Parents' role is to pass down the faith to their children who will in turn pass it down to their children who will in turn pass it down to their children. And so faith can thrive from generation to generation.
There is a great example of this found in Scripture. Read this passage with me.
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:5
In this passage, we see faith was passed down through three generations. Lois the grandmother, Eunice the mother and Timothy the son.
There is one word in this verse that I believe is vital if families want to pass down their faith to their children and if churches want to pass on the faith to the next generation. Do you know what the word is?
It's the word - SINCERE.
What kind of faith did Lois and Eunice have? Sincere faith.
Kids are much smarter than we realize. They can very quickly spot faith that is not sincere. When they see parents and church leaders who talk the talk on Sunday, but don't walk the walk on Monday, why should they want to receive that kind of faith? Much less pass it on? Kids won't follow a "fake faith."
As church leaders, we must demonstrate a sincere faith for the next generation. As parents, we must live out during the week, what we said "Amen" to on Sunday morning.
A sincere faith is very appealing. A sincere faith is hard to argue with.
A sincere faith is the kind of faith that gets passed down to the next generation.Paul also mentions that the faith Timothy had received from his mother and grandmother was a living faith. People could look at their lives and see a faith that was being lived out by their words, actions and beliefs.
The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead.
Dead faith doesn't produce living faith in kids and grandchildren.Living faith. It gets passed down and lives on in the second and third generation.
Sincere faith. It's what we must possess, if we want to see the next generation have the same faith.
We must remember that we teach what we know, but we produce what we are.I can guarantee you something. Lois and Eunice lived their faith out. As Timothy saw his mother and grandmother living out their faith, he was compelled to also possess this faith and live His life in accordance with it.
This doesn't mean we have to be perfect to be a conduit of faith. But it does mean that when we sin or our talk doesn't match our walk, then our kids and grandkids see us humbly admit our failure and ask God for forgiveness.
Be encouraged parents, even if you haven't been an example of sincere faith for your kids up to this point, you can start today. Get with God. Ask Him to forgive you and help you be a faith example your kids can follow.
Be encouraged church leaders, you still have time to impact the next generation. Reach out to them with a sincere faith and you can see it passed down to their kids and eventually to their grandkids.
No matter what your "faith passing down" situation has been up to this point, God offers you forgiveness and a fresh start. He can use you to pass along a sincere faith starting today...right now. Just admit to Him your failures and watch as He infuses you with a fresh faith that can change not only your life, but your kids' and grandkid's lives as well.
For many years, there was no faith in my family. My great-grandfather was a criminal. He produced and distributed illegal alcohol during the prohibition days. He was eventually sent to prison for murder. My grandfather followed in his footsteps, becoming a violent man who had his nose broken multiple times in bar fights. Faith and church were no where on the radar. He was simply living out what he had seen modeled by his father.
But then things changed. A caring neighbor invited our family to attend church with them. Eventually my grandmother and father went. For the first time, they heard that things could be different if they met Jesus. They both entered a relationship with Jesus and their lives were changed. My father was called by God to be a minister and he lived that calling out with sincerity and life changing zeal. God worked through him to reach my grandfather with the Gospel and my grandfather's life was changed as well. God took away the anger and violence and replaced it with love and kindness.
What was to follow has been the story of a changed legacy. Generations later, that sincere, genuine, living faith is still being actively passed down. God continues writing a story of grace in our family as we continue to pass it down to our kids, grandkids and great grandkids.
What an incredible opportunity you have to pass on a sincere, living faith to the coming generations of your family. What an incredible opportunity you have to help parents and families get a sincere faith that will impact them for generations to come.