Impress Them on Your Children: Living Faith Out Loud

The 2008 Beijing Olympics showcased one of the most incredible swimming relays of all time. In the men's 4x100m freestyle relay final, the U.S. team was the underdog, with the French heavily favored for gold. As American Jason Lezak dove into the water for the final leg, he was nearly a body length behind French swimmer Alain Bernard. Incredibly, Lezak chased down Bernard in the final 50 meters, out-touching him by eight-one-hundredths of a second to secure the gold for Team USA.
The moment was electric - a breathtaking display of determination, fortitude, and belief. And it never would have been possible without a successful exchange between Lezak and his teammate Cullen Jones, who swam the third leg. In a relay, the exchange is everything. If Jones had faltered, if the timing was off by a fraction, gold would have been out of reach no matter how heroically Lezak swam.

The Biblical Call: Telling the Next Generation

The same is true when it comes to passing on our faith to the next generation. In Psalm 78, we read:

"We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done." (Psalm 78:4)
Just like a swimming relay, there must be a successful "exchange" for faith to carry on. It's not enough for one generation to follow God - that faith must be actively passed down and entrusted to children, grandchildren, and generations yet unborn. This Psalm makes clear that telling the coming generation about God's goodness and faithfulness isn't optional for believers - it's a sacred calling and responsibility.
So what does this exchange of faith look like in practice? Psalm 78 gives us a blueprint. It exhorts fathers to teach their children (v.5), so that they would set their hope in God, remember His works, and keep His commandments (v.7). In other words, the goal is for each generation to have their own authentic, life-defining relationship with God built on personal experience of His love and faithfulness.

The Exchange in Action: Deuteronomy 6

This doesn't happen by accident. Like a well-executed relay exchange, it takes intention, practice, modeling and time. In Deuteronomy 6, we get a glimpse of the moment-by-moment investment this requires from parents and teachers:

"Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deut. 6:7)
The call is to saturate our daily rhythms with the reality of God - to live our faith out loud in big and small ways, over meals and tucking in at night, through celebrations and struggles. More is caught than taught, and the next generation needs to see real-time examples of what it looks like to love and follow an invisible God in a very visible world.

Beyond Parents: Every Believer's Role

But here's an important truth: you don't have to be a parent to be part of this faith relay. The Psalm says "we" - all of God's people have a part to play. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, neighbors, coaches, everyone who names Jesus as Lord has the privilege and responsibility of telling the coming generation about God's goodness and faithfulness.

It could look like serving in your church's children's ministry, inviting a younger couple over for dinner, or taking a new graduate out for coffee. It might be volunteering with a local Christian afterschool program or youth sports league. The methods are as varied as the body of Christ itself - the key is to embrace your God-given influence and use it to shine a light for those coming after you.

The Cost of Dropping the Baton

If we drop the baton, if we neglect to live out and pass on authentic faith intentionally, the consequences are dire. Psalm 78:8 warns against being like those who have a stubborn and rebellious generation whose hearts are not loyal to God.

When one generation fails to root the next in the truth and love of Christ, it sets the stage for spiritual wandering, brokenness, and captivity to sin. But if we can keep the faith, if we can model passionate commitment and tell the stories of God's power and goodness, then we set the coming generation up to know God intimately and lead lives of purpose and blessing.

A Fresh Start: It's Never Too Late

At this point you might be thinking, "This sounds great, but I don't know where to start!" or even, "I feel like I've already dropped the baton and failed." The good news is that in Christ, it's never too late for a fresh start. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
So even if you're launching from a standing start, even if you're the first in your family to follow Jesus, you can begin passing the torch of faith today. It starts with pursuing your own relationship with God - putting down roots deep in the soil of His love. From that place of connection and security, look for opportunities to tell your story and live your faith in front of the next generation.
Maybe it's instituting a family devotional time or serving together at a local food pantry. Maybe it's choosing to bring your kids to church even when they protest, or leaving encouraging notes in your grandkids' lunchboxes. Every faithful step, however small it may seem, is a powerful link in the chain of faith.
If you're in the Fort Worth area and looking for a church home to help you grow and pass on faith, we'd love to have you visit Hope Church. With vibrant children's and student ministries alongside practical teaching and authentic community, Hope is a place where every generation can connect with God and each other.

Running for the Greatest Prize

Because when it comes to the relay of faith, the exchange is everything. When one generation lives out an authentic relationship with God in front of the next, it sets off a chain reaction of spiritual life and vitality. So let's commit afresh to running our leg of the race with faith, hope and love - telling the stories, celebrating the victories, and living the truth.
As 1 Corinthians 9:24 exhorts us, "Run in such a way as to get the prize." There is no greater prize than seeing our children and children's children walking in passionate devotion to Jesus. So let's run well and pass the torch boldly, trusting in the God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Welcome to the relay. It's time to run.

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