to do, college is a complete waste of time and money, unless you enjoy it. Really, if you can read, are observant, and have lots of friends and older people to converse with, you can educate yourself more effectively than you could at college! But this is a side-point. I really encourage people to pursue college if they feel that’s where God is leading them.

      Even if we don’t go to college, I think we should be incessant learners.

      Sooo, how does that fit into what I said about knowledge?

      I’m not going to pretend like I know how it all works or what God thinks or even how to explain it. I pray that God will correct any errors that I make.

      It really comes down to sequence (I’m starting to sound like my life-long pastor Dad :-P).

      Worship always proceeds knowledge and/or obedience. In the Garden, for example, Adam and Eve chose to feast from the Knowledge of Good and Evil (which is referred to as being like God) rather than simply worship God and feast from the Tree of Life. If they had allowed worship of God to steer their hearts, they would have obeyed. “Okay God, whatever you say. I don’t understand it, but since that’s what you say, I’ll obey.” This is part of how we “don’t lean on our own understanding” and “acknowledge God…He will make straight our paths” (Proverbs 3:5).

      Our modern churches have made worship to only consist of confession (agreeing with God; acknowledging what He says to be true). That’s why we think of prayer and singing as “worship”; but it’s not. Worship involves both confession (copying whatever God is saying) and obedience.

      The path of Worship will always lead us into obedience. The path of Knowledge will lead us into many things, often legalism. Sometimes we get busy saying “This is right; this is wrong.” But in the process we lose the heart of worship. It becomes legalistic duty: doing what you have to do in order to get God to like you. This isn’t what God wants! He wants a heart that says “Okay, you said it. It must be true. I’ll do it. Thanks and I love you!” Deciding what is Good and Evil is God’s business. Our job is to listen to Him. agree and obey. He reveals this through His Holy Spirit (who inspired the Bible).

      Also, though I can’t completely explain it, I think there is a difference in how the word “knowledge” is used.

      There is a big difference between knowing a lot of facts about someone and actually “knowing” them and caring for their heart. For example, I’m told that romantic gesture’s mean nothing to a woman if she knows the man doesn’t actually care about knowing her heart. Whereas, less romantic gestures could be very meaningful from a guy who really cares for her and she him. Does that make sense?

      It’s one thing to have a Knowledge of God, His love and His character. It’s another thing to pursue knowledge, especially of Good and Evil.

      But the real issue here is focus and sequence. Are we focused on knowledge or life? Are we worshiping God or ourselves/Satan?

      Focus on worshiping God and eating from the tree of life, that will lead you into true obedience. Mere knowledge can never make you truly obey.

      I hope this clarifies some things for you! Thanks for your response!

      • Hi Christopher,

        Thanks for your response! 😀 It makes sense! I totally agree with you. In addition, our focus on worshiping God may lead to pursuing knowledge — not necessarily facts and information and a college certificate, but rather wisdom and learning — to live a Godly life. As Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Would you agree?

rebelling against low expectations

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