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Passing on a Heritage of Faith to Your Grandchildren

We need to be grandparents who focus on what matters, on what lasts.
By Lynda Freeman


Grandparents, here is an inconvenient truth which you may not want to think about: No matter how much you try to fool the mirror—or yourself—the truth is you are not getting any younger.  Neither am I.

Why do I mention this “inconvenient truth”? If we do not understand and accept this truth, we cannot act upon it. And we must act upon it if we are serious about passing on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren.

We are not getting any younger.  And neither are our grandchildren.

It matters if we are sharing Jesus with our grandchildren, because most people make the decision to follow Jesus between the ages of 4 and 13 … just nine short years. Years which are gone in a heartbeat—or at least it seems like it. As grandparents we remember how fast our own children grew up and know we cannot afford to put off pointing our grandchildren to Jesus.

When it comes to passing on a heritage of faith, we need to be grandparents who focus on what matters, on what lasts. For us it means the following … 

1. We must redeem the days we are given (Psalm 90:12). Our lives are a gift from the hand of God. We must be wise and make the most of every opportunity He gives to share His love with our grandchildren and how they can love Him back.

2. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow (Psalm 39:4), so what we say and do today really does matter.

3. If we have grandchildren, then clearly God wants us to pass on our faith to them (Deuteronomy 4 and 6). This is truly important. If our grandchildren grow up to not love, follow, and walk with God, nothing else will matter. Passing on our faith is what lasts and what matters.

4. We should focus first on helping our grandchildren understand how God offers them life through Jesus' obedience (Romans 5:18-21). Because Jesus obeyed and went to the cross, we are able to have eternal life when we accept God's grace. Our grandchildren do not have to live trying to pay for their sins by keeping a list of rules none of us can keep. They do not have to live defeated by disobedience. God offers His grace as a gift and it changes everything!

5. We want to focus secondly upon helping our grandchildren grow in their walk with God (1 Peter 2:2), so they become people who love, know, and follow Him throughout their lives. This is what passing on a heritage of faith is all about. This is what lasts!

So how do we do this?

We need to keep our focus on what truly matters; on those things which last, so let’s take a few minutes to consider what this looks like. We need to:

1. Live in a way that shows God’s fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We can tell our grandchildren about God and His love for them, but if we do not model to them how our lives have been changed by Jesus’ obedience and God’s grace, our words will just be empty. But when they see our lives reflect God’s grace, love, and joy, our words will make a lasting impact.

2. Watch for opportunities to share the Good News with your grandchildren (1 Peter 3:15). In the day-in-day-out living of our lives, opportunities will arise to share God and His grace; watch for them and take advantage of these opportunities!

3. Be intentional and plan special times to share the Good News with your grandchildren (Deuteronomy 6). With younger grandchildren you might read a book, work on a science project, or go for a walk in a forest. As you do these things, connect how the project points to God or marvel in how God created everything they see. Point out that He created them as well. With older grandchildren, you might plan a special time together where you talk and share how God is working in your life.

4. Read God's Word together and focus on how the Bible helps real people see the path God has for their lives (Psalm 119:105). Be ready to tell your grandchildren how God is doing the same today by how He is blessing your life and answering prayer. When they hear how God worked in the lives of people in the Bible, and is doing the same in your life, they will see how He will work in their lives, too.

5. Pray together (1 John 5:14). Have your grandchildren draw pictures or write out their prayer requests for you to pray about for and with them. Follow up to see how God is answering and to get more prayer requests from them. Pray together using Scripture together—personalize it and help them learn to pray God’s Word!

6. Keep a journal to record how God is answering prayers and how you are able to see His fingerprints in all of your lives (1 John 5:15). Keep this book where they are able to look through it to remember how God is working.

As grandparents we need to focus on what lasts and be good stewards of the time we have left, whether it be short or long, as we pass on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren. This week as you think about what really lasts, make time to talk with your grandchildren about how God's grace brings you real life! 

And take time to pray for them. Before Jesus went to the cross, He prayed a well-known prayer that we find in John 17. I’ve adapted it into something you might pray for your grandchildren: 

Dear God, please help me finish the work You have sent me to do. Please help me remember my work for You is not finished because my children are grown. Please help me glorify You with the life You gave me. As I go through this day, please protect me from the evil one and help me be a person who experiences and contributes to the unity of believers. I pray also for my grandchildren. Please help them discover the purpose and work You have for them to do and let them do this work in a way which brings glory to You. Please protect them from the evil one, so they are not deceived or side-tracked, but will instead serve You with a heart which wants to build unity with other believers. Thank You for Your great love for us; I love You, too, Amen!

 

Copyright © 2016 Lynda Freeman. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Next Steps

1. If you are a grandparent, do you realize you are second only to the parents in your potential to impact your grandchildren spiritually? Read “The Incredible Importance of Grandparenting” and other grandparenting articles. 

2. Listen as authors Nancy Downing and Mary May Larmoyeux talk with FamilyLife Today® listeners about ways grandparents can make lasting memories with their grandchildren and stay connected with the next generation. 

3. Order a copy of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.


Meet the Author: Lynda Freeman

Lynda Freeman lives in Michigan and has three sweet, rascal grandsons. She is a senior writer/editor for the Legacy Coalition, has written several books including Science, the Bible & Fun (for grandparents to use to pass on their faith) and writes the blog, Grandma’s Cookie Jar.

 

 

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