With a New Year looming on the horizon and sparkling new planners that beckon us to fill every waking moment of our family lives with activities that engage, entertain, yet often distract us from the really important things in life, I’ve come to realize that if we truly want to impact the world for God – if we want God to use us and our families as agents of change in the lives of others – we must begin thinking and acting differently than those around us.
We must make it our priority to identify God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will for our lives.
In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul beseeches us:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This year, instead of spending valuable energy pursuing New Year’s resolutions that will most likely be abandoned by January’s end, let’s invest our precious time pursuing God’s plans and priorities for our lives!
Scripture is clear. God truly has a personalized plan for each one of us, parents and kids – one that He established before we were even born! Following are a few Scriptures that demonstrate how Our Heavenly Father created each of us with a unique and special purpose that only we can fulfill.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
So, how do we know what God wants us to pursue in the New Year? How do we know what God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will is for our lives? Here are a few habits that have made a tremendous difference in my ability to hear from the Lord!
First and foremost, ask God!
Pray for His wisdom and guidance. Seek the Lord’s counsel in every area of your life and the plans for your family. I find that the more that I humble myself before God and trust Him to direct my paths, the easier it is to recognize the places where He is leading.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:4
Spend time each day reading God’s Word and listening for His voice.
Spent time with God’s Word individually and as a family. Notice what passages jump out and “ping” you in Scripture as you’re reading and explore those verses in greater depth. Is there a lesson in that passage that applies to your situation – an instruction or admonition that you need to apply to your life? Be aware of how God speaks to you in your daily life as well – sometimes He speaks to us through people, books, and even our circumstances! Remember, Jesus tells us:
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. – John 10:27
Give God first place in your life!
Make God the priority of your family. Begin and end the day by spending quiet time with Him. Honor the Sabbath. Make time in your schedule each day to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. – Matthew 22:37
Identify and use the spiritual gifts that God has given you to build up and bless the body of Christ.
God has created each of us so uniquely that even when we share the same spiritual gifts as another person, our life experiences, heart desires and personal passions inspire us to use our gifts in entirely different ways to minister to entirely different people! So, never look with envy at how God has blessed another person or another family and desire to be like them. Instead, praise God for how He has wonderfully and fearfully made you and ask Him to reveal the wondrous ways that He wants you to express your gifts!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10
Place yourself in community with others where you can serve one another in love.
Commit yourself to becoming a member of a biblically sound local church. Attend church regularly so that you become rooted in God’s Word, develop healthy relationships with other members of your spiritual community, and participate in activities where you can actively use your spiritual gifts and serve others in love.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
– Hebrews 10:24-25
As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a strong spiritual foundation. We want our kids to know who God is, how much He loves them, and what His plans are for their lives.
That’s why I’m giving the kids in my life God’s Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible by Rick Warren. This book uses child-friendly language and engaging illustrations to illustrate 40 foundational principles found in Pastor Warren’s #1 New York Times bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life.
The colorful illustrations and narrative tone bring beloved Bible stories to life while correlating them with themes that aligns with one of his foundational principles. God’s Big Plans for Me Storybook Bible is an inspiring book for children that readers of all ages will enjoy!
How does God reveal Himself to you in your daily life? Do you find it easy or challenging to hear His voice? What are His plans for you this year? Please share your thoughts on our blog!