Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. Deuteronomy 32:46 NLT
What I had now wouldn’t do me any good.
I come from a rich genealogical faith heritage. I can’t remember an ancestor who didn’t express some level of faith: my two great-grandmothers who lived until I reached seventeen, my grandparents—most of whom lived until I was a young adult, and my parents. Though I don’t recall it, I’m sure they read Bible stories to me when I was a young lad.
When I was five or six years old, Dad gathered me and Mom to read the Bible, not a Bible story. He skipped nothing. Including the genealogical lineages. From an early age, I learned the Bible stories that Sunday school teachers would reinforce on Sunday mornings.
But until I was nine, I had borrowed my faith from parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. At that time, I decided to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and accept me as His child. He did, but my faith remained borrowed to a great degree. I believed about the Bible—and other things—only what my father and mother believed.
Not until I went to college did I own my faith. Here I discovered that not all Christians believed the same things my father did about matters the Bible isn’t clear on. I made my own studies and came to my own conclusions, rather than adopting my professors’.
This is what Moses challenged the new generation of Israelites to do. He would soon die because of his disobedience to God while in the wilderness. As a part of his last words to them, Moses told them to pass along God’s Word to their children. Yet, the children would have to make it their own.
At the end of time, I can’t stand before God and tell Him what wonderful parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents I had. It won’t matter—and He already knows. He won’t let me into heaven because of my family’s faith heritage. I only get in because of my faith, not on the coattails of someone else.
Faith must be adopted individually, as I did at nine years of age. No one can make the decision for us. Neither do good works enter the picture. We are responsible for passing the faith heritage down through our family lines, but each one much choose for themselves whether they’ll believe. We must own it ourselves.
Is your faith yours, or does it belong to someone else?
Prayer: Father, remind us that our faith must be individually expressed in Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Tweetable: Where are you on the faith scale?
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