"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 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 20:3-6).

As I sat playing video games with my son, I thought about how I use to play board games with my parents as a child. I played chess with my father and brother, and the whole family often played other types of board games on weekends. It was interesting to me to note the difference. We still played games together, but how those games have changed within the generations.
While many things seem to be on the path of rapid change, it is also amazing to see how many things do not change through the generations as much as we might think. It seems that within families, there are a lot of things handed down from one generation to the next: genetics, for example, belief systems, attitudes, etc. We can often look at the lives of the children and see a perpetuation of the persons of the parents. I see within my own children a great deal of myself--some things I would rather not see. While they are different people, having differing tastes, desires and characteristics, it is amazing how much they are like their mother and myself.
Since Jesus walked this earth, we have had about 100 generations. The Gospel has managed to be handed down quite well through the years, and why not, God Himself put it into motion and it is His Spirit who keeps it living--it will not die. Consider the family tree who has had many men, women and children who loved the Lord. We might think of that family as a strong family, one which will probably continue the same way for many generations to come. But consider as well, a family who perhaps has had some people who were dedicated to God, and let’s imagine that some of that family became more interested in worldly pursuit than in following Jesus. We could see how such a person could become a weak link. And what would come of the following generations?
If we look to our society today for a possible answer, we are sure to find a variation from the spiritually strong to the spiritually weak. The spiritually strong (not to be confused with strongly, religiously opinionated) are they who walk with God, and who seek His will in their lives and the lives of their children. The spiritually weak are they who seek after self gain, and do not desire to serve or follow God at all. But what about those who seem to be somewhere in the middle? Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).
The fact is, there can be no middle ground--we either have a heart for God, or we don’t. Ouch! That does not set well, but it sure seems to be upheld by God’s Word on more than one occasion. Why does that step on our toes so much? I guess it is because our flesh wants to have our cake and eat it too. We want to delve into the pleasures of this life without any lasting ramifications. Yet the plain truth remains that as we weaken to our desires and give in, then that is the example we set for our children, and our children’s children. If we do not hold strong to the path of righteousness, then we are setting up our own descendants for a fall, and perhaps an eventual breaking of the link that might otherwise lead the children to come, into eternal life.
In our country today, it is a popular view that you should be able to do whatever you want as long as it is not harming anyone else--we can suppose that is as defined by an individualistic society. We want to absolve ourselves of responsibility over the things that we consider are “Really not hurting anyone...” But how we live our lives as parents, and examples will have lasting impact on many generations to come. So it is our choice, we can live our lives as though it is for now, for us, for what we can get out of it; or we can live our lives knowing that we may be the very person that strengthens the faith of many generations to come.

Day by Day Devotionals: