Want your children to love God and follow Him? God does too. His plan for our children’s faith begins with us. God’s plan includes a design for spiritual heritage, where each generation passes our faith to the next.
God’s Spiritual Heritage Design in Scripture
We see God’s design scattered all throughout Scripture. The most familiar passage is probably Deuteronomy 6:4-9. (For more on this passage see this post.) God tells His people to teach His Words diligently to our children. To talk about them when we sit at home, when we go out, when we rise, and when we lie down. His Word should be woven into the fabric of our family.
Timothy’s spiritual heritage is my favorite New Testament example. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he highlighted the younger man’s “sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s mother and grandmother faithfully taught him God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:14-15) and modeled godly lives.
Even in the Psalms we find God’s design for His people to pass faith to the next generation. Not long ago, I “discovered” a prescription for spiritual heritage in Psalm 78:1-8:
My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
“Do this… So that…”
I noticed a “do this… so that…” format in the psalm. If we as parents follow God’s design for passing down our faith, then our children will be impacted in these ways. Here’s what I found in the passage:
- Teach our children God’s law
- Tell our children about the hope we have in the Lord
- Tell our children about God’s mighty works
- Encourage our children to obey God
- Our children will know God’s commands
- Our children will obey God’s commands
- Our children will be steadfast and faithful to God
- Our children will have hope in God
We don’t have to merely hope that our children will claim God as their own. We can take purposeful action to encourage them to find their eternal hope in Him.
What are some ways you’ve seen in Scripture that we can instill a spiritual heritage in our children?