I'm currently participating in Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study with a group of young moms in my area. This is a powerful, powerful study, and I recommend it to anybody whether you feel like you have areas of bondage in your life or not. This week's focus has been on looking back in our families to see what kinds of bondage may have been passed down to us from generations and generations of our families. One of the main Scriptures she uses this week is Exodus 20:5-6.
You shall not bow down to them [idols] 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.This verse doesn't mean that we have to pay for our ancestors' sins - Christ did that on the cross. Instead, this means that we often have to bear the natural consequences of generational sins, and we are often more susceptible to repeat the mistakes we saw in those who came before us. Don't get so caught up in verse 5, though, that you miss verse 6. The descendants of the wicked often reap painful consequences, but the descendants of the faithful are guaranteed to reap blessing for a thousand generations! So not only do I want to look back at my ancestors to see if I may have inherited any bondage that I wasn't aware of, but the thing that really took hold of me about this concept this week is to be aware of the legacy I'm leaving for my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Do I want to be the means by which suffering is inflicted on 3 or 4 future generations, or do I instead want to be the means by which blessing is passed on to thousands?
God has given this all a very personal application for me, though, in thinking about my own struggles and areas of bondage, and thinking about the effect it will have on Elias and any other children/grands/greats/etc. I have been struggling a lot with shortcomings, difficulties, and failures for the past couple of years, and I often get discouraged. I struggle with making the right choices every day and with maintaining hope that God can and will deliver me from this bondage. I am often tempted to think that the little choices I make every day don't really matter, won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Or probably a better way to put it is just that I get tired of fighting day in and day out to make the best choices, when I don't feel like I'm making any progress or don't feel like there's any reward for doing what's right.
But there's a Casting Crowns song called "Slow Fade," which has always been meaningful to me, but this week has taken an even deeper meaning in the context of breaking my own bondage in order to not pass it down to Elias. You can watch the video here and read the lyrics here. This week it has seemed to come on the radio every time I get in the car, so if you see me driving down the street bawling, that's probably why. The chorus goes like this:
It's a slow fade when you give yourself away.So the meaning that this takes for me is just that every choice I make is either one step closer to freedom or one step deeper in bondage. There are very few neutral choices. So when I'm tempted to just stop fighting "just this once," I need to remember that just this one compromise is the first step down a path I don't want to walk down myself, and that I definitely don't want to lead my son down. The first verse of the song says this:
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray.
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away.
People never crumble in a day.
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade.
Be careful little feet where you go,Oh, I want to lead those little feet behind me down the path of God's Truth to freedom and nowhere else. So I will fight. And keep fighting. Because I do not want to see my children struggling in my same prisons. I want to be the means by which they are able to live in great blessing, freedom, and power from the Lord.
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow.