Summary: You can partner with the Lord in shaping the spiritual heritage of your family and friends.
Are you aware of your spiritual heritage?
We can all trace our biological heritage through both our mother and father’s side of our families. But to whom do you attribute your spiritual heritage?
Shaping a family’s spiritual heritage is a partnership with the Lord. Your job a parent is to prepare the ground, plant the seed and nurture it. The Lord’s job is to bring that seed to life.
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, teaches us that you can shape the spiritual heritage of your family and friends by actively pursuing some vital biblical principles.
I) HOLDING ON TO HOLINESS
There are so many things about our past lives that we could be ashamed of and hope that our kids never repeat. If we’re honest with ourselves most of us would be in that boat.
Luke the historian tells us that Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were …
… upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years (Luke 1:5-7 NIV).
Your history doesn’t have to disqualify you from leading your children down the path to purity. Your sin does not disqualify you from teaching God’s values and commands to your children and others. Flawed parents are fully qualified to guide their children in righteous living.
You may have failed in one particular battle with sin, but they don’t have to. You may not be sinless, but you can point to the One who is. You can say, “Don’t do as I did – you will only get hurt. Do what God says and live.”
II) PRAYING ON IN HOPE
The second thing we learn from Elizabeth about shaping your spiritual heritage is to pray on in hope.
But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years (Luke 1:7 NIV)
But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John (Luke 1:13 NIV).
It took some years, but now Zechariah and Elizabeth had the answer to their prayer waiting just around the corner.
So how can we pray in order to “till the soil” of our spiritual heritage? Here’s some pointers:
a. Pray for the pulling down of Satan’s strongholds.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
b. Pray for their eyes to be opened to see the magnificence of God.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4)
c. Pray in faith.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14-15).
d. Pray understanding that nothing is impossible for the Lord.
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:25-26)
III) HAVING A BIG PICTURE FAITH
The third thing we learn from Elizabeth about shaping your spiritual heritage is to have a big picture faith.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John." They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name" (Luke 1:59-61 NIV)
The name “John” means “Grace-of-God.” It indicated the great miracle of John’s birth to aged parents. God had smiled on Elizabeth and Zechariah – he had been gracious towards them. But John’s name was also a prophetic vision of his life’s purpose. He would usher in the “Grace of God” – Jesus Christ.
What is your preferred future for your children? The apostle Paul wrote …
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
The things that really matter in this life are all about the unseen world of the eternal – everything else is short-term.
You can set your kids up for life by teaching them a foreign language. But you can set them up for eternal life by teaching them the heavenly language of “prayer.”