Day 4 – Plans, Hopes, and Dreams for 2021
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8, ESV).
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3, ESV).
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9, ESV).
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17, ESV).
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, ESV).
“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33, ESV).
Relationships develop very early in life, as we are born right into our waiting family. While that family may be by blood or by choice, we begin somewhere. These early relationships are so essential to our mental and emotional health, and an attachment is necessary for personal wellness to develop. We first begin by being a son or daughter, and maybe even a sibling. In a healthy family, we form strong attachments to the people who meet many of our needs. They feed us, clothe us, and give us shelter and protection. Most of all, they give us love. They will always be a part of us, whether we live with them for 18+ years or not. And as we mature, we should develop relationship goals with each of our family members. Unfortunately, some goals may involve creating distance, for protection, but for most of us, one of our goals should be to improve these bonds and be a source of strength and help to those we are related to. This has a scriptural basis, and we are encouraged to honor our parents for the mere fact that it pleases the Lord.
Along the way, we develop friendships. These are also very important relationships that teach us a lot about others and ourselves. We learn how to choose people we are compatible with and enjoy spending time with. These relationships help us in so many ways and give us the sense of belonging and companionship we desperately crave. Some friends will come and go, and some will be our friends for the remainder of our lives. Deep and lasting friendships should inspire us to set goals within them. Be a friend who is always dependable, always encouraging, speaks the truth in love, and prays for your friends. The way we behave as a friend tells a lot about who we really are. Being a good friend should be one of our goals in life.
Then some of us fall in love and develop dating relationships. Our goals within this sphere should include respect, courtesy, honesty, and genuine kindness. We should begin learning how to die to our own agenda and begin putting the needs of the one we love ahead of our own. These relationships should be God-centered, and as Christians, we should take them seriously and not lightly. Leading someone on is biblically wrong; putting on a good cover is deceptive. Our character should be authentic and straightforward. Take this relationship to heart and allow God to guide you in the decision for marriage and in your futures. Make goals together and help one another meet them.
Being a wife or a husband is another serious relationship. There are so many Scriptures for guidance in how to show our love to one another. As wives, we are encouraged first to show our love through respect. And as husbands, we are asked to love our wives as we love our own bodies and as Christ loves the church. These are not suggestions—they are commands. Learning to serve our spouse is a lifelong commitment, and our goals should include our devotion to carrying out this type of sacrificial love. We can always, always improve as a husband or a wife. God places a lot of value on this relationship, and when we stand before our Heavenly Father, we will be held accountable for how we treated our spouse. Write down goals to help you better serve one another, and be faithful in putting them into practice.
Some of us will be blessed to be called “mom” or “dad” in the course of our lives. This is another very important relationship that should be goal oriented. Raising our children with biblical principles and respect for God is a huge responsibility. We are given the very serious task of molding the minds and hearts of our children. It’s never too late to make changes to better these relationships and begin living out the example of Jesus for them to see. When we pass away, we leave a legacy for our children—what does your legacy say? May one of our spiritual goals be that we would leave for our children a legacy that would bring honor to Christ, and not one that would dishonor His name.
As we look forward to this new year, may we consider our relationships and make the necessary changes to better each one of them. Time cannot be taken for granted, and we do not know when our last day will come—but we do have today. As we sketch out some goals for the coming year, may we include improving the relationships God has placed in our lives. Be a better friend. Be a more thoughtful son or daughter. Show kindness to others. Show more grace to our kids and our spouse. May God open our eyes to areas that need improvement, and may we be willing to do the work necessary to make real strides in bettering each relationship.