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Friday, December 01, 2006

Passing On a Godly Heritage

"You only believe that because of the environment in which you were brought up."

"You only believe that because your Mom and Dad believe it"

"You only think that way because of your limited exposure."

"My Dad gave me liberty to make choices."

"My parents did not force me to agree with them."

These are statements that I have heard through my children for years now. Interestingly very few, I can't remember any, have had the courage to face the father with their scorn and contempt. Small people have small ways!

The most recent example of this is my 16 year old son who recently found some gainful employment in a small family business. As it turns out the gentleman involved is an agnostic. He has challenged my 16 year old son on everything from the credibility of the Bible, creation, separation, world religions, toleration (or the lack thereof), the way of salvation, and several other issues. I am happy to report that as of this writing my 16 year old son has effectively challenged and rebutted this college educated skeptic. My son has also expressed to him, his concern for his soul and where he is going to spend eternity.

This man on several occasion has told my son that the only reason he believes like he does is because of the way he was raised. Thank you kind sir for the complement. Our years of equipping our son has paid off. Thank God! I am really not troubled when unbelievers question the veracity of my children's beliefs based on the fact of the home they grew up in. But when the accusation comes from those who profess to believe the Bible then I feel as though a minor chord has been struck! Do they really believe the Bible and then dare to scorn the fact that my children have taken up the mantle of their parent's heritage? Do they really believe the Bible and then set themselves to vilify the fact that my wife and I have had some measure of success in grounding our children in the truth as we understand it.

To hear some people speak something has gone terribly amiss if the children do not grow up and abandon at least a portion of what their parents have claimed to hold dear. I guess my view is that if my children abandon my beliefs then something has gone amiss. If I read my Bible correctly it is a parent's responsibility to pass on a Godly heritage. Now we may disagree on just what that is, but can we disagree on the responsibility that having determined what it involves we are to pass it on?

As I have written in another place parents, particularly Dads are too quick to abandon aspects of their beliefs because they have been unsuccessful in passing it on to their children. When their children abandon it all of a sudden it was not that important anyhow. The fact is we fight an uphill battle to pass on a Godly heritage. It is not a casual approach that will effectively do this. There must be a great deal of earnestness. The law of entropy is alive and well in the spiritual realm. The tendency is for the coming generation to be less committed than the one before it. Now there are exceptions to this because at times God, as it were, intervenes to initiate a godly seed. I have been aware for many years now that my wife and I had an extremely difficult task before us to pass on our heritage to our children. Most everything is against it! Their own nature and flesh would be adverse to it. Our desire, our purpose was to raise kids who would continue in the path of holiness, separation, devotion, passion, and truth! Again, having had some degree of success I stand amazed that people who claim to believe the Bible ridicule the result and in reality the effort.

If my children had not embraced my teaching then whose? Would it be better for them to embrace the teaching of the culture around them? Would it be better for them to adopt the patterns of a worldly, carnal Christianity? Would it have been better for their peers to have influenced them?

I cannot accept the fact that if my children abandon some of the positions of their parents then they have really grown and revealed some maturity. I would hope my children would out distance their parents in piety, separation, passion, zeal, and commitment! I would be their biggest supporter in seeking to move it up a notch. I could not be happy about them taking it down a notch. I would not see that as success! I would be concerned about what that meant for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Grown children who live beneath the standards of their parents should be ashamed. There is no Biblical reason to rejoice in such a development.

Is there any Biblical basis for my position here. Well, I think the whole book of Proverbs establishes my premise. I will just give you a sampling!

Proverbs 1:8 - My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

Proverbs 2:1 - My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

Proverbs3:1-4,21-24 - My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. . . . My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Proverbs 4:10 - Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

Proverbs 4:20 - My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

Proverbs 5:1 - My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:

Proverbs 6:20 - My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

Proverbs 7:1 - My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

Proverbs 13:1 - A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

Proverbs 19:27 - Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:26 - My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 27:11 - My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

I can only hope and pray that my children will be content to "let the heathen rage" and rest content that the scripture declares them to be wise children for listening to and embracing the instruction of a godly Father and Mother. May their tribe increase and may they too bring forth a godly seed in the earth.

May they always realize the truth of Psalms 16:6 - The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
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