See the Big Picture
Plant Seeds of Faith, Grow in Obedience…
Leave a LEGACY
ALL of us will leave behind something for the generations after us- good or bad. I’m not talking about an inheritance of money, but a spiritual legacy.
What are you leaving behind?
Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the here-and-now. Our tunnel vision blinds us to the bigger picture God wants us to see. We begin to focus on the finite rather than the infinite. We lose sight of the eternal perspective. We look at what we are getting right now, versus what we are giving for future generations.
Where does our hope lie if not in God’s plans for us… AND for the generations to come?
Spiritual legacy can start with you and extend through the generations that follow.
Some of us have parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and further who were (are) Christians, obedient to God, “heroes” of the faith. What a blessing to grow up in a family rich in spiritual legacy!
Others of us are the first in our family line to place our faith in Jesus Christ and live out the calling He’s given us. We get the blessing (through the Holy Spirit’s work and our obedience to God), of planting seeds for future generations to know the ONE from Whom all blessings flow.
Learn it, live it, give it
This is the motto of our church. It refers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I think it ties in nicely with the topic of legacy.
Leaving a Godly legacy is more than just telling your kids and grandkids about God; though that is a perfect place to start.
In Deuteronomy 6:5-9, we’re given an important charge from God: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
We start the conversation with our own faith; a faith that is rooted and built up in Christ. A faith that shows WE have learned that the most important thing in life is to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and might.
Our children will begin to learn the truth of the gospel through our example, watching God work perfectly in an imperfect life.
Faith doesn’t stop with just learning about what the Lord has done. Once the seeds are planted, God wants to make them grow. Check out this practical and impactful resource for more on spiritual growth: Principles of Spiritual Growth (by Miles J. Stanford).
We must live out the gospel in our daily lives.
It is perfectly possible for a person to remain a “baby Christian” their whole life- completely self-absorbed, self-focused, saved but stagnant; our growth stunted.
That is NOT the kind of legacy I want to leave!
Jesus called us to live a life devoted to Him and His saving message of grace and love; that includes making disciples…
…and discipling starts in our home, with the family God gave us.
Honestly… at home with my family is sometimes one of the toughest places to live out the gospel. My faith and obedience are tested- day in and day out- sometimes by the husband God gave me, often by the 4 little people He’s entrusted to us.
Though your family may look different from mine, can you relate?
Our sin nature tries to stunt our spiritual growth. It keeps us focused on the troubles and circumstances of the day. We don’t think growth (change) is possible, so we don’t strive for it. When we’re in survival mode, our mind is not thinking about leaving a legacy. We need a perspective shift.
This is when our faith in God and obedience to His Word is vital.
Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and Author and Perfecter of our faith
Take a minute to recall God’s purpose for our marriage, and the importance of our roles as parents
Remember HIS ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), He’s doing something bigger (and better) than we can see in that moment
Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Then, we’ll be able to see that at home with our family is exactly where legacy is lived out.
When we don’t feel like loving our spouse through their sin
When we feel stuck and can’t see anything good up ahead- Will this (insert ongoing issue) EVER change?!
When our patience is gone, and the children have touched our last nerve
THESE are the moments rich with opportunity for living out the gospel! THESE are the times when our family will witness our faith in action and see a picture of a faithful, loving God.
If we learn the gospel, we can live the gospel. If we live the gospel, we give the gospel.
Let’s look at a few examples in Scripture.
In Hebrews 11, we recount several stories of “Heroes of the Faith”: men and women who fixed their eyes on God’s eternal purposes and lived in obedience to His authority. Look at each of their stories and note 4 characteristics consistent in each:
FAITH- Each of them had a heart of faith that stretched far beyond what they could perceive or predict. It wasn’t a faith in themselves, but in a trustworthy God whose ways are better than theirs. They believed God’s promise to them, and it changed the way they lived.
OBEDIENCE- Because God gave them the gift of faith, His power was at work to change their hearts and make them obedient to His commands. The same is true for us; His Holy Spirit works in us, giving us hearts to love and obey Him.
COMPLIANT CHOICES- They were consistently compliant with God in the littlest (and biggest) of choices, even when it didn’t make sense in their finite minds. March around Jericho? Walk amidst a parted sea? Sacrifice a son?! And the list goes on…When God speaks and we listen and obey, amazing things happen.
LEGACY- All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it (Hebrews 11:13). THAT is living a legacy, giving it to future generations. The faith that they learned and lived kept them on the path to righteousness all the way to the end when they were leaving this world.
We need to strive for the same: planting seeds for future harvest, even if we don’t get to see them grow and bloom this side of eternity.
Hosea 10:12 says, Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for NOW is the time to seek the LORD, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you.
How do we do that?
In the seemingly insignificant things like:
Putting aside my hobby to spend time with my hubby
Loving when it’s least deserved
Confessing when it seems impossible
Taking the extra minute to discipline in love, rather than yell from the kitchen
Investing time and attention to the people God has loving hand-picked and placed in our life
Vow to change: an encouraging call to action
Dig into God’s Word (ask your spouse to join you!). Write down answers to the following questions:
What does the Bible say about inheritance and legacy?
Make a list of what you are consistently doing that has eternal value
Ask your spouse to help you get an accurate picture of the kind of spiritual legacy you are leaving. Is it one of love, grace, forgiveness, boldness, obedience and faith?
What action steps can I (we) take to start changing my (our) legacy into one that is eternal?
How will living with the priority of leaving a Godly legacy affect my marriage? Children? Grandchildren?
Remember: God will grow the seeds of faith planted today into obedience tomorrow. Obedience to God’s Word, day after day, in the little and big things, will bring about a harvest of legacy for the future. Legacy- a lasting, spiritual one- will allow us to confidently know that one day we will stand before God and hear His restful, reassuring, most rewarding words: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
Check it out
Want more food for thought? Check out the Appetizers and Desserts post for Hope for a Hurting Marriage series and find 15 “bite-sized” bits of wisdom to quickly bring hope to your marriage.
Listen to the corresponding podcast:
How to Help a Hurting Marriage: Legacy (Part 13):: Episode 105