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That’s right…. the Olympics!
Here in our family, we look forward to the Opening Ceremonies. We color pictures during the week prior to the ceremonies, make our own version of the Olympic torch the day of the Opening Ceremonies, play John William’s Olympic Fanfare and Theme, and relay around our house.
It is a small way for us to make the Olympics a special time here at home.
But the more I thought about our torch passing relay here, the more it reminded me of an even bigger torch that I need to pass on.
As I pictured myself running with my faith being held high as a torch, I wondered “Is my faith tangible enough that my children can take the torch and continue running with it?”
I think of my mother and the torch of faith she carried.
It was real.
It was something she carried everyday of her life. It was a torch she not only carried in public, but in the privacy of her home. There were times that she and her torch would go into her room, close the door, and we could hear her pray. When she emerged her torch burned even brighter than before. Her torch led others into a relationship with Jesus. Her torch helped to build the faith of other women.
And when she passed away, her daughters picked up her torch and continued running the race set before them.
The torch of faith in Jesus has been passed down through generations on both sides of my family and on my husband’s side as well. And it is now our job to pass the torch to next generation.
But how do we do that?
Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 says, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
“…shall be on your heart…” Our love for Jesus and His Word needs to be in our own hearts before we can pass that love on to our children. How do our children learn to love others. They see the love we have for others first, and they emulate that love. As they see us living out God’s Words and commands, they will begin to live it out in their own lives.
“…You shall teach them diligently…” It is our job as parents to teach our children God’s Word. As an elementary student, I remember my mom sitting me down for breakfast before I went to school in the morning and reading God’s Word to me (I lost my front tooth in 2nd grade during a reading of Moses and the plague of frogs in Egypt at breakfast… somethings you never forget). She made the time, and she made it important.
When we came home from school, my mom would sit me down with a snack and ask me about my day. As things came up, she would pull out her Bible and show me how God wanted me to respond, act, or stay away from, depending on what we were talking about. This is how I learned about God’s view of intimacy in marriage.
Every evening, she would stop what she was doing and memorize Bible verses with us. We learned one verse a week. She chose the verses based on what we were facing in life. For example, when I was in college, she had me memorize Colossians 2:8.
“…when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up…” Our torch should not be pulled out and shined on Sunday mornings and possibly mid-week. Our torch needs to be out all the time- in our living room, dining room, kitchen, toy room, and bedrooms. When we’re having dinner, our torch should be lighting the table. We should be preparing our meals by the light of our torch. Our torch should be the last thing our children see as we put them to bed at night.
How is our torch lit? By fueling it with the Word of God. We need to spend time in God’s Word personally before we can pass on what His word says to our children.
How long does passing it on take? Not long at all… and a very long time. Giving our children time in God’s Word every day for five to fifteen minutes over the span of years you have to influence them, will build up over time.
We have a Bible reading time that the kids and I share during the day. It takes between five and fifteen minutes. Sometimes we read a verse that will help my children face their day (like when my daughter went to art camp, we read 1 Corinthians 15:33 to remind her of the company she should keep. She found a few very sweet friends and stayed with them all week.)
Because I have a 4 year old boy, right now I want him to see God’s Word as the greatest adventure ever written. We have skipped past Noah’s Ark at this point, and we are focusing on Elijah, Elisha, Gideon, David, and the strength of Samson (Samson’s poor choices in women will be a lesson for a future date).
I do realize that my children have to choose to pick up the torch on their own. I cannot shove my torch in their hands. But I keep God’s promises tucked in my heart, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” Proverbs 22:6.
In the meantime, I will continue to carry my torch for the Lord, fuel it with prayer and His Word, and make it a familiar sight for my children to see…. everyday.