Are you called to make a generational shift?
In the Old Testament there began a reign of kings. Many did evil in the eyes of the LORD and a few did what was right, but out of those few only a couple removed the high places, Asherah poles, and idols so that the people's hearts would remain faithful to the LORD. It meant to “clean house” and in 2 Chronicles 34:1-4, that's what King Josiah did.
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.”
This story is a great example of what it is to break chains, ungodly things that have been passed down from generation to generation. They can be anything from unhealthy behaviors to destructive emotions or continual poor choices which doesn’t bring life. These ungodly things might bring temporary satisfaction but have negative effects on future generations. We might not control what’s passed down, but we do have a choice of what we allow to continue. It's what I call making a "Generational Shift", changing the course of generations after you. What in your life has been passed down through the generations before you? Sift through them. Examine what is good and what is not. Then ask yourself... Do you want it to continue in your life? And if you don't... Are you willing to be the one called to make that generational shift? It's through Jesus Christ that we’ve been given the power to do so. Below are four important things I've learned in making that generational shift and I believe King Josiah is a great example.
"He Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD..." vs. 2
It takes a relationship with the Lord to know what is right in His eyes. When someone is important to you, what do you intend to do? Spend time with them... you talk, you listen, you share life and feelings begin to grow deeper, stronger which leads to a relationship. Are you spending time with the Lord... praying, reading the Bible, growing in your relationship with Him? The more you pursue God the more you have the ability to learn, overcome, and grow. It takes a relationship to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. That’s what you call obedience which helps with the next step.
2. Takes Discipline
“...Josiah walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” vs. 2
I love that phrase from the Bible, “not turning aside to the right or to the left”. To me that sounds like “focus”, keeping your eyes fixed on one thing, Jesus. Now that’s discipline. No matter what you face in life you keep your eyes fixed on Him. Wouldn’t it be great if we were born with discipline?!?! The things we would be able to accomplish and the success we would achieve, but discipline is a learned behavior. Jesus is a great example of what it is to live a disciplined life. Read through the Gospels. What is He showing you, teaching you, speaking to you that you must learn? It’s something you need to work in your heart so that you can walk the path set before you. That’s perseverance and to be disciplined you must persevere.
3. Takes Diligence
“...he Josiah began to seek the God of his father David... he began to purge...” vs. 3
Diligence takes careful and persistent work or effort. Josiah was diligent, he sought God. Are you seeking God? In seeking Him, you come to know God and in knowing God your heart gets aligned with His. It's what Josiah did which led him to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. He got rid of everything that led to ungodly worship. What in your life leads to ungodly worship? Whatever turns your heart away from God needs to be removed... that’s purging which takes diligence because those things always lead you away from God, not to Him. Remember in the purging, in the removing, “cleaning house” God is making room for what He wants established in your generational line. It takes a diligent heart for God’s great work to change the course of generations to come... that’s making a generational shift.
4. Takes Action
“... torn down... cut to pieces... smashed... broke to pieces...” vs. 4
Some things you need to get rid of in life can’t be handled gently but with determination, with action that these things no longer belong in your family lineage. They must be torn down, cut to pieces, smashed, broke to pieces so you can walk in freedom, healing, restoration, and strength. It takes these actions to release you from unhealthy behaviors, destructive emotions, and poor choices you or your prior generations have made. Are you willing to take action? Don’t see this as an impossible fight or a huge mountain to climb with no end, but see this through a promise... “For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” [Deut. 20:4] Victory is found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we find ourselves imprisoned by our circumstances, but Jesus died to set us free. Surrender your life to Him, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior so that you can be released from what has been passed down to receive a new life only found in Him and through Him.
Remember being called to make a generational shift takes a relationship with the Lord, takes discipline, takes diligence, and takes action to release you from the past to step into a new future. It's not a journey filled with flowers, sunsets, or waterfalls but as you continue to walk through the tough terrain there’s something greater awaiting. Making that generational shift is worth the joy that comes from seeing your children and grandchildren walk in the freedom Jesus provided on the cross and become all they were created to be. Maybe no one stepped up to that challenge in the family you grew up in. Maybe no one did it for you, but you've been given the opportunity, a choice, consider doing it for your own family, your children, and grandchildren. Turn to the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength as Josiah did. Make that generational shift and see lives changed for the better.
“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him
who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul
and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.”
2 Kings 23:25 NIV