Lesson 10 -- first quarter 2006
February 5, 2006
© Copyright 2006
The vision of parents
Children of godly parents are incredibly blest. Children whose godly parents have a vision for them are immeasurably blest. If you are such a child, don't wait until Thanksgiving Day to express your gratefulness to your parents and to God!
Some children, though, though do not appreciate their incredible and immeasurable blessing. They squander the vision and the opportunities.
What about you? If your heritage includes godly parents, they very likely have a vision for you. They may even have a mission for you! Do you know what your folks envision for you? If not, ask them. While you are at it, find out if they dedicated you to any particular purpose or mission. As a parent, I can assure you that if they don't have a vision or mission for you, your asking them will really set them to thinking and praying along those lines.
Do not preserve the status quo!
I appreciate the rich heritage of faith and practice left to me by my Christian and Anabaptist forefathers. I want to follow in their steps. I want their faith and commitment to be mine. I want their zeal to drive me. And I want to pass along to others that faith, practice, commitment, and zeal.
In following the faith of our fathers, though, we cannot allow our appreciation for them to obscure the reality that as men they were just as prone to error as we. That means we take their faith and practice as a starting point, not as the finish line. I believe God expects us to humbly build on the faith of our fathers, improving on it where it failed to reach the will of God.
The people of Judah were judged in part because they erred after the same errors and sins of their fathers (Amos 2:4-11). We need to beware of falling into the same life pattern. As Christians with a godly heritage, our task isn't to preserve the status quo, because then we will repeat the errors of our forbearers. God demands that we actively pursue the faith! We must be discerning in taking up the faith of our fathers, building on that which is godly and Biblical as well as casting aside anything which might fall short of that holy standard.
Does this mean we scour the teaching and practice that have been handed down to us, searching for the errors that "surely" exist? No! You see, such an approach turns our focus away from where it ought to be. Let's keep our focus on the Bible, God's holy Word. Let's determine to know God, His Word, and His ways. As we follow through on this kind of focus and commitment, God Himself will show us when and where the faith of our fathers needs improving and maturing in our own lives. May we be as noble as the Christians in Berea, who took the teaching given to them and "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Maybe you are a first-generation Christian. This whole business of living the Christian way is so contrary to so much of what you lived. You have no godly heritage to back you up. You are at an obvious spiritual disadvantage. Right?
Well, in a way, yes. However, I want you to consider just three spiritual advantages that are the birthright of every child of God. As you read these, keep in mind that these represent only a portion of the heritage and inheritance that God bestowed on you when you yielded to Him.
Forgiveness. The long-term Christian and the novice Christian would find themselves in desperate straits without forgiveness. We all need it because we all fail. Forgiveness gives us the privilege of returning to right standing with God. Forgiveness enables us to try again without our past sins weighing us down and hindering our efforts. Forgiveness stands us upright after we have fallen.
Fellowship. God knows that no one (neither I nor you) can walk in the narrow way alone. So He comes to walk with us by living in us. He comes to be our companion, friend, guide, and encourager. Without Him, we would be disadvantaged beyond help. With Him beside us, we truly live! While you rejoice in God's companionship, though, don't overlook another way He has blessed us. You see, in addition to walking with us, God also provides us the fellowship of the believers. Do not despise, minimize, or underestimate the value and importance of God's people. God has put them in your life for blessing!
Grace. I wonder how long it would take to count all the definitions that have been used for this term. As a dimension of spiritual heritage, though, let's simply consider it as the desire and power to do God's will. Every Christian receives from God an ample supply of grace! Without it, victory would happen infrequently, if at all. Without grace in our lives personally, we are doomed to defeat without regard to how long we or our ancestors have been in the faith.
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