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“This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”
Psalm 102:18

My great grandma lived to be 95 years old.
She was born in 1919 which, we liked to joke about, was 9 years before sliced bread was invented. Great grandma had 12 children, and for our family Christmas party growing up we literally rented out a school gymnasium to accommodate everyone: her, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and even her great-great-grandchildren. When my youngest daughter was born last September, she was baby number 105 in the family line (and more babies have been born since then!).

Great Grandma was a hard worker. She had to be. Being a mother of 12, she had to be industrious and diligent (although at least by the time she became a mother she didn’t have to slice her own bread!). Great Grandpa was a police officer and money was tight, so she also had to be resourceful and ambitious. She spent the most productive hours of her day raising a small tribe of children to be capable, independent adults. She instilled their family values of industry, diligence, resourcefulness, and ambition into my grandma and the 11 other children. They passed these values to their children. And to their children. And even now as I look at my three children (babies 96, 99, and 105 in the family line), I too am teaching them these values that have been passed through our family for generations.

Generations of Promises

Did you know that generations were created by God?
Did you know that He loves and works through generations?

In the Bible, we see over and over how God works in generations.
If all of Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), then we can be certain those long genealogy lists throughout the Old Testament are not arbitrary series of hard-to-pronounce names (just say them with confidence…nobody else knows how to pronounce them either!). These recordings of families and names are a powerful testimony to God’s sovereignty. Working through generations, God shows us His faithfulness to fulfill His promises.
In Genesis, God promises Abram a son and many descendants:

“And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him,  ‘So shall your descendants be.’”
Genesis 15:5

“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.”
Genesis 17:7

Fast forward to Matthew 1, which begins by outlining the family line of Jesus.
Christ’s genealogy begins with…Abram! The Lord faithfully provided a son and many descendants for Abram, and these generations eventually led to the birth of Christ! God not only faithfully fulfills His promise to Abram, but also gives us hope and promises too concerning our future generations:

“This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”
Psalm 102:18

And His mercy is upon generation after generation
toward those who fear Him.
Luke 1:50

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

Grandchildren are the crown of old men,
And the glory of sons is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6

For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100:5

“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
Acts 2:39

But A Warning…

Generations are a precious creation of our Creator.
We see generations throughout the Bible:
Generational blessing.
Generational sin.
Kings who followed the Godly examples of their mothers and fathers (and those who did not). 
Throughout all of history, God has worked through generations and will continue doing so. 

While we do have much reason for hope in the promises for future generations, the Word also gives us warnings about the negative impact and influence we may have on our children and their children. We are responsible to provide a godly example of how to love God and fight sin.

Christian culture today has little regard for generations. It is easier to focus on ourselves and our comfort than to proactively raise up a godly generation. This is nothing new:

And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Psalm 78:8

“[King Amaziah] did right in the sight of the Lord,
yet not like David his father;
he did according to all that Joash his father had done.”
2 Kings 14:2
(There are many similar examples of kings acting wickedly in the footsteps of their fathers.)

“You shall not bow down to them or serve them,
for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation
of those who hate me,”
Exodus 20:5

A Little Self-Reflection

Yet even in our disregard for generations, God will continue to work through them whether we acknowledge the importance of generations or not. He has done so for all of history.

This means you are already impacting generations.
The work you do now as a mother (whether biological or spiritual) matters.
You are actively and passively passing things down to future generations. Great grandma passed down industriousness and ambition (and a love for golf, but I still haven’t picked that one up yet). What are you passing down to your children and future generations?

Am I teaching them the Word of God…or the canon of Disney movies?
Am I modeling to them what it looks like to love God…or to love comfort and the world?
Am I showing them how to worship God…or do I segregate them to children-only zones for every church service and Bible study?
Am I instructing them in the way they should go…or excusing their sin because they’re tired, or growing, or too young to be sinful already (haha don’t be fooled by that eight month old arching their back during diaper changes!).

It is amazing to watch children learn. They can flip onto their belly, eat solid food, walk, write letters, or read encyclopedias, and this is exciting! But how is their character? Are we teaching them kindness, generosity, patience, and obedience to God? Or are we more concerned about how far ahead of the other kids they are in school or on the growth chart and how lovely their outfits look on our Instagrams? Don’t be fooled by the world. Teaching our children to love and serve God will impact not only them, but thousands of people in future generations as well.

Hope In Our Helper

Raising future generations is hard. It is not a job for the faint of heart. It requires day after day, year after year, of patience, diligence, and hard work. 
Teaching toddlers to sit during church is hard.
Choosing to be intentional with preschoolers instead of turning on a movie is hard.
Fighting my own sin in order to be a godly example to my children is hard, and confessing when I sin against them is humbling.

But praise God that He has given us the Holy Spirit, our Helper, to strengthen and equip us in this incredible challenge! Mama, the work you are doing will impact not only your life and your children’s lives…but generations of lives! Will you trust in the Spirit and work hard to impact their lives for God?

I pray that the Spirit would help me each day to raise my children to love God, and that He would save their souls and help them to live godly lives. I pray that one day I, like my Great Grandma, might have the opportunity to sit at my family Christmas party surrounded by 100+ God-fearing men, women, and children who have come from the family line of my husband and I.

There are few things I can think of that would be better than that moment.
It’ll be even better than sliced bread.