It’s the end of another year. We can’t help but look back at the past twelve months and reflect on all we’ve done, the places we’ve been, the challenges we’ve faced, our successes and failures. With a new year comes great expectation as we seek to improve and make changes in our life. And like everyone else this time of year, we are setting goals and resolutions to help us accomplish those changes in the year ahead.
It’s no different when it comes to our families. We have hopes and plans for them as well. We want to see them grow in their faith. Perhaps we also want to see our children do better in school. Maybe we hope to see them mature and improve in a particular behavior or sin struggle. Or maybe we desire to spend more time together as a family.
Whatever our hopes for our family this year, there is one goal we should pursue that outshines all other goals. It’s the goal that we were made to pursue. It’s the goal that shapes our life and every other endeavor. And in pursuing this goal, we’ll find every other goal fall into place.
What is that goal? The Westminster Confession puts it like this: “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Paul said something similar when he said, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The Psalmist declared that there is nothing on earth that he desired apart from God, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26).
Glorifying and enjoying God. This our life purpose and our life goal. As we begin a new year, let’s make this goal the driving force for our family.
How can we do that?
1. Teach your children their purpose: Take your children outside at night when there is a full moon and gaze up at the sky. Talk about how the moon has no light of its own but it reflects the light of the sun. Tell them that their purpose is to do the same for God, to reflect him to the world around them. Do a study together on the character and names of God. Explore with them who God is in all his holiness, righteousness, and goodness.
2. Explore the word together: God tells us in his word how to glorify him. Study God’s word together as a family. Read through a book of the Bible together. Memorize a section of Scripture. When a decision needs to be made, discuss together what God’s word says will bring him glory.
3. Enjoy God together: Be intentional in taking time together as a family to explore God’s creation. Talk together about all God has done. Study his promises in his word and talk about how he has fulfilled them. Read biographies of missionaries and other heroes of the faith and be amazed at God’s work in his Kingdom. Rejoice together over answered prayers. Share what you are thankful for each day.
4. Pray: Pray together as a family for opportunities to glorify God this year. Pray for wisdom and discernment to make decisions that bring him glory. Pray for heart’s that desire and seek his glory. And pray that you and your family would come to a place where you can join with the Psalmist in saying that earth has nothing you desire apart from God.
This is a brief life we live. As we enter the next stretch of the race, may we keep our eyes fixed on the prize, glorifying and enjoying God until the race is won.