Encouragement · Faith, Life, and Marriage · Family

Heart Inheritance

Family history.
We all have it. For some it’s a good history, for some it’s a little more…or a lot more…rough.
But we all have it.

Along with a family history, family inheritance may get passed down to future generations. When it does, we definitely don’t miss it. But if we’re not careful, if we’re not paying attention, other things also get passed down…things that may not be what we want our children to inherit & they often take a lot longer to work through: habits, attitudes, & even sins.

I have become far more aware of the things I’m passing down to my children since my daughter was born last June. There are behaviors in my life that have always been there I just never saw them until I became a mom. Something happens when you become a parent, it’s like someone changed out my glasses lenses overnight without telling me. All of a sudden I started to notice all the things- the dangers, the fears of the world, the ugliness of humanity, my own fears & insecurities in my parenting, & my bad habits & behaviors I don’t want to pass on.

This kind of family heart “inheritance” is evident all throughout scripture, too.

I’ve been working through the Bible Project’s Bible Reading Plan & I’m currently sitting in the middle of Genesis. I’ve read these histories before but it’s completely different with my “mom glasses” on. The main family history I’m looking at is that of Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebekah, & Jacob & his wives & children. God calls Abraham (originally named Abram) in Genesis 12. He calls him up out of his country, calls him away from his family. He eventually makes a covenant with Abraham & promises that this SUPER old, childless man will have descendants as numerous as the stars & sands. Abraham & his wife doubt, they even laugh at God. As they go on their journey there are multiple examples of how, out of fear, Abraham lies to wealthy rulers about who Sarah is to him out of fear that they’re going to kill him to take her out of jealousy. Each time, his lies put his wife, both their reputations, & others’ lives in jeopardy. God protects them, though, if for no other reason than the protection of His plans & will for their lives & their children. This heritage of doubt & deceit gets passed on. Isaac actually lies in the EXACT. SAME. WAY. as his dad about his own wife, Rebekah. Then there’s Jacob & Esau. Jacob is greedy, he & his mom pull a con on Isaac & Esau so Jacob gets his blessing & then runs away in fear. Jacob’s own uncle deceives him into marrying the wrong daughter for 7 years of labor, so then he marries the right daughter in exchange for another 7 years of labor, his uncle deceives him again by trying to essentially “steal” the agreed upon wages he owed to Jacob. Jacob’s wife steals their family idol when they flee & then lies about it. All of that goes down in less than 18 chapters of Genesis.
Doubt, scoffing at God, lying, stealing, running away in fear.
That seems to be the family heart inheritance that is getting passed down from generation to generation within Abraham’s family tree…& it honestly doesn’t get much better…

Until Jesus.
If you read Matthew chapter 1 & Luke chapter 3 you’ll find His lineage.
You know what His lineage is filled with? It’s filled with this whole family of doubters, scoffers, liars, thieves, cowards, murderers, adulterers, prostitutes, & more.
This sinful heart inheritance that was passed down through the Hebrew people wasn’t limited to them. It started with Adam & it’s in every one of our hearts, but the game is changed with Jesus.

Romans 3:23-24…you may have heard it before: “For all have sinned & fall short of the glory of God; they are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
You & I can’t do much about our heart inheritance outside of Christ. But in Christ we are new creations. You & I are given a new spirit & given the ability to be able to pass on a new inheritance to our children. Don’t misunderstand me. Our children don’t automatically receive salvation if we’re saved, but in Christ, through the Holy Spirit’s work, He does something to our hearts that can help us fight against the sins, hurts, habits, & burdens we may have naturally passed down to our children just like Abraham passed to Isaac, passed to Jacob, & so on down the line.

So what is your heart inheritance?
On my own, my natural, sinful heart inheritance includes jealousy, pride, bitterness, resentment, depression, anxiety, greed, selfishness, lust, a temper & a whole lot more.
I know…it’s a lot.
But my heart inheritance is looking a lot different in Christ. He has been working a new spirit in my life since I chose Him in my early twenties, but even more so since I finally stopped fighting Him & stopped choosing my own way early 2020. What was once jealousy, bitterness, & resentment is turning into contentment in Him. What was once pride is being brought low at His feet. What was once depression & anxiety is becoming peace, joy, & satisfaction in Him. What was greed & selfishness is turning into generosity & vulnerability. What was once lust has changed into a love for my husband, alone. What was one anger & a quick temper is becoming self-discipline & patience.

Because of Christ.
My heart & my parenting would be destitute without Christ. Honestly, my daughter isn’t even 8 months old yet so I literally no nothing about parenting yet & that does make me scared & nervous, but I’m grateful that the Lord is already molding & shaping my heart in preparation.

“A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” – Luke 6:45, CSB
Out of the overflow of my heart, I speak. What I speak, my daughter will hear. What my daughter hears will be a seed planted in her heart. The seed that is planted will turn into the overflow of her heart, and that will be my heart inheritance.

One thing my father-in-law told me, though, that I’ll always remember was this: while we all have things w we want to run away from being as parents, we need to make sure we’re not just running away from something but running TO Someone.

So, what does your heart inheritance look like? What are the qualities & characteristics you will be passing down to your children…or even to those around you that look to you as a role model if you’re not a parent yet? Hold your heart up to the lens of Christ & let Him examine, diagnose, & heal it.
It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
And don’t do it alone!!!
Get into God’s Word, go to a counselor (I am!), get into Bible-believing-and-teaching church, get into a small group of like-minded, Christian friends that you can open up to & who can hold you accountable.

Whatever that heart inheritance is you carry, don’t just run from it, but run TO Christ. Leave it at His feet & allow Him to turn it into an inheritance worth handing down.

Be blessed, friends.

Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.

Proverbs 4:23, CSB.

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