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I hope you had a great Christmas and are giving some thought to the New Year and how God would have you grow and mature.
Psychologically speaking, the start of the year is a great time for new beginnings and second chances. Of course, biblically speaking any time is the perfect time for fresh starts, and that’s one reason I’m overjoyed that our podcast is always available. And since our content is evergreen, you can listen to them at any time and be blessed, challenged, admonished, and encouraged.
I love that we serve a God of change. He doesn’t change, but He’s all about changing us.
If we couldn’t change and grow and mature, there would be no point to a podcast like this. But the biblical reality is that God has provided a way to radically revolutionize our lives and families.
And speaking of growing and changing, you totally need to subscribe to The Celebration of God podcast.
The Celebration of God is a discipleship experience whereby we learn to be better disciples of Christ, and we learn how to help our kids do the same.
Seriously, you need to check it out.
Alright, so it’s a new year, and it would be great if this fresh start could produce some new and exciting and more mature versions of us and our kids. So, how can we do that?
Well, that’s the topic of today’s episode, and it will also be the topic of our live Wisdom talk tomorrow at 11:00am EST.
Make sure you download the Wisdom App. There will be a link in the description of today’s episode, and then follow me @AMBrewster, and then join us for a live conversation about New Year’s Resolutions, helping our kids make and keep them, resolutions that you and your family have made, and the like.
I’ll also be answering any of your New Year parenting questions.
I hope you’ll join us there. All you have to do is hit “Join,” or — if someone else is talking, you can click the “+” button to be put in the queue. The more people who get involved, the more beneficial it will be for all of us.
Lastly, we have free episode notes and transcripts available for you on our blog, Taking Back the Family.
Now, let’s get to resolving!
In episode 158 we discussed “Help[ing] Your Children Discover God’s Will for Their Lives.”
Part 1 of that study revealed that our whole purpose in this life is to glorify God by doing His will.
We proved this by acknowledging that the Holy Spirit does the will of the Father and Jesus does the will of the Father. But we also saw that Paul and the other apostles did the will of the Father, and finally that we’re supposed to do the will of the Father as well.
Please take the time to listen to that series. In it we fill out all of these ideas with Scripture and practical application as we discuss how to help your child discover God’s will for their lives in general and — more specifically — their occupations.
And then, in Part 1, we focused on Philippians 1:3-11 and we found that Paul tells us — in part — what the will of the Father is.
In that one section we learn that it’s God will for us to partner in the Gospel, abound in knowledge and discernment in our love, approve what is excellent, be pure and blameless, and be filled with the fruit of righteousness.
And then in Part 2 we got even more specific. We saw what it means to be excellent, pure, blameless, and righteous.
For example, we learned that God wants your kids to live opposite of the world. But He also wants them to live opposite of their flesh. He wants them to be so consistently good that the world cannot blame them. God also desires for your kids to obey their authorities and give to people in need. Of course, it’s also God’s will that they abstain from fornication, be thankful in all things, and . . . basically do everything the Bible commands.
By the way, we have tons of other episodes that build on the concepts we learned in that series. For example, in episode 138 we start the Teach Your Children to Obey Series.
In episode 128 we unfolded The Four Family Loves Series to teach our families how God defines love.
And in episode 212 and 213 we discuss how to Teach Your Children to be Grateful.
Any and all of these shows will be a fantastic compliment to today’s study.
So, what’s the point in me taking all of this time to review the God's Will for Your Child Series?
I would argue that the single best things in life for which to aspire are the things for which God commands us to aspire.
In Psalm 37:4 we learn, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 1 teaches us that we will be blessed when we delight in the Law of the Lord.
Here’s my point, if I know what God’s will for me is . . . then I should be aspiring to nothing more or less than fulfilling that will in my life.
This means that when it comes to making New Year, Middle of the Year, or End of the Year Resolutions, we should start first with the Lord’s expectations.
Is it good to resolve to get better grades in the New Year? Sure, but I would ask why you weren’t getting better grades earlier.
I think what we’ll find is that — in order to get better grades — you must first become a better person. You must be more responsible, consistent, diligent, wise, and obedient. The Bible doesn’t say anything about “getting good grades,” but it says an awful lot about being the type of person who will likely — as a result of maturing in Christ — find it easier to get good grades.
Now, I’m not preaching a health, wealth, and straight-A Gospel here. I’m just saying that when I follow after Christ, I will become a more diligent worker. That will, in one way or another, have an impact on my grades. Regardless of whether I’m innately a C-student or an A-student, I will be much closer to realizing my best.
Like we’ve said often on this show, it doesn’t matter so much what you do, but who you are.
In fact, we made the identical observation in the first part of God's Will for Your Child Series. I said, “We will never do what we’re supposed to do if we’re not who we’re supposed to be.”
Now, the title of today’s episode is “Make Christ-honoring Family Resolutions.”
I believe it’s a good idea to make New Year Resolutions, and I believe that it’s part of our parental responsibility to help our children understand what resolutions are, how we can make good ones, and how we can be successful at them.
In fact, I would argue that what I just described is the core of the “Parent’s 5 Jobs.”
That series starts in episode 184, and it talks about how we’re supposed to teach our children the right direction, help them understand when they’ve gone the wrong direction, counsel them in how to change directions, and train them to continue going the right direction. And we do this because we’re — first-and-foremost — Ambassadors of God.
New Year’s Resolutions can be a valuable part of that process because they require that all five parental jobs be applied in order to make them successful.
We need to teach our children what God says about their lives, we need to help them see that they should resolve to make a change in the areas where they lack, we need to help them practically work through what it means to change in that area, and we need to support them as they strive to be successful in their resolutions beyond January.
So, what does this look like?
Well, in order to make a resolution that glorifies God, I propose we must do the following.
1. We need to know God’s expectations.
If we haven’t studied the life of Joseph or Daniel, if we haven’t considered the implications of being a light in this dark world, if we’ve never heard about the one-anothers, then we have no hope to accomplish any of those things in our lives.
With that said, I believe every Christian on the planet should start with this New Year Resolution — “By the grace of God, I want to know His Word better this year.”
2. Resolve to be what God commands.
Now, this can sound daunting, I know. I agree with you — to try to resolve to be all that God commands us to be is impossible and will likely end up being discouraging.
So, here are two sub-points:
1. We can easily resolve that, “By the grace of God, I want to take His commands seriously in my life this year.”
2. We can help our children focus on the big-ticket items in their lives.
Let’s just be painfully transparent. We all need to grow in our sanctification. There are ugly little things about you that — honestly — you know are wrong. And if you can’t think of anything, then please understand that you may be living ignorantly of God’s Truth, or you’re in a I John delusion of being incapable of seeing your own sin.
This is why it’s extremely important to have other people who can help us see the darkness in our own hearts.
And — as a Biblical family counselor — the best issues with which to deal are not the low-hanging fringe-fruit; before we can ever hope to deal with the splinters we have to deal with the logs.
I know, I’m mixing my metaphors. The point is, if you’re going to make resolutions that glorify God, get down to the real root of the problem.
Biblically speaking, here are the big ones:
1. Pride — this is the biggest root issue in all of our lives. From this ugly, malignant stump grows all sorts of sin. In fact, the rest of this list grows from pride.
2. Lack of Trust
5. Hate — as opposed to love
Imagine if just those 5 issues were addressed with each member of your family. Imagine children who humbly trusted God and worshipped Him in Truth and Love.
So, have a conversation with your children individually and talk about these five areas. Ask them with which they struggle the most. Speak to them about the past year, draw their minds to a bird’s-eye-view of their choices and help them identify which of the Big Five they should resolve to tackle this year.
3. Submit your secondary resolutions to God’s Truth.
Is it okay to resolve to get better grades, finally learn to play the piano, make the bed more consistently, and try to cut out sugar from your diet? Definitely.
But real success is going to come from working toward God’s goals for His purposes and in His power.
Why does it glorify God to make my bed? Why would the Lord be pleased by reducing my sugar intake? Study the Word, understands God’s will for our lives, desire change for His glory, and take everything back to His Word.
So, in review . . .
I pray this will get you and your family going in the right direction when it comes to New Year Resolutions, and I hope that you’ll join me tomorrow for our live Wisdom talk to discuss even more practical things we can do to parent our kids during the New Year.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, and I hope you’ll join us next time as we once again open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
To that end, we’ll be discussing how an Unloving Family is a Bigger Problem than You Realize.
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