Recently I was reading in Deuteronomy and came across the following Scripture:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
I have read that passage many times before, but for some reason, this time it really stood out. Most specifically, my mind stuck on the phrase, “that you and your offspring may live.”
I don’t adhere to covenant theology–the teaching that the children of believing parents are also part of the covenant and therefore will be saved by default (in my very limited understanding)–but I cannot argue the fact that the lives of the parents have an effect on the children. As my kids are growing from babies to toddlers to preschoolers to “big kids” (and I just happen to have one of each!), it becomes more and more apparent to me that I am not living my life solely for myself. My decisions impact others. Whether I am diligent in housework or lay around all day. Whether I am diligent to exercise and eat right or just remain sedentary and unhealthy. Whether I am wise with finances or spend money carelessly. What I watch on TV. What I let my kids watch on TV. The music I listen to. The words I speak. The tone I use when I speak. Each one of these things is a decision that I make on one level for myself, but deeper than that, they have an impact on my children. My children are watching me, whether I–or even they–realize it. I am a model for them. I’m not the only model they have, but I am one of the two most influential models that they have.
My walk with Christ, my pursuit of holiness, my battle against sin–do not involve just me and God. The Scripture doesn’t say, as the old Geoff Moore (?) song says, “Choose life, that you may live.” It says, “that you and your offspring may live.” You’ve heard people say, “It’s not just about you.” Well, it’s not. I have four other little hearts for whom I’m choosing life. I cannot save my children by living a holy life. I cannot save them by teaching them and training them in righteousness. God, in His abundant mercy, is the only One who can save them. But I can definitely play a part in making the path between their sinful hearts and God’s infinite grace more clear by choosing life and modeling holiness for them. It may not make them more likely to be saved, but it may make it easier for them to choose life every day once they are, since that’s what was modeled for them.
What an awesome responsibility! My shoulders feel so heavy sometimes with the weight of the responsibility God has given me in each little baby that was placed in my arms. Parents, your Christian life is not just about you! You are the primary discipler of your children, whether you are actively doing anything about that or not. That is your role. That is my role for my kids (along with my husband, of course). Yes, I will stand before God and answer for my own life, my own walk, my own decisions. But I will also answer for the way my life impacted my kids. Am I choosing life for them? Am I clearing off the path to God for them, or am I placing obstacles in their way by the disconnect between what I preach and what I practice?
I know that these words were spoken specifically to the Israelites about the Promised Land, but I believe the application I’ve drawn is definitely valid. Do I want my children to love the Lord, obey His voice, and hold fast to Him? Absolutely–it’s my heart’s greatest desire. Then I must choose life that not only I might live, but my children as well.
**One of my favorite singers speaks to this theme as well:
“I can taste the fruit of Eve. I’m aware of sickness, death, and disease. The results of her choices were vast. Eve was the first but she wasn’t the last. If I were honest with myself, had I been standing at that tree, my mouth and my hands would be covered with fruit–things I shouldn’t know, things I shouldn’t see. Remind of this with every decision, generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know.
She taught us to fear the serpent; I’m learning to fear myself and all of the things I am capable of in my search for wisdom, acceptance, and wealth. To say that the devil made me do it, is a cop-out and a lie. The devil can’t make me do anything when I’m calling on Jesus Christ. Remind me of this with every decision, generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know.
To my great-great-great-granddaughter, live in peace. To my great-great-great-grandson, live in peace. Remind me of this with every decision, generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know.”
Awesome song, awesome message. Lord, help me choose life.