A Parent’s Legacy
Yesterday was Father’s Day and celebrating it reminds me of a question for any parent—what’s the most important legacy you can pass down to their children?
In my view, it’s our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s something so radically important for us to leave—not just to our kids, but also through generations of our family.
First, if our faith is going to survive for generations, it must be real. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:5, “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you.” The word translated genuine is an interesting word. According to the Word Study Dictionary, “Originally it meant in experienced in the art of acting. In the New Testament, it came to mean one without hypocrisy or pretense, unfeigned, genuine, real, true and sincere.”
Friends is we expect our faith to be passed down to our kids, their kids and succeeding generations, it must be real, not an act that’s just happening on Sunday morning. Now, let me say I also realize that we who are parents are not perfect. We’ll blow it at times. But, in the long run, if we are going to see our kids grow up and embrace our faith, it’s got to have some reality in it. We’ve got to admit our mistakes in front of our kids, seek God’s face in prayer, and move ahead. They’ll see our testimony is real as we seek God every day through the good and the bad.
Second, if we expect our faith is going to survive, it must be deeply part of us. Paul goes on in this letter to Timothy and says, “The genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” The word “dwell” is typically used to mean, “to dwell in or with someone.” Paul uses a word picture to show that these godly people’s faith literally lived within them. It’s the same word Paul uses in Romans 8:11 to describe the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Paul is encouraging us to have a faith that is a part of everything we do, not one that comes and goes. Eunice and Lois had faith that indwelt them. It was evident all of the time.
Third, if our faith is going to survive generations, it must be infectious. Timothy had a Greek father who was not a believer. However, Timothy’s mother and grandmother took Timothy under their spiritual wings. 2 Timothy 3:14 says, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. “
Timothy was drilled in the faith and these godly women did it in such a way that it caught Timothy’s attention. They made their faith exciting and transferable.
Lastly, so that our children and our children’s children can share our faith, we must be bold with it. We need to freely declare our faith and demonstrate our faith to our kids in every way we can. Not just in good or bad situations, but in everyday things like prayer and devotions. We need to be excitedly bold about it because deep down, we believe God’s promises in His Word. We need to live in the light of those promises and show our kids confidence of who we are, and who they are in Christ. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:13–15, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
Our kids see bold confidence as we know, believe and ask while standing firmly on His promises.
I’ll end with this: What can you do to show your kids your faith? What can you do to let them see your faith in action?