What are God’s purposes? This foundational question sets the course for all Christian families. His purpose is the glory of His name in every nation and in every generation through the redemption of sinful people by His Son, Jesus. Simply, God’s methods for accomplishing this purpose on the earth are threefold. First, that His people love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Second, that His people love others as He does (Dt. 6:4-9, Matthew 22:36-40), and third that His people make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
How do I make God’s purpose the heartbeat of my family life? Here are three simple ways. First, pray the purposes of God with your family. Imagine praying with your children this way every day. “God, would you help Gabriel to love you with all of his heart, all of his mind, all of his soul, and all of his strength? Would you help him to see people and love them like you love them? Would you give him wisdom to share the gospel today with those people your Spirit leads him to? Make him a mighty man of God who brings glory to your name in his generation and throughout the nations all of his days.” This is not a selfish prayer, but, instead, an abiding prayer that will bear much fruit according to John 15. As Gabriel hears this prayer each day his heart will shape spiritually toward the purposes of God.
Secondly, love others with your family. You can do this as a part of everyday life and likely in the context of the missions ministry of your church. Get to know your neighbors. Invite them for dinner. Linger outside for driveway conversation. Pray for them when they are sick or suffering. Share the gospel with them as you build a relationship with them. Serve them by checking their mail, mowing their grass, and picking up their yard when they are out of town. Love the people that you come in contact with every day. Allow your family to experience your way of loving people and allow them to participate. Pray for others with your family. Participate in local service projects and missions opportunities through your church with your family. The best way to teach your family to love others is to demonstrate and guide them to experience serving others. Currently, one of our neighbors is suffering with cancer. My wife loves this family by watching their children, listening to them, and praying with them. Our daughters have been right in the middle of all of that love and certainly they are learning to bring glory to God by loving others.
Finally, go to the nations with your family. Making disciples of all nations includes the nation in which you live and extends to the people groups of the world. You might lead your family to gain God’s heartbeat for the nations by praying for an unreached people group consistently. Our family is praying for the Alawite Muslims of Lebanon and Syria on a regular basis. As your children grow consider going on a short-term mission trip with them. Go on at least one international mission trip with each child before they graduate from high school. Investing in this way financially and experientially will write the purpose of God for His glory through the nations on the heart of your family.
In order to make God’s purposes our own and central to our family life, we must demonstrate the application of His purposes to our children and experience God’s heartbeat for others and the nations together. While teaching is important, demonstration and experience are the keys to developing a heartbeat for the purposes of God in our families.