Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How Can I Pass My Faith Along to My Children?

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

How do we raise our children "in the training and instruction of the Lord"? There may be many answers to this question, but one that isn't often spoken about is perhaps the simplest. It goes back to a pattern of life in Jewish culture, when the primary way of passing along their faith was through stories. They called it "oral tradition." Very few people had access to printed copies (i.e. handwritten) of the scriptures and so the way they passed along their faith was by telling and re-telling the accounts of how God had moved among his people.

This brings questions to my own mind: what kind of stories about God's love, faithfulness, power, etc. am I telling my children? Not just the stories we find in the scriptures (though certainly these), but what has he done in my life? What has my experience been with God? How have I experienced his movement in my life? His deliverance? His help? His faithfulness? These are the stories that my children will remember and these are the stories that will perhaps be more personal and real to them.

So, let me encourage you to think about how God has moved in your life through your struggles and triumphs. Those are stories to which your children will be personally drawn. These stories will help build their faith and confidence in God; it is a story of their family, their parents.

This is important for parents, but it is also important for Grandparents. Children are mesmerized by the stories of their grandparents.

"We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors; you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them." Psalm 44:1-4 (NIV)

So parents and grandparents, share your stories and in so doing you will inspire faith in the hearts of your children and grandchildren. Teach them of God's love, faithfulness, provision and power.

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