There are two realities we as believers must hold in conflict if we are to live out what the Bible teaches about family. First of all, every believer is accountable to God for themselves. Second of all, God’s covenants are for all our generations. In my context a great deal of emphasis is placed on our personal testimonies. Testimonies are encouraged to be organized into three easy steps. Who I was before Jesus, how I met Jesus, and who I was after. There is nothing wrong with this approach, except that it alienates second or more generation Christians. Christians who from their earliest memories were following Jesus often leave discussions like this on how to tell your testimony discouraged and feeling like they don’t have much to offer. This is harmful to the Church. Wrongly it is assumed that first generation believers are greater than second. Worst of all it does not take into account the testimony of a family that produced believing children, which is one of the greatest testimonies of all. With the Israelites as our example we can begin to see how this is worked out. There is no more repeated story in the Bible than that of the crossing of the Red Sea. That was the moment in time when Israel was called out to become the people of God. It is their family salvation story. It is the story of how they were called out from being slaves to foreign gods, to become a nation set apart to the one true God. Each generation had to grapple with who God is for themselves, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much. But throughout their history they saw their salvation story as beginning with the crossing of the Red Sea. Those of us who are privileged to have received our faith from believing parents should have ownership in the salvation of our family. The story of our parents, their parents, however many generations we have to go, is our story. That is when our family salvation story began. We should not sit there and try to figure out what deep sin or danger God delivered us from personally. We should look and see the extreme blessings that were present in our lives because our family was following Jesus. This can be a very difficult mentality switch to make for a few reasons. First of all, Western culture, and much of church culture, celebrates victimhood. Admitting we are not victims both disqualifies us from many cultural affirmations, and places our failures squarely on our own shoulders. Secondly, we rarely think of ourselves generationally anymore. We have to learn to think and speak of our identity tied up to our family. Doing this can expose unhealthy preconceived ideas about our own personal need to be valuable on our own. It is humbling to discover that we not only received grace and faith from Jesus himself in our personal relationship with Him. We also received grace and faith through our parents and ancestors as they prepared the way for us through their relationships with Christ. As inheritors of families that have been following Jesus we have the privilege of getting to tell our testimony a bit differently . Who was our family before they chose to follow Jesus? How did they meet Jesus? What blessings are we living in now because of God’s faithfulness to our family? Telling our testimony in this way can be powerful. It reminds the Church that our children are members with us in the people of God. It teaches those who don’t yet believe that God goes far beyond immediate gratification, to transform generations to come.
Bible, bible study, Biblical spirituality, biblical theology, Children, Christianity, family, Family History, meditation, pastoral, Testimony
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