Fighting for the Next Generation - Denny Kenaston
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Caleb is one of my heroes in the Bible. I want to be like him. The words recorded above are few but packed with meaning. God uttered these words in the midst of an intercessory prayer that Moses made for the children of Israel. They had failed to enter into the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Caleb, however, was different.
God said that Caleb had another spirit with him that was different from all the rest of the people. Caleb had a spirit of faith and victory. He was a pioneer with a fighting spirit. The Lord said, “He followed Me fully–not halfway. He followed the fullness of the revelation that I gave Him of My person.” There is a secret for us in Caleb’s testimony.
Those of us who want to go on in our Christian life must be like Caleb. We must have a spirit of faith that says, “Come on, let’s go. God will help us. Let’s go in and take some of that land. Give me that mountain! It’s mine, I want it and I’m going to have it.” Words like these express the heart attitude of a Caleb. The Lord gave a prophetic promise to Moses about Caleb. He said, “I will bring him into the land.” God promised Caleb the land that he saw and walked upon. We see in the book of Joshua that this land was not obtained without a fight, and that is how it is in our Christian lives also.
The Lord made another statement of promise about Caleb in the same verse. It holds some thrilling inspiration for us parents today. God said, “His seed shall posses it.” This promise has tremendous applications for our homes this very day.
Our children shall possess what we, as parents, have fought for.
If we were to visit Hebron, the mountain Caleb possessed, in the early days of the book of Joshua, we would hear the noise of battle. We would see the strain of war and hear the sound of prayers. We would see Caleb, the man of war, standing there and leading others in a battle for the land. We would hear Caleb saying, “God said He will give me this land. And bless God, by His grace, I’m going to take this piece of land.” He might have been eighty-five years old, but he had the strength, fire and zeal of a young man. We need the same thing, brothers. We need this zeal of young men.
If, however, we were to visit the mountain of Hebron twenty years later, we would find a totally different scene. We would find Caleb’s children and his children’s children there on that mountain, working in the fields and living in peace. There they would be, plucking olives off the olive trees, picking grapes, grazing the sheep on the hillside, gathering the honey and milking the goats. They would be enjoying all of the things God said that they would find in the land that flowed with milk and honey.
This is a beautiful picture, but it would not have been so except for a man named Caleb, who was willing to fight for his inheritance. He was willing to fight for that land God said he could have. If it were not for Caleb, you would not see all of those children living in all the good of the land. His children possessed what he fought for. It is the same for us today. Caleb was a pioneer. There’s something very stirring about being a pioneer. There’s something very challenging and adventuresome. There’s something adventuresome about being a first generation Christian looking down the road and saying, “Bless God, I’m going to fight for everything I can get for the sake of the children that live in my house. I want them to possess what I was willing to fight for.”
I know that not everyone is a first generation Christian. A first generation Christian is one that has no Christian heritage. You were lost. You were undone. You had no thought of God. You found yourself face to face with the reality of God. Your eyes were opened, and you were born again. That’s where my wife and I found ourselves twenty-nine years ago. We were standing on the good side of the river Jordan, just gazing out over the land. Ah, there it was! All that land! We had nothing—absolutely nothing—but we were born again. We saw so many things as we gazed over the land of Canaan. We saw the beautiful land of the disciplined life. We saw the beautiful land of love. We saw the beautiful land of the character of Christ. We looked out there and saw the beautiful land of a happy marriage and a godly home, and our hearts said, “I want that mountain.”
There were preachers along the road who said, “You can have it! It’s God’s will! Go in and possess.” We started our Christian life very undisciplined in probably every area. Marriage didn’t go too well. We didn’t know how to be a husband or a wife. We were not doing too well with our children. We didn’t know much about raising them. Leadership was terrible. Finances were a struggle. I could give you a big long list of the failures in which we needed to grow twenty-nine years ago when we gazed at the land.
The children in my own home have been saved and salvaged from so much. Some of the older ones know the battles and fights that took place, but the younger ones—all they know is a happy mom and a happy dad. All they know is order in the home. All they know is sweet fellowship around about the table. All they know is order, discipline, leadership and fellowship. They don’t even know there was a war to get those things, but there was a war to get every single one of them. We fought with the enemy for everything we have. By the grace of God, we fought for it. The children in my home today are literally possessing what we fought for. The little ones are growing up in a home where there is a sweet spirit of love and kindness. They know nothing of anger and arguments. They don’t know any of those things. They are just simply possessing a sweet spirited home.
But, brothers and sisters, that didn’t happen by accident. We fought for every bit of it. By that I mean that we wrestled with God. We wrestled with the devil. We wrestled in prayer. We wrestled with each other. We argued sometimes. It didn’t always go the way it should have, but we saw the piece of land. We knew that God wanted us to have it if we were willing to keep on fighting. By God’s grace, we do possess that land. The children just grow up in the midst of it, as if that was the way it always was. That’s exactly how God wants it to be. God wants our children to grow up in peaceful habitations. Yes, we can tell them, “It hasn’t always been this way,” but they will never know the strife, the fight, the battle and the struggles that we went through, because they were safely born in the midst of the things we fought for. What a beautiful truth. What stirring thought that is to my own soul.
We Set the Battle in Array
As I look back over the battles over the last twenty-nine years, I think about the strain. I think about how the enemy tried to discourage and destroy and try to get our eyes off the Lord. Through the years God kept drawing our hearts to keep our eyes looking ahead at the beautiful pieces of land of a happy marriage, of harmony in the home, of a disciplined life and of prayer that’s real. We saw the land of godly character and of loving attitudes. We said, “I want them! I want them! I want that mountain! I will have that mountain!”
I look back over our experience. I used to hate children. I couldn’t stand them. “Get them out of my sight! I don’t want children around! They’re a noise, a bother. They’re just trouble.” Imagine my children possessing that, but they know nothing of it. They don’t even know it ever existed unless I tell them. I used to hate old people. I would not give them the time of day. My children know nothing of that. I fought for that piece of land, and my children know nothing of the other. My life was filled with insecurities and negatives. That’s the way I was. That’s the way I looked at life. I wouldn’t try anything new. I was full of negatives. If the sun were shining, I wish it would rain. If it were raining, I wish the sun would shine. Some of my children know what that’s all about, but the little ones know nothing of it. They grow up in a land filled with confidence in God, with positive attitudes and with an uplifting anticipation of what God can do today. That is all they know, because I was willing to fight for a piece of land back there years ago in my Christian life.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
I Timothy 4:15
In the above verse, Paul wrote to Timothy about this subject of advancement in the Christian life, or maybe we should call it “taking new ground.” I would like to look at one word in this verse. It is the word profiting. That word means “pioneer advance.” What is a pioneer advance? It’s taking new ground. It’s heading down a road that you’ve never been down before. It’s standing there in a covered wagon with Mama beside you and two little children in the back of the wagon, looking out over a vast wilderness out in front. And, oh, you dream of a California you’ve never seen, but only heard about. It’s standing on the edge of that wilderness, dreaming about California on the other side of the mountains and saying, “We’re going to California. Whatever it takes.” That’s what a pioneer advance is. It’s taking new ground that you’ve never taken before. That’s what the word profiting means. Consider the context of this word.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting—thy pioneer advance—may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
I Timothy 4:12-16
Paul told Timothy, “Don’t stay where you are. Be an example to the believers in every area of your life. Give attendance to reading and exhortation. Give attendance to doctrine. What do I mean by giving attendance? Meditate upon them. What do I mean by meditate? Mill it over and over and over again. Give your heart wholly to the things you are meditating upon, so that everybody can see that you are advancing in your Christian life—that you are taking new ground that you never had before.”
In our Christian lives we stand looking ahead. You don’t know what’s ahead, but you read the Bible and see that there is much more land to posses than what you already have. There you stand in the little wagon, with your wife beside you, with a couple children in the back, and you look out ahead and say, “Let’s go for it.” You husbands look over at your wife and say, “Honey, let’s go for it. Let’s not stay here. Let’s go on. Let us go forward. Let us pioneer. Let us advance. Let us go in and possess. Let us go and take that little mountain over there.” Maybe today, your marriage isn’t going too well. Brother, sister, there’s land up ahead. It’s beautiful land, and God wants to change that marriage of yours. And for the sake of those two children in the back of that wagon, go for it with all your heart! Maybe there is chaos in your home. There is disarray. There is strife. There is fighting. For the sake of those children, you need to go ahead. Fight for that piece of land. Your children shall grow up in the midst of that beautiful land with all of its milk and honey and with all its fruits and grapes. They can grow up in the midst of that, knowing nothing else, if you are willing to keep on persevering. It doesn’t have to be the way that it is.
There is something stirring and adventuresome in that whole thought to me. As I look on down the road of my Christian life, I realize that there is much land yet to possess. I want to take my children in the good of everything I am willing to fight for. When it’s time for them to take their own little wagon, I want them to look out ahead and say, “Bless God for all the land we obtained from Mom and Dad, but let’s not stay here. Let’s keep on going.” I don’t know a better way to teach the children on how to fight and possess the land than to teach them by example. We aren’t going to stay on the riverbank. There are too many beautiful things out there that God wants us to inherit. We aren’t going to stay on the riverbanks. We are going to keep on going.
I tell you every piece is worth fighting for. Think with me. It is the will of God that our children grow up in the midst of the things that we fought for. Let it be that way. Some are just married. Go for it, newlyweds. Keep everything you have; go for everything you can get. Your children will just grow up in the midst of everything you get. They will not know anything else. “Fighting? What is that? Angry words? I don’t know what they are.” Your children can just grow up in the midst of the things you are willing to fight for. I don’t know what it is. Maybe there is fighting in your home? God wants you to possess a better land. Maybe there is chaos? Don’t settle for that. Maybe you’re an undisciplined, lazy person? Don’t let them grow up in the midst of that. Let them grow up in the midst of a diligent home. They can grow up not knowing anything else. It is all in your hands today.
That happy marriage you need to have, it’s worth fighting for. It will be worth straining over. It will be worth crying about. It will be worth every struggle and every energy you put into it. It will be worth every hour that you spend pondering what a happy marriage should be. It will be worth every hour you spend praying, meditating and facing your needs. It will be worth every bit of it when you look at it in light of the children who just grow up in the midst of this happy home.
We will close with the words of Caleb. He was standing in the midst of all of God’s people. He was listening to them, and they were settling for less than what God wanted them to have. They were struggling over the giants. They were complaining about how hard it was. They were even talking about Egypt. They were saying, “Maybe it would be better if we weren’t here. Maybe it would be better if we didn’t follow the Lord.”
Caleb, who was victorious and had a great heart, said along with Joshua, “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: and their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.”
Caleb simply said, “All the land that God talked to us about is everything God said it was. Let us go in and possess it. Don’t give in to those discouraging thoughts that are in your minds. Don’t listen to those demons, those lying spirits, who come to lie to you and fill your mind with unbelief, doubt and discouragement. They tell you how it will not be worth it, and you cannot have it. Don’t listen to them. If the Lord’s blessing is upon thee, if heaven is open upon thee, if God’s grace is upon thee, surely He will give you all of the land—all the land that you want.”
What do you want? What do you need? What are you willing to fight for, that your children can grow up in the midst of the good land?
What you are willing to fight for is the heritage you leave for your children.