Leaving A Godly Inheritance
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Watch Leaving A Godly Inheritance video.
Key Scripture: Timothy 1:1-7; 3:14-15
I. Introduction: The word “inheritance” is usually associated with material possessions, 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 is imparted over the course of a lifetime when adults use godly words and display godly actions. But remember, you cannot give what you do not have. This is why both parents and grandparents are responsible for developing their own spiritual lives first.
The apostle Timothy is a wonderful example of someone who was blessed with such a treasure. When he was young, his mother and grandmother shared their faith and knowledge of Scripture with him, and because of it, he had a firm foundation to stand on when he was called into ministry.
II. Components of a Spiritual Heritage. There are many spiritual treasures you can leave to your children that will have a lasting impact on their lives. You can instill:
A. A desire to follow Jesus. Although you can’t pass on salvation, your desire for the Lord is contagious. When your children experience the joy you feel when you talk about Christ, they’ll also become interested in Him. Their interest in Christ comes from watching and seeing that He is the center of your life.
B. 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, challenge them to search God’s Word for answers.
C. An understanding of how to listen to the Lord. The most important thing in life is to learn 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 wait for answers. When they think the Lord has spoken, help them discern if what they heard is consistent with God’s Word.
D. 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. It also requires we admit mistakes and explain why it was wrong for us not to follow the Lord.
E. A faith that conquers the trials of life. Although we want to protect children from adult worries, we also need to let them know some of our struggles so they can see how we trust the Lord in hard times.
F. 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.
G. An orderly lifestyle. One of our jobs as parents is to provide disciplined lives for our children. Since they learn how to handle responsibilities from us, it is important that we demonstrate self-control in our actions, finances, diets, and schedules.
H. 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.
I. A generous hand. Every child enters this world bent away from God. As parents, we have a responsibility to teach them generosity because it won’t come naturally. When they see us freely sharing our money, possessions, and time, they’ll understand the joy of giving and how God is always faithful to provide for those who are charitable towards others (Luke 6:38).
J. Sincere love. 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.
III. Conclusion: We provide a spiritual inheritance to children in three ways. Most importantly, we do so by the pattern of our own lives. Secondly, we pass on the principles that govern our lives to them. That’s why it’s our responsibility to explain the Biblical truths we believe and follow. And finally, we provide a spiritual legacy through the power of our words as we interact daily with our children.