From January 11st to 14th, Holy Generation Conference was held, with the subject “Transformed to Transform”. There were four intense days of gathering with messages, lectures, worship moments and recreational activities. Meanwhile, something remarkable was produced in the partakers, who received content and encouragement to live their Christian life.
Those who participated could see the care involved in preparing the event for teenagers (11 to 17 years), but the content impacts people who are over this age range – I say it by personal experience. They are privileged to receive essential teachings in this life age, which is so crucial to their formation.
One of the main subjects developed throughout the Conference was the biblical understanding of identity. In a world where diverse and messy voices introduce themselves telling us who we are, we need a robust and transparent reference point concerning this subject. And it is in the Bible where we can find it.
A new life, hidden in Christ
The last message, given by our dear brother Marco Mello, touched deeply in this point. A pretty picture with a butterfly’s metamorphosis was used to talk about who we are and what God desires to do with our lives. We are in a transformation process. In Colossians 3:1-3, we read:
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
We, those who believe, we died with Christ to our old being; however, we were resurrected with Him. Now we have a new life, which can not be perceived by our latest experience, but it is hidden with Christ in God.
The transformation figure of a caterpillar into a butterfly help us to explain those things. We still don’t see this new life manifesting itself fully in us. We still have weaknesses; we even sin. However, we believe in what the Word says: we are in the process of being Christlike, and one day this new life will be fully expressed in us. Now we might be like a caterpillar, and the butterfly still cannot be seeing. But there is something hidden, reserved to the future! One day the metamorphosis will transform the caterpillar into a new being!
Leaving behind the search of the old life
Thus, why living as if we were just a caterpillar? Why searching the things of the old life without Christ? If we know that we have a new living, hidden in Him, we must live according to this new life. That is, we must “seek the things from above” and leave the search of the old life. Thereby, the Epistle to the Colossians proceeds:
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (v.5)
If we believe that we died with Christ to our old being and if resurrected to a new life of Christ in us, the sinful practices of the old nature must be left behind. But in whom we believe?
Perhaps the world tells me that my appearance defines me. If I believe in that, I’ll live seeking semblance. Or the world might say that my appearance depends on what I feel about myself. If I believe that, I’ll live depending on it. The world may still say that things that attract me define what I am. If I believe that, I#ll live based on these attractions.
However, all those things belong to the caterpillar, to the old life. God tells us who we are: we are His beloved children! The other searches will not bring peace to our heart! They are unrighteous and don’t make any sense. If we have a child of God’s life (and the children will become similar to Father), we need to seek the things of this new life.
Against the idolatry
How important is the understanding of our identity in Christ! Unfortunately, it is to easy to connect our way of seeing who we are to many things that are not biblical truth. We all tend to think that what God says about us is not enough and that we need other things. It was like this in the garden of Eden; Satan leads Adam and Eve to question God’s commandment about not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He said that, if they ate it, they would be like God, connoisseurs of good and evil (Gn 3:1-5). Thus, Adan and Eve disobeyed God, and likewise, so do we today, when we think that we need something beyond what He says, and we get ourselves involved in things that He disapproves. This behaviour is a way of idolatry, because we take the Word of God out of its place and define ourselves according to other words. We allow other teachings to rule over our hearts.
But, thank God, He comes to guide us. The many voices keep talking, but we follow the Bible, the words of the One that created us, saved us and turned us His beloved children! That’s why we need to live as children of God and seek the things of the new life that He gives us.
It is encouraging to receive such content at the conference. And not just the content, but to know the support of many beloved saints that walk with the teenagers and young people in this transformation process that will not be limited to us, but will reach others through us, because we are transformed to transform! May the Lord makes us conscious of who we indeed are in Him, and help us to help others to receive this understanding.
The Holy Generation Conference is a semiannual event held at Estancia Árvore da Vida, in Sumaré – SP. Usually, around 2 thousand people participate in the conference, that targets teenagers between 11 and 17 years, but also counts with the participation of volunteers of many ages.