When I consider the powerful passage of Scripture found in Psalm 78:4-7, I am humbled by the responsibility of passing on the faith and yet excited at the joy it is to be able to pass down the wonderful promises and truths of the Bible.
Looking at this text, I learned so much of what the Lord wants for us and from us. I considered five ways in which we as parents can pass on the faith to our children and the next generation. And in keeping with my father’s love of alliteration in his message points, I would like to suggest the “Five Cs” of passing on the faith.
COMING to the Lord in prayer is an essential beginning to passing on the faith. How can we begin to pass on the faith, to nurture our children in the faith, without first coming before the throne of God earnestly seeking His face? Faith Nelson, a fellow member at Grace Free Lutheran, told me once that she outlined each of her children’s hands on a piece of paper and then wrote specific areas of need for that child on the drawing of the hand. This is something that I have adopted as I pray for them daily, “laying hands on them.”
CULTIVATE a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in your children. There is no greater joy from a parent than when one’s own child accepts Jesus as Savior and desires to live a life full out for Him. Verse 5 talks about “establishing a testimony.” Reminding your children of their commitment to the Lord by asking, “How is your walk with the Lord?” or, “What are you discovering in your devotional times?” are important steps to take with your children, not only when they are young, but all throughout their lives, “That they not forget the works of God” (vs. 7).
My mother is one who has been an incredible example to me as one who loves her devotional time and encourages me as a busy mother to not forsake it. As a little girl, I would often see my mother’s Bible lying open on the counter, and every so often as she would pass through the kitchen throughout her busy day, she would pause and read for a few seconds and then carry on with her daily tasks. I once asked her about why she did this. She answered, “I didn’t get to spend as much time as I needed in my devotions this morning, so I am snacking on the Word throughout my day.” What a powerful testimony that was to me. I have embraced that habit of keeping my Bible open on the counter on those more demanding days and have loved “snacking and ruminating” on the Word of God throughout my busy days. What a blessing this has been.
CONVERSATIONS of Christ is the third consideration. Verse 4 talks about “showing to the generation to come … the wonderful works he has done.” Saturate your everyday conversations with your children about the wonders of God. Our youngest, Ruby, has grown accustomed to saying now after every cut or scrape, “Well, God will be working on healing that owie while I sleep.” When your child can look at the beauty of God’s creation and know without a shadow of a doubt its miraculous origin and praise the Creator first and foremost, that is something to get excited about. “God sure made gardens and growing things cool!” our 7-year-old Bennett announced to me the other day.
CONSISTENCY in worship is also a vital part of passing on the faith. If we are to pass on the faith as commanded in Psalm 78, can we do that adequately if we are neglecting our times of worship? Hebrews 10:25 declares this so well, “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” We as parents need the encouragement of other believers and so do our children. We need the faithful teaching from the Word and so do our children. Worship with a church family, as well as one’s own family devotional worship, is so important.
COMFORT of the Scriptures is the final thought. My father was one to encourage memorization of Scripture. As a young teen, I still remember sitting in the living room with my mom, my two brothers and two of my sisters reciting from memory the entire book of James. Memorization of Scripture has always been stressed as so important in our family. The other night, as my dear husband, Justin, was leading devotions, we had a time of sharing Bible verses. On and on went the sharing, each child speaking up with a verse and then another and then another. After several minutes of sharing, we had to finally say, “It’s time for bed!” But as I sat in the darkness of that bedroom and listened to each one of my children speak up, I couldn’t help but cry. Tears of thankfulness to the Lord for allowing me to be able to share the ultimate joy of my Savior with my children and knowing that they embrace it as well, brings me tremendous happiness.
Passing on the faith: It is something we as Christian parents need to be diligent about. It needs to be intentional. I am encouraged by II Timothy 3:15, “… and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Rachel Jones is a member of Grace Free Lutheran, Maple Grove, Minn.