Family Devotions Made Easy: Part 1

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

(Joshua 24:15)

As For Me And My House
Put yourself in Joshua’s sandals at the moment he uttered these famous words to the Israel tribes. He clearly remembered the slavery they had all experienced in Egypt, the miracles God did, the passover, the exodus, the parting of the Red Sea, the leadership of Moses, the 40 years in the wilderness, and the victory in battles upon entering the Promised Land.  Yet with all of those miraculous things, and wonders and provision that God had shown, Joshua knew that the people would still be tempted to return to the idol worship of their forefathers, or of their host-country, the Amorites.

As Christians, it’s easy think that we would never act like the Israelites, and turn our backs on our Creator. But sadly, we often do. Our sinful nature naturally wants to serve the flesh. And so we must remain alert, as in war, and equip ourselves for battle with that fallen nature, with dark spiritual forces, and with the enticements of the world.  What are you personally doing to help your family avoid being sucked back into a lifestyle of idol worship?

Do you have a similar zeal and passion for God like Joshua did? Are you being intentional about your walk with the Lord, and the spiritual well-being of your family members? Or are you taking a more passive and reactionary approach to life, dealing with issues as they arise? My main point in writing this blog is to emphasise the importance of daily family devotions, and it’s immediate and eternal impact on every family member.

Cultivate the Faith

Dear reader, there is an eternity awaiting every soul, including the souls of your family members, friends, neighbors, and strangers.  The Bible shows that we need to be intentionally preparing ourselves for fruitful and life-giving existence here on Earth, and in eternity.

Just as a gardener must cultivate the soil, make sure it has the necessary nutrients for growth, plant seeds, provide ample water and light, weed, prune, and deter pests, so to must we cultivate an environment where our family can grow well in the things of God.  It is my hope that through this blog series on family devotions (a.k.a. Family worship, family altar, etc. I will use these terms intermittently throughout the blog) you will see the why (principles) and the how (application) of family devotions in a clearer light.

Our Great Responsibility Toward Our Wives

We’re first going to take a look at a few verses which speak of a husband’s need to help his wife grow spiritually. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” (Eph. 5:25-26) Through the daily reading of the Bible with our wives we have the chance to sanctify them, teach, and encourage them in their walk with God. Not only this, the man of the house must study the word and be prepared, or at least know how to find the answer, when their wife has a question concerning the things of the Bible.

Men should aim to be the theologians-in-residence of each home. “If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (1 Corinthians 14:35) Obviously this smacks in the face of our modern feministic society which demands equality among men and women while denying any difference in roles. The Bible teaches a complementarian view about men and women’s roles; they are distinct, yet equal in value. This passage is pointing once again to God’s design for the structure of the home, where the husband is at the head (Also see Genesis 3). We men must strive to read, memorize, interpret, teach, and practice the Words of God, that we might be ready at all times to pour this life-giving word on our wives, and thus refreshing their souls, and sweetening their relationship with Christ.

Every Christian man needs to be a man of HIS word, and a man of THE Word. We should study God’s word and learn to use it well (2 Tim. 2:15). Your spiritual leadership should have a life-giving effect on your wife, and not be burdensome, or have a suffocating effect. May God give us grace to be better spiritual leaders to our wives.

Our Great Responsibility Toward our Children

One of my favorite Bible passages in the whole Bible is Deuteronomy 6:5-7: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  These verses speak of the importance of loving God with all that we are, keeping His word in our heart, and sharing it with our children on a daily basis. What better way to grow closer to God and spread the kingdom of God than by the daily reading of His word, meditating on it, and teaching it to our children in the real-life situations, both inside and outside of the home.

Our faith should not be limited to Sunday morning. Nor should it be bound within the walls of our meeting places. Our children need to hear the sweet, life-giving words of God pouring from our mouths, and see the Bible take on flesh and bones through our daily actions. We must also remember that we are in a battle. And all soldiers must go through training to be fully prepared to engage the enemy. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4 My friends, this will take diligence on your part.

Your children will naturally absorb whatever habits, speech, and attitudes that permeate the home. If we revere the word of God with our mouths, but our daily lives don’t reflect the light which the Bible speaks of, then how can we expect our children to draw closer to the light? It is vitally important that we develop a joy-filled, daily practice of Godly instruction and training in the home.

In the next two blog entries I will lay out the basic foundations for daily family worship, and how to get started right away.

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