Faith for All Generations
By Dr. Michelle Anthony
If we want our faith to endure for all generations, we must become increasingly confident and focused about the kind of faith we are trying to pass on to our children and grandchildren.
Let’s look at what God has to say about faith. First, when Jesus speaks of His imminent return in Luke 18:8, He says, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” He actually told us what He would expect from us. He could have said a myriad of things, but He said “faith”.
In Psalm 78 we find a blueprint of God’s grand method for faith replication throughout all generations. He chose to use the family as the primary place to nurture faith.
The psalmist, Asaph, unveils God’s plan:
I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers—
a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. (Psalm 78: 2–8)
Having faith is not about just “doing good stuff.” Jesus made this point when He gave the example of how we are to abide in the Vine. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NASB).
We are the branches. He is the Vine. The vine is the plant’s food source. It is the way the branches are nourished with nutrients and water, which bring life to the budding fruit. Apart from Him we can do nothing. He instructs us that as we abide, then and only then will we bear fruit. There’s also a caution in this for us to not just do “good stuff” without the power source that makes it good: God. I love the visual embedded in this passage.
Intellectually, I understand that only God can change lives. But I confess to you that I am tempted daily to simply “try harder” to walk this life of faith. Not only do I find this temptation in my own life, but I also struggle enormously not to impose this false faith on my children by encouraging them to “try harder” as well. How foolish I am when I either try in my own efforts to be transformed, or more foolish yet, when I ignore altogether the path that He has set out for me!
Determine today that you will lean into your heavenly Father’s plan for passing on faith in your family. Cling to Jesus and allow His presence and character to be put on display in your home. As you do this, He will germinate and grow faith in your family that will endure throughout the generations.
About the Author
Dr. Michelle Anthony
Family Ministries Consultant, Discipleship Ministries