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I grew up in the church, and I accepted Jesus as my Savior at a very young age. I knew that God created me, I knew that He saved me, and I knew that He had a plan for my life. And for about two decades, I was extremely intent on figuring out what that plan was, but mostly (okay, okay, purely) from a self-interested motivation. I wanted to figure out God’s plan for my life so that I could be happy, successful, and fulfilled.
It was all about me and my life here on earth.
A few years ago, I read a book called Kingdom Woman, by Tony Evans and Crystal Evans Hurst. That book was powerful for me for several reasons, but one of the most significant was that it began to change the way I thought about my life. I suddenly began to think about how my life was impacting the Kingdom of God, and it stirred up a desire inside me to create a life that was about more than just me. It gave me a new eternal perspective and began to flip my agenda for myself on its head. I didn’t want to just seek my own self-interest anymore, I wanted to do Kingdom work.
This shouldn’t have been a revolutionary concept. I grew up in a dynamic, faith-filled, Bible-believing church, and you better believe they taught us to seek the Kingdom of God. But for some reason, it never really infiltrated the selfish outer layers of my heart until this book. I needed whatever precise words Dr. Evans and Crystal used to speak to me. (Which, I am confident, God knew, and thus the reason He brought it across my path.)
After Kingdom Woman, I was hooked on Dr. Evans and his Kingdom series. I then read Kingdom Agenda, Kingdom Marriage, and Raising Kingdom Kids. I haven’t yet read Kingdom Prayer, though I want to, but I recently received a copy of his brand-new book, Kingdom Disciples to review. (I’m only two chapters in, but so far it is as excellent as all the others.)
All these “Kingdom” books in light of this month being “the month of family” in my mini-goal series got me thinking. What would a kingdom-minded family look like? The more I thought on that question, the more excited I got, until I knew that it was something I had to write about. More than that, I knew it was a goal I needed to put front and center of our lives.
As I considered the question, I realized that I want my family’s purpose to be about more than our own happiness, comfort, and close relationships, though I do desire those things. I want our lives as individuals and a collective unit – The Mullens – to reflect and carry out God’s will here on earth. And I want our family to have a Kingdom mindset that drives our every enterprise, down to the most mundane everyday activities.
I want a Kingdom-minded family, and here’s how I’m going to nurture one.
What Does It Mean to Be a Kingdom-Minded Family
Before we head into the steps I’m going to take to nurture a Kingdom-minded family, perhaps we should talk about what a Kingdom-minded family looks like. Take a second to jot down a list (a mental one, if nothing else) of what that phrase means to you.
Here are a few things that I came up with:
A Kingdom-minded family …
- Knows that this is not our final home
- Keeps God at the center of its activities
- Understands that each of us has a purpose here on earth that is unique to our particular design, and that this purpose is to bring God glory and further His Kingdom
- Reaches out to others
- Shares our resources as well as our testimonies
- Is not insular, shutting out the outside world out of self-interest or fear, but opens itself up to risk in order to reach the lost and hurting
- Seeks God’s will in all family decisions
- Prioritizes God’s agenda over its own
- Asks itself, “How can we be better ambassadors for God’s Kingdom as a family?”
- Recognizes that there is an enemy who desperately wants to destroy it from its very foundation, and does whatever it takes to protect itself
- Draws closer not just for the sake of having a close family, but in order to strengthen, encourage, and edify each other to do God’s work
- Keeps an eternal perspective on everything it does or wants to do
I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. In essence, a Kingdom-minded family looks beyond its own interests and desires, keeps an eternal perspective, and works together as a team to further the Kingdom of God.
10 Ways I Am Building a Kingdom-Minded Family
As with anything worth striving for in life, as I contemplated these aspects of a Kingdom-minded family, I knew that it was not just going to happen on its own. It was going to require thoughtful planning and intentional effort, and I thought about the steps I would take to nurture this kind of family.
I came up with the following 10 practices I feel are extremely important for building a Kingdom-minded family:
- Attend church as a family
- Allow your children to see you serve in the church (as well as outside of it!)
- Perform charitable acts together as a family, encouraging as much responsibility and autonomy in your kids as is age-appropriate – Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, Meals on Wheels, soup kitchens, etc.
- Engage in family devotions, Bible reading, and/or prayer time
- Pray together as a family about family decisions, or at the very least, talk to your kids about how you prayed about your decision
- Become more missions-oriented – sponsor a missionary, pray for missionaries as a family, go on a missions trip together, read books or watch movies about missionaries
- Decorate your house with Scripture and inspirational quotes (I first read about the importance of this in Kingdom Woman, and it left a lasting impression on me.)
- Find a way to naturally bring God into everyday activities and conversations, reminding your children that He is (or should be) the center of our lives
- Regularly affirm each family member, encouraging him/her to walk in obedience, grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding, and pursue God’s plan for his/her life.
- Be ready and willing to open your hearts, your hands, and your house to those in need.
We are here on earth for a purpose, one that is so much bigger than our own happiness, success, or fulfillment. In our individual lives we should strive to follow God’s plan in order to further His Kingdom agenda. And in our families, we should work together to accomplish His plans in ways that we could not by ourselves.
I hope you took the time to ponder what an eternal perspective might look like for your particular family, and that these 10 practices help you become a more Kingdom-minded family.
If you have any thoughts on what a Kingdom-minded family looks like, or ideas for growing that mindset in our families, please share them in the comments below!
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