Praise God for godly grandmothers. How many Christians have given testimony of the influence their godly grandmother had on their lives?
But, hey, what about us grandfathers? How can we Christian grandfathers also impact the coming generations with the Gospel of Christ? When our grandchildren look at us, do they see tangible proof that the Gospel changes people? That the Gospel has changed us?
What Christ-reflecting fruit of the Gospel should our grandchildren see in our lives? What character traits should be evident in the lives of Christian grandfathers?
Titus 2:2 can help us. It says, “Older men are to be . . . ”
- Sober-minded: That means that we older men should be clear-thinking, having a balanced perspective on what’s happening around us. By God’s grace, we grandfathers should resist reactionary attitudes in life, ranting and raving about frustrations we are feeling in our family situations, in our jobs, or, especially, in the world of economics and politics. Instead, trusting in our sovereign God, we can process life’s happenings in a calm, sober-minded way and show the younger generations what it means to deal with the ups and downs of life with wisdom and a calm trust in God’s unseen presence.
- Self-controlled: Our grandchildren should be able to see in us grandfathers a Gospel-empowered control over our appetites, our use of time and money, our words, and our tempers. If we are out of control in one or more areas of our lives, we will show the young ones that the Gospel has no real, practical effectiveness in our daily life. That is, we will show ourselves to be hypocrites.
- Sound in faith: We grandfathers should have a growing, healthy grip on the truths of God’s Word, having learned through the years that the Bible is trustworthy. As we hold on to Christ ourselves, we can be anchors to our grandchildren when it comes to believing God’s Word and can model for the coming generations the truth that God is who he says he is, and he does what he says he will do.
- Sound in love: The descriptive phrase common in our culture, “grumpy old men,” should not come to mind when grandchildren reflect on the lives of their Christian grandfathers. When God’s grace gets a grip on the life of an older man, he tends to be gracious, not grouchy. One practical overflow of the Gospel’s effect on the lives of older men is that they have a healthy love for other people. They are “sound in love.”
- Sound in steadfastness: The pains, griefs and disappointments that come from living for decades in this fallen world can make some grandfathers downright negative and pessimistic. But, older men who know the God of grace have lives marked by a healthy endurance. The God-centered hope that fills their hearts is evident in their steady conversations and lifestyles.
So, what empowers this growth of character in the lives of Christian grandfathers? Is it a matter of mere determination? Just do it? Let’s keep reading a bit longer in Titus 2. There’s a connecting word in verse 11 that adds hope and help in this pursuit of leaving a godly legacy. Do you see it? It’s the word “for”.
After painting pictures of what the everyday lives of ordinary Christians in various life situations should look like, the Apostle Paul adds these encouraging words about God’s extraordinary Gospel. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” (Titus 2:11-12). Ordinary Christians can live extraordinary lives because they are empowered by God’s extraordinary grace.
Ordinary Christians can live extraordinary lives
because they are empowered by God’s extraordinary grace.
Not only should we grow in godly character, but we can. We can change. We can grow – no matter how old we are. God has given us his grace – grace that trains us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. We are not stuck, fellow-grandfathers! As Christians, there’s no reason to have a defeatist attitude, “Well, that’s just the way I am. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Listen: We’re not dogs. We are redeemed image bearers of the God who has given us his amazing grace, not only for initial salvation, but for the ongoing transformation of our daily lives.
As Christian grandfathers who want to continue to grow in grace, even in this latter season of our lives, we make a point to block out time to personally read our Bibles. But, we want to read our Bibles correctly. The Bible is not merely some kind of rule book in which a person makes himself good enough for God. When we read the Bible this way, we might be reading the right book, but we’re not reading it in the right way. We can read our Bibles, but miss Christ.
If we are going to read our Bibles in a way that transforms the character of our lives, we must read the Bible in a Christ-centered way. We read our Bibles noticing our need for Christ. Seeing how he brings us to God. Seeing him. And, as we see Christ, the Spirit transforms us. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” God’s Word is a key tool that he uses in his ongoing work of shaping the character of our lives.
If we grandfathers are going to leave a godly legacy for our grandchildren, we must continue to passionately pursue Christ and Christlikeness in daily life. Our lives will impact those of the coming generations. To some measure, our character, our priorities, and our perspectives on life and eternity will be reflected in them. May our grandchildren see Christ in us!