The roots of olive trees grow in rocky soil. The shoots mature slowly, bearing no fruit until they are seven years old. Even then, the olives the tree produces are bitter to the taste. A good olive harvest often takes 10 to 15 years, but the tree, if planted properly, can live for 20 generations.

It is in these terms that God describes the children of those who fear the Lord: like an olive tree with roots penetrating into crags and with growth gradual and slow (see Psalm 128:3). Such a tree is worth the wait and not easily uprooted.

Read Psalm 128. Children who are as strong and fruitful as olive trees don’t grow automatically. They come to those who fear the Lord and who walk in His ways. Godly children are often a byproduct of godly living.

There is immense pressure to think of our children as consumers of culture and extend this way of thinking into the church. We give them a good time, keep Bible teachings at surface level, and market to them what we think they want. Yet that kind of Christian faith will never stand up to the battering attacks of the enemy because it fails to put Jesus Christ at the front and center of life.

Our responsibility to the next generation is to train up warriors for Christ—and the best way to do that is to become warriors ourselves. Just as the grower tends to and nurtures the olive tree, we may plant and water, but it is God who will bring the lasting growth. So, let’s fear the Lord by seeking after Him with all our hearts and by trusting Him to grow our children into the men and women He desires them to be.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving me the tools I need not only to be a strong warrior for You but also to spiritually equip the young people in my life. Thank You that You are the one who ultimately brings the growth. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Building Godly Families: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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