The word “inheritance” is usually associated with material possessions such as money, but there is another kind of legacy that’s even more valuable. Although it can’t be seen, counted, or measured, a spiritual inheritance is the most priceless gift you can pass on to your children and grandchildren. It’s imparted over the course of a lifetime when dads display consistent godly words and actions from the overflow of their own spiritual lives.
In his sermon “Leaving a Godly Inheritance,” Dr. Charles Stanley, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, explains how there are several divine treasures dads can leave their children that will have a lasting, powerful impact on their lives. They include:
- A desire to follow Jesus
Although you can’t pass on salvation, your desire for the Lord is contagious. Children experience the joy you feel when you talk about Christ. Their interest in Christ comes from watching and seeing that He is the center of your life.
~ How can you model a desire to follow Jesus in front of your children today?
- A reverence for God’s Word
No other book in the world can match the Bible, and parents have the responsibility to share it with their children. Let them see you reading the Word so they know how important it is. Be sure to give them Bibles and read to them regularly.
~ As your children grow, what are some creative ways you can challenge them to search God’s Word for answers?
- An understanding of how to listen to the Lord
The most important thing in life is learning how to listen to God. He can’t be perceived by our physical senses, so children must be taught to listen with their spirits. Instruct them to ask the Lord for direction and then wait for answers.
~ When they think the Lord has spoken, how can you help them discern if what they heard is consistent with God’s Word?
~ How can they keep track of those personal instructions from the Lord?
- A pattern of obedience
Since kids follow our examples more easily than our words, the best way to teach obedience is by modeling it. This means we must let them know when our actions are done out of submission to God.
How can you do this in an appropriate way according to your child’s level of understanding?
- A forgiving heart
Like all the other benefits of a spiritual heritage, this difficult one must be taught by example. Our children need to witness a forgiving response from us when we’re wronged. Christ holds nothing against us, so we don’t have a right to do it either.
~ Is there an opportunity for you to make a difficult situation better in relationship to your child today?
- A servant’s spirit
A willingness to serve others is a valuable quality that will benefit children throughout their lives. It’s up to us as adults to model this characteristic for them by unselfishly putting others first. Children will learn to imitate our servant-hearted behaviors.
~ Can you think of a way to serve others that could also be a fun family activity?
- Sincere love for others
All children need to feel loved. As they experience our genuine, unconditional affection, they’ll learn to give it to others. This kind of devotion is not demonstrated by the things we give them, but by pouring our lives into theirs.
~ Is there an opportunity today for you to express genuine, unconditional love toward your children?
We provide a spiritual inheritance to children in three ways:
1. Most importantly, we do so by the pattern of our own lives.
2. Secondly, we pass on the principles that govern our lives to them. That’s why it’s our responsibility to explain the biblical truths behind the truths we believe and follow.
3. Finally, we provide a spiritual legacy through the power of our words as we interact daily with our children.