First Things First: Getting Your Family on Track for the New Year


The New Year has arrived and many have made their New Year’s resolutions – everything from losing weight to finding a better job. However, in order for you to start the year off right, I want to suggest that you put first things first.

Put first things first because what matters the most oftentimes gets lost in our long lists of resolutions. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about your relationship with God. Every year, we vow to be better mothers, fathers, employees, church members, and better stewards over our bodies, but we never resolve to improve our relationship with God. We neglect the health of our soul.

Matthew 6:33 (NRSV) says, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” If we make our relationship with God our first priority, then everything else will fall into place. As we are working on becoming better disciples and children of God, we will naturally become better mothers, wives, fathers, and husbands because the Holy Spirit will show us what matters the most and will equip us to put first things first. When you’re growing in the Word and in spiritual matters, the power and blessings of God will transform every area of your life.

In Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. The man’s land produced so much crop that he focused all of his attention on harvesting and hoarding it. Once the man filled his barn and had acquired all that he had set out to, God called him a fool because his soul was required of him that night. The man failed to keep first things first, so when God called him, he wasn’t ready. His soul was unprepared. This is a major lesson for us. We shouldn’t get so caught up in resolutions that don’t produce an eternal harvest.

God wants believers who are going to be ready. Not only ready for when God calls them home, but ready for when God calls them for ministry – ministry in personal relationships, in your home, in the church, in the community and in the world.

Here are a few ways we can keep first things first beginning in our families.

1) Read and study the Word together.

Don’t wait until Sunday to open your Bibles. Use every opportunity to expose your family to the Word of God. The Word of God is powerful. It’s alive and active and sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It will not return void. You will see changes in your family and life.

2) Pray together.

Pray with your family before everyone departs for work and school. Open the lines of communication in your family with God. Invite the Holy Spirit into your lives and home. God will begin to lead and direct your family to where He wants you to go.

3) Worship together.

Make the corporate worship of God a priority in your family. Don’t make it optional for certain members of the family. When you demonstrate that worship is important to you, it sets a wonderful example for your children. They, too, will begin to prioritize God in their lives.

4) Serve together.

God doesn’t want us to hoard blessings and the good news. He wants us to serve others in ministry. Family service projects are a great way to keep God first. You can serve food in a soup kitchen, collect items for donation, or witness in shelters or group homes. There are many ways to serve.

5) Fellowship or play together.

Carve out time in your schedule to fellowship with your family. Husbands, check in with wives and vice versa. Parents, check in with children. Create opportunities for your family to strengthen relationships and enjoy one another. You’d be surprised by the number of families who cannot talk to each other because they failed to create opportunities to fellowship and spend time together. Our relationship with our spouses and children fall right after our relationship with God.

When you do these things, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier relationship with God and the people around you!

Lauren Jones (@revlaurelj) is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves in the Columbia, SC metropolitan area. As a widow, she balances ministry and motherhood to two rambunctious children. She blogs about her adventures at When she’s not preaching, writing, or changing diapers, she raises awareness about epilepsy and the devastating effects of drunk driving as a volunteer speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She self-published “I’m Singing This Song to You,” a letter to her children in honor of her late husband available for purchase on Amazon.

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