The nature of human life is that it is one of both inheritance and legacy. The soul (or mind) is likened to a warehouse that stores words, memories, meanings, experiences, and develops patterns, learns lessons, establishes behaviors and the like. This reality makes every human being both a student and a teacher.
God made it this way. He designed the mind to become the storehouse of beautiful and holy memories, wonderful experiences, remembrances of all of His goodness and kindness, etc. But then sin... Since then, the human mind has been a storehouse of the sinful, harmful, negative, unholy, marred, botched, lying, evil, depraved, and perverted twists of God's true reality. This is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The saved soul, without a transformed mind, will struggle and backslide, as well as experience all kinds of pain and defeat. An unrenewed mind has a hard time staying with Jesus for the long haul.
Generational Sin ... Generational Holiness
"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:5-6 NIV)
I prefer to say that "sin is generational." This is true. Non-Christian, secular, psychological organizations will tell you that patterns of thought established through generational impartation are so difficult, even impossible, to break. Today, you will influence many people out of the storehouse of your mind. What is in your mind comes out through your actions. There's a generational curse lurking in the minds of the most sincere believers that, left untended, will influence new generations in the negative. Brothers and sisters, we need healing as much as the next person. Our minds are in danger of handing off the wrong influences.
Changing Directions for a Changed Mind
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV) God is merciful and gracious, God replaces the skeletons in out family closets with new treasures. The revealed things of God are what He always desired to be the contents of your mind. The revealed things of God are to be the "hope chest" you hand down to next generations. We are to hold them like cherished treasures. Dear church, it is time for us to clean out our closets of old experiences and patterns of thought. Time to get rid of the sting of destructive memories and the lure of addictive behaviors. It is time to dust off the shelves and replace their old, depraved contents with the revealed things of God. His Word, His Truth, His Life, Encounters with His presence, remembrances of answered prayer, hope for the eternal and so on. You and I are one decision away from changing our minds and thereby, changing the trajectory of our lives.
God is watching what we offer our Children
"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!" (Matthew 18:5-7 NIV)
One of the revealed things of God to us today are these words of Jesus. He is watching to see what our influence is on the next generation. Are we investing the things of God or the world? What values do we teach with our actions? Are we serving the resources of the skeleton-filled closet, or are we focusing on renewed minds and transformation?
Dear friends, let us be people of transformation. Let us own up to the fact that there is something generational, in the way of sin, lurking in us. Let us seek the Lord with our whole hearts for healing and renewal. Let us take up the role of divine influence to our generation and the next generation. Let us consider what words and deeds we display for all to witness.
We didn't get where we are overnight. The "ceiling" of this generation (albeit holy or sinful) becomes the "floor" on which the next generation builds (more sin or more holiness). Let us run the race toward the ceileing of God's choosing.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.