Have you ever thought about the kind of legacy that you are leaving for your family and your faith? Are you setting the proper example for your family to follow? Are you doing things that build up God’s kingdom here on this earth? For me, I always try to set a good example for my children to follow. I am certainly not perfect, but I want my children to notice beneficial Christian behaviors that they can emulate in their lives. I always try to use those moments when I do not act like I should to teach them a better way to handle life’s problems. Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. As parents we must train our children in the ways of our faith and we must also set good examples daily for them to follow. Our actions certainly speak louder than words.
Do you let words come out of your mouth that tears down others and does harm to your life as a follower of Christ? Are you so full of anger and bitterness and jealously that it consumes you? Do you judge others and condemn them while professing your faith in Christ? Are you kind and compassionate to others, forgiving them just as Christ has also forgiven you? Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. I want my children and family to focus on living a life that is lived for Christ. If we are trying to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world then we have no time for hate and anger towards others.
I am striving to instruct my children to put their faith and trust in things that are of eternal value instead of the things that the world values. The things of this world will certainly pass away, but the things that are eternal will last forever. Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. I want my children to place their trust and faith in God first and foremost and I try to model that for them each day that I live. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Deuteronomy 6:6-9: These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. We must always take the time to talk to and teach our children about our faith. Eating together as a family, praying and talking about our walk of faith can have a lasting impact on the faith development of our children. If we model that constantly, and teach our children the concepts of our faith and how to live a godly life, then they will pass that along to their children. Joshua 24:15: But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, calls us as his followers to be a “light” in the world. Matthew 5:14-15: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In my walk as a follower of Christ, I try every day to let my “light” shine so that my actions, my words, and my behavior reflects the “light” that we are to hold forth as disciples of the risen Christ. That is the legacy that I want to leave behind for my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and also for those that do not know the love, mercy and forgiveness that only Christ can offer. What kind of legacy will you leave behind?