Are you leaving a legacy of faith? Learn how to pass the baton of faith to the next generation and fulfill your calling within the Body of Christ!
Leading up to each of the Olympic Games, a long relay of runners carrying torches transports a flame from Olympia, Greece, to the cauldron at the site of the games. Those who are given the honor of carrying a torch from one destination to another are often referred to as “Guardians of the Flame.” Their responsibility is to ensure the flame remains lit and is passed on to the next runner who will do the same until the fire reaches its destination.
Whether you realize it or not, you are a “Guardian of the Flame” of faith. You are called to run your race, keep faith ablaze, and pass the baton of faith to the next generation. Proverbs 13:22 (NKJV) says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” That certainly applies to financial blessings left to your biological grandchildren, but it also applies to a spiritual legacy that we leave to every younger member of the Body of Christ.
What, spiritually speaking, are we leaving to our children’s children? The heritage of faith that we leave to another generation, we want them to pick up and use. We need to make absolutely sure that when we’ve graduated to heaven, they are continuing in that quest. We need to leave a legacy of unwavering, uncompromising faith in God.
You can learn how to pass the baton of faith to the next generation with these simple choices.
1. Make Faith Your Legacy
“One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty works.” –Psalm 145:4 (NKJV)
To pass the baton of faith, you must first possess it. For a smooth handoff, you need a firm grip on the baton of faith and an intentional effort to place it right in the hand of the next generation. How do you do this? You make faith your legacy.
When you build your faith and strengthen your relationship with the Lord, you will enjoy endless personal benefits. But, did you know that your efforts to develop your spiritual strength greatly impact younger Christians who are watching you? They need to be inspired. They need to see faith in motion, faith achieving and faith overcoming—real Bible faith at work. They need to see victory in you. It’s what will make them reach higher, stand stronger and refuse to quit.
What, exactly, are they watching? Everything. They are watching how you think, how you speak and how you act. Faith is how you live. Your lifestyle is a message—a baton—waiting to be passed to younger generations. Not just to your children and grandchildren, but to every younger generation in the Church. They’re watching you. They’re studying you. What legacy are you passing to them?
A lot of people hand down hatred and unforgiveness to the next generation. Don’t lose spiritual ground in your family or in the Church by holding on to old, carnal ways of thinking. You’re either going to input the world’s thinking to your children and younger generations, or you’re going to input God’s thinking. One brings a curse and death, and the other brings life and blessing. If your family has had wrong thinking in the past, be the one to turn it around. You can change future generations and have a family of victory.
How? The Bible tells us we are to talk about the goodness of God all the time. Deuteronomy 11:18-20 says, “Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
That means that as people of faith—guardians of the flame—we constantly talk faith to our children—to the next generation. We speak good words about God. We should never let young people hear unbelief come out of our mouths. The Word of God says, “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV). Well, he should go in faith! So, it is critical that we walk uprightly in private, and walk and speak uprightly before the younger generations.
Make a decision to make faith your legacy. Declare Psalm 145:5 today: “I will speak of the glorious honor of your majesty and of your wondrous works” (MEV). Talk about the Lord’s miracles. If you can’t think of a miracle in your life, think of a miracle in the Word of God where God came through in impossible circumstances. God is the King of the impossible!
To pass the baton of faith to the next generation—model faith—show them how to use their authority. Don’t be shy about it! Let them see it in action. Faith is fun to watch in action! Gloria Copeland says, “We need to know how to use the authority that God has given us, so the next generations can see, firsthand, the power of God working in their lives.”
The next generation should be more powerful and stronger because of hearing the goodness of God, the power of God and the mercy of God from generation to generation. They need you to show them.
Get faith into the hands of the next generation so they can take it to the world.
Uncomfortable evangelizing? Use these 5 Tips for Sharing Your Faith!
2. Become a Spiritual Father
“In Christ Jesus I became your father….” –1 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)
The Body of Christ is a family. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, but families also need fathers to carry the flame of faith and pass the baton. Even those who have God-fearing natural fathers who exhort and encourage, need the guidance of spiritual fathers as well. If you’re a Christian man, ask yourself, Am I willing to become a spiritual father?
The world is willing to offer all kinds of “role models” in the form of actors and professional athletes; but following the example of anyone who does not follow God will only end in disappointment.
Whether they express it or not, men of all ages value the insight, wisdom and counsel of strong Christian men who are willing to come alongside them and help them grow spiritually. They need spiritual fathers.
A spiritual father nourishes, protects, upholds. He models right thinking, speaking and living. He encourages younger men to build their faith, to love their wives, to avoid sin. He is a pillar of strength in a world built on sandy ground, and he is always ready to point young men to God and help them stay on the right path.
Every man in the Body of Christ is called to become a spiritual father—no matter his age, whether or not he has children. If you are a Christian man, people out there—total strangers—will look to you for help and guidance. Why? Because men of God live on a higher plane. You think on a higher level. You act holy, justly, righteously. And that’s what sets you apart. You’re not perfect, but you are being perfected into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 4:14-16, when he referred to himself as a spiritual father. “I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me” (NIV).
In this passage, he is talking about how there are many instructors, but not many fathers. It’s important to understand the difference between the two. A spiritual father’s role goes much deeper than that of an instructor. It is mentoring on a personal level, guiding and encouraging along the way.
Paul was a teacher and preacher who stood in a father’s place—guiding, exhorting, nurturing and protecting. He didn’t just tell people where they went wrong—he made an effort to help them grow up and mature spiritually—to take victory into their lives.
You have that same calling. Don’t underestimate the place you have as a spiritual father. If you don’t think you have what it takes to guide and encourage the next generation, know this: There is an anointing to be a spiritual father. You have the anointing, but it must be developed. Seek the Lord for guidance on how to fulfill this sacred role, and pass the baton of faith to the next generation.
The development of young men through the mentoring of older men is critical. Younger generations need those with wisdom and experience to guide them and help direct their paths. Without them, their success is at risk.
This was found to be true at a game park where African rangers were dealing with the overpopulation of elephants. The solution, they determined, was to shoot all the older male elephants to reduce the population, which they did. Within a few months, they were astounded to discover they had created a dysfunctional herd. The juvenile beasts developed radical changes in their behaviors. They began killing rhinos and gazelles—something unheard of in previous generations.
In addition, the younger elephants poisoned themselves by eating wrong foods; and began rampaging through towns, where eventually they had to be shot. After watching the decline of the herd, the rangers concluded that the negative effects were the result of killing off the role models—the herd’s mentors. These older bulls had passed on their experience to the younger members of the herd. They had shown them traditional migratory routes, taught them what to eat, and kept behavior in line. They created stability and ensured the success of the next generation.
That’s the danger of churches that focus only on certain age groups—focusing only on younger generations. A church is a family. We need all age groups. Every generation needs and desires the guidance of those who have gone before them.
Don’t hesitate to take your place and become a spiritual father. The Body of Christ needs you.
Watch Gloria Copeland and Billye Brim teach on how we can rescue the next generation for the kingdom of God!
3. Become a Spiritual Mother
“Older women must train the younger women.” –Titus 2:4
Passing the baton of faith to the next generation requires the special role of spiritual mothers, as well. Today’s society sends confusing messages to young women—telling them what they ought to be and how they should look and behave. But most of it doesn’t match the Bible. That is why natural mothers and those who become spiritual mothers are gifts to the Body of Christ.
If you are a Christian woman, whether you know it or not, you’re being watched. You’re being studied. You are an example of the Proverbs 31 woman. Whether or not you have children, if you are a woman of God, you are called to be a spiritual mother. No matter your age, younger women need your guidance and encouragement. Women in their 20s who are seasoned in the Word of God can mentor teenage girls. Women in their forties can mentor women in their 20s and 30s, and so on.
As the Body of Christ, we need to honor those with experience, embrace them and respect what they have to say. A woman who lives a godly life and follows the Word of God is called to be a spiritual mother.
A spiritual mother defends, cherishes, directs and corrects. She is an example of a godly woman. A seasoned, mature woman of God is one who will “live in a way that honors God…. teach others what is good…. train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure and work in their homes” (Titus 2:3-5).
But spiritual mothers aren’t just needed for women. Young men also need spiritual mothers to encourage them to become the men God has called them to be. They hunger for spiritual mothers, and those women serve a special purpose in their spiritual growth.
The Apostle Paul had a spiritual mother. In Romans 16:13, he mentions her specifically, saying, “Greet Rufus, that special servant of the Lord, and greet his mother, who has been like a mother to me” (CEV).
Before Pastor George Pearsons was married to Pastor Terri, he spent some time living with Kenneth Copeland’s parents. He shared about times when he would sit at the breakfast table with Kenneth’s mother, Vinita Copeland, and she would share advice and counsel him.
Pastor George recalls, “She was being a spiritual mother, giving advice, sharing advice. Why? She had already been down that road. She had already seen some things. There is really something about a godly woman, a Proverbs 31 woman, who keeps the Word of God before her day and night.”
That’s who you, as a spiritual mother, are called to be to the younger generations. You are an example of how to live, how to follow the Lord, how to resist temptation, how to stand strong in the face of adversity. Younger men and women are looking to you. The experience and wisdom you have acquired over time is more valuable than you know.
Take your place—become a spiritual mother—and help the younger generation rise up in faith and follow the Lord. Embrace the anointing of spiritual motherhood. Your spiritual children are waiting for your direction, guidance and love.
In conclusion, you can keep the flame of faith ablaze when you purpose to make faith your legacy and embrace your calling to become a spiritual father or mother. That is how to pass the baton of faith to the next generation. Your legacy of faith begins now!
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