January 24; Generational Christianity

Genesis 28:10-30:43

Are you a Christian? Were you raised in a Christian home? Many of us were. And many of us had grandparents who were Christians, too. Generational Christianity – is there such a thing? I wonder.

If you were asked, what you would say is the reason you are a Christian? Is it because that’s all you’ve known?

Jacob was raised in the equivalent of a Christian home. His dad was a believer. His grandpa had been a believer. Both Abraham and Isaac had received God’s promises, and trusted God to keep them. Jacob grew up watching trust in God played out, sometimes in extraordinary ways. His parents no doubt told him what God’s promises were, that he would be the father of a great nation some day.

But something happened in the passage we read today. This time it was God Himself making the same promises, this time to Jacob. And this time Jacob made it personal. He accepted what God said, not because his dad believed, but because Jacob finally believed for himself.

I know there are some that suggest a leopard can’t change its spots. Once a deceiver, always a deceiver. And they see the old deceiver in what Jacob says in response to his encounter with God.

But I wonder if the vow he made to God wasn’t necessarily self-seeking. I see that it just might be an expression of humility and gratitude. God had just got done saying He would make Jacob great, would bring him home one day, and that He would never leave Jacob until every promise was fulfilled.  I don’t see any reason for Jacob to try to bargain with Someone who just promised to bless him beyond imagination.

When I read this I hear Jacob say, “If God is going to be with me and supply my needs, if God is going to bring me home and never leave me, how can I not make Him Lord of my life?”

And that’s what I want us to consider today. If you are blessed to have gone to church growing up, and if you were blessed to have seen faith lived out in your parents and grandparents, then hear God say the Promises they believed and trusted, are promises made to you, too.

Jacob had to claim them for himself, and that’s what I see happening here in this portion of Scripture. Jacob no longer followed his dad’s God. Jacob made God Lord of his own life here.  And we need to do the same.

It’s not enough that your parents were Christians. The issue is, are you? Have you asked Jesus to forgive YOUR sins, have you made Him Lord of YOUR life. Is He YOUR God and Savior?

Or are you banking on the idea that Christianity was handed down to you? Friend, there is no such thing as generational Christianity. It is a personal encounter with God, a decision each of us has to make in an intentional, truthful way.

Is Jesus Lord of your life?

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