Being the Spiritual Leader in Your Home; Something We Can’t Continue to Ignore

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few posts, you’ll start to notice I have a lot of things to work on. Things to get better at. Things to grow in. I write best from personal experience, so most of my posts are about things that I have been through, or am struggling with, or am working on. As a man, I notice that when there is an issue in my life that I need to work on, I don’t always hit it head on right away. Instead, I tend to convince myself that it’s not that big of a deal, or rationalize it by saying “well, I’m doing better than that guy over there”. My Pastor always says  “What you are not willing to confront, you are not willing to change”.  Well, I’m tired of not being willing to change because it’s easier to stay the same old way. It’s time that we as men get off our mental “couch” and start doing some of the work that God has called us as men, as leaders of our households, to do.

Eph 5:25-28 (emphasis addedHusbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

What are we as Men/Dads/Husbands doing to set an example of Godliness in our homes? Not perfection – Godliness. If God has set us as the “head of the home”, to lovingly lead, help guide, and take care of our families, a HUGE part of that is SPIRITUAL leadership. Now I’m not saying we all need to head to Bible school and become pastors (unless that’s what God has called you to do), what I’m talking about here is more PRACTICAL spiritual leadership – leading  by example. You’ve heard the saying “talk is cheap”. If you are telling your kids to do one thing, to behave a certain way, to be honest, etc –  and are not doing these things yourself, correcting your kids for these things comes up pretty hollow.

We need to get our own lives – our own example – in line first, and then correct our kids. No, we’re not perfect (your wife and kids are the first ones to know that), but there has to be a striving from us to be constantly improving! I like what is says in 2nd Timothy –

2 Timothy 3:16 (AMP) Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action

Just because an Olympic runner had a hard time running 1 mile when he first started training, do you think he just said “well, this sucks, I can only run a mile, so I quit!” No! He continued to push himself every day, until he could run 2 miles, then 4, then 10, until he had reached the goal that he wanted to reach. And the funny thing about training is that if you stop training, you start to go backwards. Using the example of our Olympic runner, lets say he got all the way to his goal mileage, and then quit for a couple of months, he would have to start back in the middle somewhere, and get back up to his goal. That’s why it is important that we continue to “train in righteousness” by reading His Word daily! Your wife and kids are looking at you to draw the line on things that are, or are not acceptable in your home – but how are you supposed to know what lines up with His word unless you are reading His Word? Things like –

• TV/Movies – Wondering why your kids have a sassy attitude, or are suddenly talking back to you when you ask them to do something? You might want to take a close look at what “kids shows” they are watching. That title says nothing about how appropriate the content is. Same rule goes for what shows/movies you and your wife watch. Just because you are “adults”, doesn’t make it ok to watch whatever you want. Be the one to speak up and say “I don’t think this is appropriate”, instead of waiting for your wife to mention something. Take the lead!
• Language/Respect – Kids are like sponges. The tone you address your wife with, is the tone that the kids will eventually use to address mom. Same goes with swear words, or inappropriate innuendos that may sneak into your daily vocabulary, sometimes without you really even noticing. There have been a few times now, where my kids have said something inappropriate, and after asking them “where did you hear that?” they replied “from you dad!” I know sometimes it’s hard to not let something slip when you stub your toe, or the kids bust a lamp or something,  but just remember, what you say, they will eventually say also.
• Honesty – This is a huge one where kids learn by example. Like to cut a few corners on the job here and there? Maybe not report exactly all your earnings to the IRS? Maybe you hit a car in the parking lot, but the damage was “barley noticeable”, so you didn’t leave a note? Remember the little eyes that are constantly watching what “dad does”, and are filing that away in their little heads for later in life.
• Devotions/Quiet TimeThis one is so important, I saved it for last. I have struggled with this one even before I had kids, and then after I did, I used them as another excuse as to why I “didn’t have time” for reading the Bible DAILY, or spending time in prayer. I have become better at it over the years, but it is still something I struggle with. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar to you: You go to bed later than you wanted to because after the kids go to bed is the only time you have to get the stuff done you have to do like bills, spend time with your wife, catch up on all the “to do” items on your list. Since you went to bed late, you end up hitting the snooze button a few times before you get up, so it throws your morning late. Since you’re already running late, you tell God that you’ll have to catch him tonight after you get home from work. Of course when you get home, the kids all need something, your wife wants help with dinner, and your dead tired and end up rolling into bed at 11pm again, telling the Lord that you’ll do better tomorrow. Sound about right? So here’s what my wife and I did: We decided that when we get up in the morning, we can’t even TURN ON our computers until we have our devotions. It’s amazing how much better your morning goes, and how much extra time you seem to end up with, if you put Him first! This is something that HAS to become a PRIORITY in our daily lives. Our marriage, parenting, and closeness with the Lord, depends on it. Does it have to be first thing in the morning? No, but in the morning you are at least half awake. At night I find it hard to concentrate on reading the Bible sometimes, but everybody is different, do what works for you!

Don’t allow “good enough” to be the standard that you set for leading your family spiritually! God put you in that leadership role for a purpose! He’s not asking you to be perfect, He’s just asking you to lead to the best of your ability, and with HIS “ how-to manual” always by your side.

    • Cathy
    • July 19th, 2012

    What if it’s the women that’s the spiritual leader, simply because she has a regular practice by going to church and praying regularly, reading the scriptures, and not her husband ?
    What if it’s the women who is also the “head” of the family (both financially and shows more authority) ?
    What then ?

    • That’s a tough one Cathy. I know there are homes in which the man is not only not interested in being the spiritual leader in the home, but isn’t interested in even going to church. So the kids never see dad put any emphases on a relationship with God, and even though mom makes them go with her, they always remember that Dad never went when I was a kid, so it must not be important.

      If your husband IS a Christian, but is just having a hard time leading spiritually in the home, the worst thing you can do is make him feel bad about it. Odds are he is already feeling “inept” in this area, and knowing that your spiritual life is on track and much outwardly better than his, is making it even harder. He is scared to lead out, because he feels that you already know things about the Bible better than he does, or would correct him about Biblical things, etc.

      I would just try and encourage him in any effort that he shows in sitting down with the kids and reading them a Bible story, or in setting a rule against R rated movies in the home, or in praying with the kids at bed time, etc. Also, the more you start to “step down” from the role that you’ve held for a while now, the more he is going to see an opportunity to step up.

      Does any of that help at all?

      Thanks for the comment!

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