Don’t Pass It On
Today I would like to share with you a few thoughts from a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
We often are satisfied with the fact that our sins are forgiven and we are going to heaven. And indeed, we should rejoice for all eternity over God’s grace toward us. However, there is far more to God’s plan for our lives than going to heaven. What God has in mind for us is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” which means we are to become transformed into His likeness in all areas of our lives. His love, kindness, gentleness, holiness, integrity and servant’s heart should replace our old character.
What are the consequences when we fail to be transformed into Christ’s likeness?
We are a misrepresentation of Christ to this world.
God, His Word and the Church will be dishonored by our words and actions.
We are a hindrance to others receiving Jesus.
We miss out on living a victorious and fruitful Christian life.
We pass on what we don’t overcome.
All of these consequences are serious. In this letter, we will look at the last one: We pass on what we don’t overcome.
We may not take seriously our lack of integrity and holiness, inherited bents and destructive habits. We may call them weaknesses instead of sins, and we may have many excuses for them. For example: “It’s part of our normal culture.” “My whole family has this habit.” “I inherited this weakness from my father.” We live with our weaknesses for so long that we defend them instead of condemning them.
We believe that our private sins, bents, weaknesses and destructive habits don’t hurt anyone. God’s Word tells us that this is not true. Even if we try to keep them a secret, what we are on the inside will influence those around us. Most of all, the practice of our weaknesses will set a far more powerful example for our children than all our correct teaching. It will also influence all our relationships as well as the people we lead and disciple in our ministry.
There is a spiritual dimension to all of this: When God revealed His name to Moses, He said:
The Lord God . . . who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 34:6–7).
We may not understand how spiritual laws works, but we all know families in which stealing, dishonesty, laziness, violent anger, gossip, jealousy or addictions can be traced back for several generations. Somehow these unrepented-of and tolerated bents and weaknesses of the flesh have consequences. They provide an open door for the Enemy to keep on destroying lives beyond our own.
Abraham had a weakness he passed on to the next three generations—lying. We greatly respect Abraham as the father of faith, and we are asked to follow his example. However, there was a time in Abraham’s earlier life when he resorted to lying, and it obviously influenced his future descendants to practice the same. Twice, he lied about Sarah being his wife. At the same time, he thought his dishonesty was a smart move to save his life.
Isaac his son did the very same thing when he lied about Rebecca being his wife. Jacob, Isaac’s son, became a master of deception, dishonesty and lying. Jacob’s sons were dishonest in their shepherding duties, and they lied to their father for years about what had happened to Joseph, whom they had sold as a slave.
Joseph broke this family bent toward dishonesty. Perhaps what he saw and suffered from his brothers made him hate dishonesty and lies. How did he do it? As a young man in Egypt, he made a decision to not do anything that would dishonor his God. That included not only rejecting the offer of Potiphar’s wife, but also being honest and upright in all his service as a slave, prisoner and prime minister. Joseph recognized that God is truth and that he too must choose to walk in truth to honor God. With this decision, he stopped the family bent toward dishonesty and enabled God’s lovingkindness and blessing to flow to his own life, the children of Israel and thousands of others.
We must take a good look at our lives and decide that we will no longer tolerate and excuse our private sins, weaknesses, family bents and destructive habits. Instead, we must determine to overcome them—so we will not pass them on.
God has given us everything we need to overcome every bondage and weakness in our lives:
The blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sins and breaks every bondage.
The Word of God that instructs us how to live a life that is pleasing to God.
The Holy Spirit, who empowers us to overcome all things.
His love and grace that never fail.
Our part in overcoming is to:
Repent and truly turn from our sins, inherited bents, weaknesses and destructive habits.
Daily say “no” to the desires of our flesh and obey the instructions of God’s Word instead.
Cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Trust in God’s grace and promises for our victory.
When we overcome, we enable God’s blessing to flow to us, our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and thousands of others. Dear sister, it’s worth living under God’s blessings instead of the consequences of our family bents and weaknesses.
May the Lord keep you close to Himself.
Your sister in Christ,