I love to hear stories of generations past. Family reunions and holiday dinners give us an opportunity to meander down memory lane. Courageous war veterans, brave law enforcement officers, and strong women who beat the odds grace the pages of my family’s history books. Perhaps you have an album full of treasured photographs of family heroes and legends, the kind of people who shape history and give you a solid foundation.
Then there are the black sheep. The ones we don’t like to talk about as we pass the gravy. We all have a little bad blood in us. It haunts us, doesn’t it? From the days in The Garden, the sinful choices of mankind pass from one generation to the next. These stories from our ancestors are whispered in our ears and can cause us to fear our own destiny. If we are not careful, we can allow the stories of our people define who we are.
Instead of walking confidently in our identity in Christ, we walk in fear of who we could become because of who we come from.
Like most family trees, stories of shameful transgressions sit in my branches like black crows. For most of my life, I drug my fear of generational sin around like the proverbial ball and chain. The wrongs in my family’s history led to all sorts of inner struggles and relational battles. Fear of who I could become fed unwarranted judgments and insecurities. The pursuit of perfection became my weapon against the bad blood. I walked a straight line as if trying not to fall from the branches of my crooked family tree.
When Jesus met Nicodemus under the cover of night, he shared a foundational element of our faith. “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, ESV). Born again. The evangelical community throws this term around as if we all understand what it means. Nicodemus didn’t get it either. “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4, ESV). After thirty years of walking with Jesus, I’m just now getting it.
The moment we believe in the name of Jesus, we undergo a spiritual blood transfusion. The perfect blood of Jesus Christ replaces Adam’s bad blood. Though we are always our mother’s child, our eternal heritage is secure as children of God. We are no longer a crooked branch in a crooked family tree; the Father grafts us into a new family tree–the family of God.We are no longer a crooked branch in a crooked family tree. #bornagain Click To Tweet
Jesus talks about this righteous family tree with his disciples: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, ESV). Abiding in this new family tree means releasing the fear brought on by generational sins. We can lay aside the destructive and self-protective behaviors and, instead, produce the fruit of the Spirit.
We no longer need to fear the blood flowing in our veins for it is the precious blood of Christ. The chains of our family’s past can’t hold us. It is time to know freedom from the fear of what we could become. We are connected securely to The Vine, a branch on a heavenly family tree.