From Generation to Generation

Today we’re featuring the next post in our Advent series based on the seven themes from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Advent devotional Born a Child and Yet a King: The Gospel in the Carols. “Declaration” is the theme of today’s post by Heather Cofer. 

Since our oldest kids were toddlers, we’ve loved incorporating into our family worship times some simple catechism questions—questions (and their answers) that teach foundational truths about who God is, what He’s done, and who we are in light of that reality. One of the first questions we begin to teach our kids around age two is this: “How many Gods are there?”To which the tot confidently exclaims, “ONE GOD!” 

Our fifth child is currently learning this question, and the rest of us can’t help but delight in the enthusiasm and joy with which the answer is given. My heart thrills (and my eyes get misty) with each precious declaration of biblical truth that comes from the lips of my children, and I pray these truths make their way from their little minds to the deepest parts of their being.

There is something quite powerful about a declaration, isn’t there? A declaration goes beyond a simple statement of fact, holding within it a sense of significance, of conviction, of the need to pause and listen closely. When we speak, this is demonstrated by our tone of voice. In writing, we might use all caps, a bold font, or italics. (You likely stop scrolling, too, when you see the word “ATTENTION!” yelling at you from the screen.) The importance of a declaration can be communicated by the language of the deliverer, or by who carries the message (someone we esteem for their authority or expertise). In short, a declaration indicates that something really matters. 

This is how those who love God are instructed to speak about Him to the next generation. 

Declaring His Greatness

Psalm 145 is full of declarations about the greatness of God. This psalm also indicates, in light of these truths, that those who love God will declare the wondrous realities of who He is to others. Verse four says, 

One generation will declare your works to the next
and will proclaim your mighty acts.

As parents we aren’t to simply teach our kids about the Lord out of duty or dry tradition. The things we know to be true about our great God and Savior should capture us to the core, spilling over from our lips to the ears of our children with joyful conviction. They should see evidence of these declarations lived out in the way we order our homes and work with our hands. They should see our declarations worked out in true sorrow and repentance over sin, compassion for those in need, and kindness in word and deed. The proclamations of our lips and lives should be seeds that God can use to implant within our kids a longing for Christ too. 

We don’t need to be parents for long, however, to realize that declaring God’s faithfulness to the next generation isn’t always easy. The cares of this life, the enticements of the world and the flesh, and the schemes of the devil all try to dull and drown out the wondrous works we’ve seen and heard. Sometimes we forget the wondrous realities that were once so bright and clear. This is why it’s of utmost importance that we keep the truth ever before our minds and hearts.

3 Ways to Keep the Truth Before Us

First, we can do this by feasting on Scripture. Psalm 119:16 says,

I will delight in your statutes; 
I will not forget your word.

The pages of the Bible are filled with the truth our souls crave. The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to rekindle our love and longing for God. It reminds us that we are a part of a story so much bigger than our own personal narrative—one written by the Creator of the universe who sees the beginning from the end. If we are to be steadfast to declare the faithfulness, power, and love of God to the next generation, we have to be filled to the brim with the Word. Then, like a mama bird returning to the wide-open, pleading mouths of her babies in the nest, we’ll be prepared to satisfy the craving of their souls with His Word. 

Second, we can surround ourselves with fellow believers. There is something powerful about hearing what God is doing through the hills and valleys of life in other Christ-followers. Our Christian brothers and sisters help to point our eyes back to Jesus when we’re discouraged or suffering, cheer us on when we’re weary, and encourage us to run our life’s race with perseverance. We can also fill our bookshelves with stories of believers who’ve gone before us. These testimonies then become examples we can pass along to our children as evidence of His goodness to all those who follow Him.

Third, we must develop the discipline of declaration. Some people have called it the art of preaching to ourselves. At times we need to speak out loud what we know to be true, especially when the world feels dark and despairing. 

It’s quite clear from reading the accounts of King David’s life that it was no smooth sailing. Yet he knew the importance of declaring the realities of who God is in the midst of desperate circumstances. He says in Psalm 42:5,

Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God.

David had plenty of reasons to feel dejected and in turmoil. However, rather than dwelling on those difficult things as his source of hope (or lack thereof), he looked to his Savior in the midstof his hardships. 

As we look to Christ and depend on His grace to help us declare truth to our hearts, we will be blazing a trail to teach our children to do the same. We don’t have to deny the struggles we’re walking through, but rather ask God to help us be an example of what it looks like to steady our gaze on Christ rather than fixating on the waves of this life. This might look like recounting the times God has provided for our physical needs, sharing how God filled us with peace in the midst of a scary illness, or talking about the times He was merciful when we made bad choices. It might look like turning on worship music and singing through tears. 

Psalm 145:6 says, 

They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts,
and I will declare your greatness.

It’s my longing to say this with David: I will declare your greatness through joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, illness and health, plenty and want. May my lips be ever-ready with conviction and adoration to tell the world of the wondrous things I’ve seen and heard. 

And may the declaration of God’s greatness begin in these four walls we call home.

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About the Author

Heather Cofer

Heather Cofer

Heather Cofer is a wife and mother of six living in northern Colorado with a passion for encouraging women to love Jesus. She is the author of Expectant: Cultivating a Vision for Christ-Centered Pregnancy, and has also written for Set … read more …

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