grandparent and child

I’m fascinated by the stories of my ancestors. I want to know where they came from, what they were like, and if they lived in a way to leave a valuable spiritual legacy. Their stories help me understand how I got to be “me.” Maybe you feel the same way.

The Bible places great value on knowing our family history, specifically our faith roots. The stories of those who have come before us can strengthen our faith today and encourage us to build a valuable spiritual legacy. As we live intentionally for God, we lay a foundation of faith for those who come after us.

When our three children were growing up, my husband and I worked to encourage their faith. In hindsight, I see some gaps in our discipling. We could have been more purposeful in some areas. Looking toward the future, I want to take advantage of every opportunity God give us with our grandchildren. (If you want to hear some stories of faith and discover some practical ways to build a spiritual legacy, check out my new devotional book “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith.“)

What legacy do you want to leave your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? For other members of your extended family? The most valuable heirloom we can pass down is a legacy of faith. Plus, it’s a God-given responsibility. (See also “God’s Design for Spiritual Legacy.“) While we can’t believe for any of our loved ones, we can teach them about our great God and create an atmosphere in our homes where trust in Him can flourish. The following four principles from Scripture are a solid place to start building your own valuable spiritual legacy.

  1. Be intentional about teaching God’s Word

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV

Timothy “caught” the faith of his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). They paved the way for his salvation by faithfully teaching him the Old Testament Scriptures. We can do the same for our children and grandchildren. Depending on their age, we can do things like read bedtime Bible stories, have family devotions, make a game out of Scripture memory, and hold a yearly Grandkid camp! Those suggestions are just the beginning.

  1. Model a life of faith founded on God’s Word

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes in Israel. Ezra 7:10 ESV

Ezra, a leader during the post-exilic period, didn’t just teach God’s Word. First, he set his heart to obey it. What we do always speaks louder than our words. Telling children to base their lives on God’s Word is far easier than showing them how to do it, day after day. But if we long for our families to experience the joy and blessing of living a life that pleases God, they need a real-life model. They need someone to show them how it’s done.

Before we can effectively teach God’s Word to our children, we must live it. And before we can live it, we must know it. When we make reading and studying God’s Word a priority, our children will notice. When they see us open our Bible and watch us obediently follow God, they’ll know we aren’t all talk.

  1. Encourage a mindset of faith

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV

Valuable legacy building is a way of life. We invest in it as we go through our day. Yes, we must be purposeful and intentional, but as we faithfully continue in that commitment to instill a love for God in our children, it also becomes a natural part of the flow of our days. For instance, when we spot a rainbow during the commute to school, we will remind our children of God’s promises. When we learn a friend is sick, we stop and pray for them together.
  1. Help them remember what God has done

And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’” Joshua 4:21-22 ESV

When God pushed back the rushing waters of the Jordan River so His people could cross into the Promised Land, God commanded Joshua to set up 12 large stones gathered from the dry river bed. These stones were to be set up by the river as memorial stones, a long-lasting reminder of God’s mighty deed. And, they served as a great conversation starter with their children.

These stones were a spiritual marker. They memorialized God’s great activity and provided concrete opportunity for one generation to tell the next. Create your own opportunities to tell your family’s God stories by establishing spiritual markers. Connect a God story to a physical item in your home, then make sure your children know the story. (For more on spiritual markers see “That’ll Leave a Mark.”)

“I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” 3 John 1:4, NLT

In what ways do you purposefully work to build a lasting and valuable spiritual legacy?

I’d be honored if you’d consider “Heirloom” as a resource for your legacy building!

Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” tells stories of the past that will impact our faith today. These 52 heart-felt reflections reveal the seeds of our faith―seeds that sprouted and took root, growing through the centuries to today. Heirloom weaves these stories of faith and family history with Scripture, beautiful artwork, and ancestry research tips and techniques. Through these stories of persevering faith you’ll discover the potential your story has to impact future generations. (See “Heirloom” on Amazon.)

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