2020 Family Resolutions
I don’t know about you, but I often have a love/hate relationship with New Years resolutions. Maybe it is my innate tendency to go against the grain, but I am more apt to stay away from long lists of resolutions made at the New Year than to embrace them. Yet I do love resolutions, and I must admit that the New Year is a fitting season to consider our lives and what we want to make of them.
Consider the apostle Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:11-12).
Paul’s prayer for this people is that God, by his power, would fulfill every resolve they have for good and every work of faith done in his name. Why? So that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in them, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is right for Christians to take moments where we intentionally resolve to do good for the glory of our great God.
This is especially critical for believers to do in a culture that is quickly turning away from God and any fear of Him.
My aim in this blog is to help families consider a few resolutions you may want to adopt in this New Year. Certainly, these practices can be taken up by anyone, but I want to specifically challenge parents to think intentionally about how your family will bring glory to God in the coming year. We believe parents are the primary disciplers of their children, and that means the most regular and significant spiritual activity which occurs in a child’s life ought to take place in the home. Let’s resolve to intentionally raise our families in the fear and admonition of the Lord this coming year. Here are a few ways to do that.
1.) Resolve to speak the gospel in your home every day.
The gospel is the power to save. In a broken world, our need for salvation is ever present before us. Please know, when I speak of salvation, I do not mean the moment of our conversion alone; I mean the entirety of our sanctification as well. The gospel is the grace of God which saves us from beginning to end, and we must meditate on it daily. Parents, speak the gospel regularly in your homes. Let your spouse and kids be reminded daily that Jesus died to pay the penalty for their sin. Tell them that Jesus resurrected in power as the assurance that he will begin to deliver us from our sin now and will one day bring that process to completion. Preach to one another that the reason for the brokenness all around and in us is sin, and that Jesus came so that all might be made new. Make the gospel utterly central this year. If you want a good book to help you think through the gospel and its implications, check out Greg Gilbert’s What is the Gospel?
2.) Resolve to saturate your family in the Bible at lease once a week.
When praying for his people in John 17:17 Jesus says, “Sanctify them in your truth, your word is truth.” We are sanctified by the word of God. Ideally, families should aim to be in the word together far more than once a week, but once a week is a good place to start. Resolve this year to gather your family once a week to read the Bible and talk about it. This doesn’t have to be a full church service in your home. You don’t need to prepare a sermon or a formal devotional. Just open the Word and read it together. Choose a book of the Bible and read one chapter at a time. Stop and discuss. Ask questions together. Explore, seek, dig. Maybe you commit to have everyone at the dinner table at a set time on a set day once a week. Sunday lunches can often be a good time to start something like this. Whatever works for your family, resolve to be in the Bible together. What could be better for us than regular exposure to the words of the living God?
3.) Resolve to pray together without ceasing.
Prayer is an act of dependence upon our sovereign God. We need him desperately. Parents, model dependence upon God by praying for and with your children. Pray for big things and small things. Pray for God to bring glory to his name through the life of your family. Pray for the salvation of the lost, pray with thanksgiving for the food on the table, pray for friends/family who are struggling, pray for the scraped knee to heal quickly, pray for cancer to be eradicated, pray for the forgiveness of your sins, and pray to tell God how glorious he is. Pray at your meals, pray at bedtime, pray during family worship. Pray as often as you can, because we are always dependent upon God. Let me challenge you, however, to be intentional as well. Ask your child how you can pray for him/her at least once per week. A good time to do this may be towards the end of your Bible reading time together as a family. Stay up on what your kids are struggling with and pray with them about it.
4.) Resolve to dine with tax collectors and sinners.
Have your kids ever witnessed you sharing the joy and hope of the gospel with a sinner? When is the last time you intentionally had a non-believer over for dinner to love them with gospel-hospitality? Have you ever? If not, this is your year. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to be sharing far more meals with those who are far away from God. There is no better way for your child to learn what it means to live on mission than for them to see it lived out in your home. The walls, roof, and table that God has blessed you with must not become a monastery of comfort and ease, but rather it must be a wartime medical tent where the broken come to find healing. Your table should be used to serve more than food for the body, it should be used to serve food for the soul. Resolve to intentionally have someone who is far from God over for dinner at least twice this year. Again, this should happen far more often than twice a year, but let that be a starting place. Invite a non-believing co-worker over. Reach out to your neighbors. Serve them some food and then serve them Jesus. For an excellent and perhaps paradigm shifting biblical look at hospitality, I highly recommend Rosaria Butterfield’s Hospitality Comes with a House Key.
Brothers and sisters, let us resolve to do these good works and more. God is worthy of all glory, and honor, and praise. For the sake of our joy and his glory, let us give him the praise due his name.
Brendon is Associate Pastor of Student Ministry at First Baptist Church in Canyon, TX. He has been married to his wife, Julie, for 7 years and is the father of 3 daughters and a newborn son. Brendon is a native of Amarillo, TX where he graduated from Amarillo High School before going on to complete his undergraduate work at Boyce College in Louisville, KY. He then went on to study at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville where he completed his Masters of Divinity. In his free time Brendon enjoys getting outdoors by hiking, backpacking, and camping. He is also passionate about beards and coffee, two of God’s glorious gifts to the world.