Recently, Steve and I were able to spend a day with his parents in South Carolina. They've been incredible about collecting photographs and creating photo albums for each of their four sons and families. As we spent the day together browsing through pictures, Dad and Mom Harling shared stories. They told of crossing the ocean on a freight barge with two toddlers to make it to Africa where they served as missionaries. They talked about times when their faith was tested, and how God came through. They shared stories of challenges and triumphs of over 60 years of marriage. What a gift.
Reading through Psalm 78, I was thinking about my precious in-laws. They've given our family a great gift by passing down stories of faith. It reminded me of how important it is to tell stories of faith and triumph to the generation coming up behind us. The Psalmist wrote, "We will not hide them from their children, but will tell the coming generation the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and the wonderful works that He has done" (Ps. 78:4b).
As you read through the rest of Asaph's psalm, you realize he gives three keys to passing on a positive legacy. And even if you're young, it's never too early to consider what you're passing on to your friends, your kids or teens with whom you have influence. Wherever you are in life's journey, decide now to pass on positivity! How?
3 Keys to Passing on Positivity
Tell the stories of miracles (Ps. 78:6, 12-13). Has God done anything miraculous in your life? Tell the story. Stories of great miracles build up the faith of those who look up to you. If you're a parent, tell your kids stories as you tuck them in at night. If you're a grandparent, tell your grandkids the stories of when God parted the waters for some big adventure in your life. Have you seen any answers to prayers recently? Tell someone about those answers. People need their faith bolstered, and you can have a part in that! Pass on the answers to prayers you've experienced.
Next time you're tempted to complain, give God praise instead! (Ps. 78:19). Part of our spiritual formation is not complaining. It's so easy to grumble isn't it? It's a sin we've pretty much given ourselves grace on, right? We want to be authentic. In the spirit of transparency we complain and grumble, saying, "Life's not fair! The weather is awful! The flight's cancelled." You name it— there will always be some unfortunate event that tempts us to complain. But God's Word is pretty clear on this (Phil. 2:14-16). God wants our focus to be on Him and His provision, not the problems and what we feel we lack. So the next time you're tempted to complain—praise God instead!
Surround yourself with a positive tribe (Ps. 78:68). The psalmist reminds us that God chose the tribe of Judah. Do you know what "Judah" means? It means, "praise be to God." Here's the thing: if you surround yourself with negative people, you'll become like them. Instead, hang with a tribe who is positive and encourage faith and thanksgiving. Now don't misunderstand me. It's important that you have people in your life who perhaps don't know Jesus yet so you can be His voice and hands for them. I'm not saying don't hang out with unbelievers! I'm saying don't hang out with people who are continually negative. Build a positive tribe around you and your kids, a tribe that will exude faith and thanksgiving. There's enough negativity in the world. Find a tribe of positivity and hang with them.
I want to pass down positivity to my kids and grandkids. Are you with me? Spend some time reading Psalm 78 and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what steps you need to take to pass on positivity!
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
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