WHAT ARE GOD’S ULTIMATE GOALS FOR YOUR FAMILY?
By Brent Rinehart
Most of us, at some point in time, have thought about goals. We’ve set some, achieved a few, and probably failed to accomplish others. We have worked for organizations with goals and objectives, and perhaps we’ve even been held accountable for our role in meeting them.
We live in a goal-oriented society. We have career goals, retirement goals, and even vacation goals, yet most of us probably don’t think too often about goals for our families.
Rest assured, God has a goal and purpose for your family, even if we don’t give it the attention we are supposed to. The family was God’s idea in the beginning. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him’” (Genesis 2:18). In the garden, the first family had a purpose: to steward, to work, to create and ultimately be God’s companion and bring Him glory. God does everything on purpose, and He created the family with goals in mind. Nothing in His creation is aimless.
We know the family is important. That’s why so many of us spend time with our family and invest in its success. Yet, even still, we rarely think deliberately and intentionally about the purpose – God’s purpose. God didn’t design the family to be that way. The family – in and of itself – is not the endgame. It’s merely a vehicle God uses. These God-given family goals are not secret or hidden from our view. God gives us the Scriptures to show us exactly what He wants to accomplish in our family.
GOD’S GOAL FOR YOUR FAMILY IS TO BRING HIM GLORY
God gives us the opportunity to bring Him glory through our family. So, how do we do this? Simply put, as individuals, we bring God glory when we do His will. And, His will is for us to be salt and light in the world around us. As Lecrae puts it in his song “The Messengers,” “Don’t have to wonder your purpose or what you’re here for. Reflect His image and show the world what He cares for.” Jesus Himself said it this way: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
In the context of family, I bring God glory when as a husband, I commit to loving my wife just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5). We bring God glory when, as parents, we are devoted to raising our kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6). And, we bring God glory when we allow the world to see the love of Christ through our actions and our daily family living.
GOD’S GOAL FOR YOUR FAMILY IS TO DISPLAY HIS CHARACTER
When we become followers of Christ, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our lives are a steady march toward becoming more and more like Christ, with the Holy Spirit’s help. “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” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
As a result, we live our lives in the Spirit and bear fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Our lives should be marked by these characteristics.
God’s goal for your family is to display these fruits of the Spirits – reflections of His very own character. Through our family, we have an opportunity every day to display the fruits of the Spirit. You can show kindness to your children, even when they are driving you crazy. You can show love to your spouse, even when they’ve acted in a way that makes them seem undeserving. You can show joy and patience in the face of adversity. God gave us the family as a training ground to learn and grow in our walk with Him.
GOD’S GOAL FOR YOUR FAMILY IS TO ADVANCE THE GOSPEL
In his book Raising Kingdom Kids, author and pastor Tony Evans writes, “God created the first family. He told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. And the idea was not just to fill the earth with people, but fill the earth with His image in which man and woman were made.” Our chief responsibility as parents is to represent the Gospel. We are to teach our children about Jesus and God’s plan for their lives.
One of my favorite passages is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-7:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Here, God lays out a clear goal for our family – to spread the good news from one generation to the next.
But, this Gospel-sharing isn’t designed to stay confined within the walls of the home. God gives us the family as a means to reach out to others in our neighborhoods and communities. We form connections, through family activities, where God gives us the opportunity to live out the Gospel on a daily basis.
The family was God’s perfect creation in the beginning, designed with specific goals in mind. But then, Genesis 3 happened and the family was forever marred by sin. We took something perfect, and we messed it up. The Bible is chock full of messed-up people with messed-up families. Brothers killing brothers. Sons deceiving fathers. Husbands cheating on wives. Some of the biblical “heroes” carry with them a substantial load of family baggage and bad decisions.
But fortunately, God is the redeemer. He can take something that sin has disfigured – even one of His ultimate creations like the family – and still use it to accomplish His purposes.
We can rest in knowing that “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for [us]; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).