Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.

I didn’t have perfect parents by any means, but I owe much of who I am to them. They taught me about strong morals and right priorities.

I’ll never forget the summer before my brother’s senior year of football. My parents noticed his behavior was veering, so they called us all in the living room to have a little talk.

“Kenny, I know you’re the tri-captain of the football team, and there’s a scholarship waiting on you. But if your behavior or grades begin to go south, the privilege of playing football will be removed.”

Of course, that scared Kenny. But unfortunately, not for long. A few weeks later, we were camping out with some friends, when I noticed one of the kids brought beer. Of course, somehow someone from what we called the MBI (Mothers’ Bureau Investigation) found out and told our mother.

Kenny was so nervous.

“Please, just lie for me this one time, and say it was you,” he begged.

“Kenny, I’m a terrible liar,” I responded.

“Come on, little brother, it’s just a venial,” (All my Catholic friends know what I’m talking about here.)

My parents had grace on my brother that day, but though his punishment wasn’t relinquishing football, it was still pretty big.

Why did my parents raise us that way? Because they knew how vital it was that we make decisions that brought reward to our lives – not ruin. They knew that ultimately my brother’s character and grades would impact his life more than football would.

Around this time of year, we think a lot about kingdoms and countries, especially our great nation of America. We think about what we pledge our allegiance to.

But it’s important to realize that every day, we don’t just pledge our allegiance to a nation – we pledge it to other priorities and habits as well. Pledging allegiance to the right things as a family is absolutely necessary to experiencing God’s blessing together.

So what should we pledge allegiance to? Our first answer is found in Matthew 6:9 when Jesus prays, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven.” So, the first is that we must respect our ruler and His ways over all else. Thank God, our Ruler is perfect, and His plans are foolproof.

The second thing we should pledge our allegiance to as a family is a godly body of believers, a local church, who’ll help keep us on the right path. That’s why Scripture tells us to “not give up meeting together… but encourage one another all the more as we see the day approaching,” Hebrews 10:25.

When we’re faithful to the Kingdom, we’ll always see the King’s reward. God’s plan will overrule sin’s curse in our lives. His Will will rule over our wants, so that we can live in His abundant blessing.

Is your family united as “one family under God”? Who or what are you pledging allegiance to? Right priorities bring Kingdom rewards every time.

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. Visit myffc.com.

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