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5 strengths Gen Z needs to learn from you (book excerpt)

What Kind of World Is Generation Z Facing?

The Lord requires certain purposes of all believers: to do right, live right and become more like Jesus. Yet, our lives also have a specific purpose. When we understand the Father’s love, we can begin to dream His dreams for us.

Joseph started dreaming after receiving from his father a coat of many colors. Those dreams later birthed his life’s vision. I believe that, like Joseph, when we speak our dream, we set into motion something supernatural.

On May 13, 1900, Wilbur Wright wrote to the worldwide authority on flight that he was certain manned flight was possible and was arranging to spend a few months experimenting on it. 3 years later, the Wright brothers achieved the first manned flight.

Speaking the dream starts the process toward purpose. Significantly, today’s Generation Z is dreaming dreams, but they need help in navigating the path to see their dreams become realities.

There are 5 strengths young people need our help to develop.

1. Endure the Difficulty

Generation Z needs to know how to endure the difficulty. Joseph may have understood God’s purpose from a young age, but his path included being tossed into a pit, sold into slavery, made a servant, and thrown into jail. Finally, he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was made the regent of all of Egypt.

Most people endure a lot to see their God-given dream come to pass. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

At age 10, Jim Carrey became enamored with acting. He tried to break into show business. But when Jim was 14 years old, his father lost his job. His family moved into a Volkswagen van on a relative’s lawn. Carrey and his siblings worked eight-hour shifts after school.

At age 15, Carrey performed his first comedy routine onstage in a suit his mom made. He totally bombed. But he did not abandon his dream. Finally, he dropped out of school, moved to Los Angeles, parked on Mulholland Drive, and visualized his success. One night, in a moment of inspiration, he wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered.” Carrey dated the check for Thanksgiving, 1995.

Just before Thanksgiving, 1995, Jim Carrey got a multimillion-dollar contract for Dumb and Dumber. He kept that old check in his wallet until his father died, then placed it in his father’s casket. Jim Carrey endured and saw his dream come true.

When God gives a vision and a purpose, the road to fulfillment is not usually an easy one. To fulfill their purpose, young people need to understand that they’ll have to do whatever is required. God will help by His grace.

2. Refuse to Compromise

While Joseph was working in Potiphar’s house, he encountered a tempting situation. Potiphar’s wife tried multiple times to seduce him into sleeping with her. One day, while she was attempting to entice him, Joseph escaped, leaving his slave coat in her hands.

God says to this generation in the same way: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness” (2 Timothy 2:22).

To fulfill their destiny, Generation Z must resolve not to sacrifice their future on the fleeting altar of good feelings. Help them understand that when they keep their integrity, they will keep their favor.

3. Prepare for the Possibilities

Joseph was prepared to excel in whatever situation he was placed. When his time came to interpret dreams, he was ready. Joseph learned about dreams firsthand by witnessing how his dreams came to pass.

When Pharaoh had a dream that he could not explain, Joseph told him exactly what it meant. He was ready for the opportunities that came his way.

Generation Z must prepare for possibilities, so when doors open, they can step through them. Teach them that purpose requires preparation.

4. Pardon the Pain

Perhaps the greatest threat to fulfilling purpose is how others respond. Generation Z must have deeply ingrained in their hearts: Forgiveness is a purpose propellant.

Joseph was mistreated and betrayed by his brothers. He forgave them. Joseph let go of what would keep him from fulfilling his purpose. He pardoned the pain others had caused him, and it propelled him into his purpose.

5. Focus on the Finish

Generation Z needs to stay focused on the finish. Near the end of his life, “Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place’” (Genesis 50:25). The New Testament writer records, “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).

Working with students one day, I had a vivid flashback of myself as a young adult. The Lord reminded me of feelings I felt as a 17 to 20-year-old, and he spoke to my spirit: “Don’t forget what this felt like, Billy. Remember the uncertainty you had and tell the students to relax. Tell them that God’s got them and remind them to never forget whose clothes they’re wearing.”

We need to remember what it’s like to be young so we can minister to today’s generation.

Let’s help Generation Z to dream and dream big. When they are sure they are dreaming God’s dream — and it has been confirmed two or three ways in their hearts — they need to speak it out and let God activate the purpose-process in their lives

Adapted from Generation Z: Born for the Storm. Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Billy Wilson. Published by Empowered Books (an imprint of ORU Press) and Forefront Books. All rights reserved.

Dr. Billy Wilson is president of the historic, globally recognized Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is devoted to developing Holy Spirit-empowered leaders through whole person education to impact the world. With three decades of executive leadership experience, Wilson is recognized as a global influencer and dynamic speaker with unwavering ethics and an undeniable passion for equipping new generations.

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