Dear Christian brothers, there is no one in the world better qualified and sanctified to lead and disciple your family than you- not your favorite Christian authors and Christian speakers, and not even your church pastors. Surely, they can all help you along the journey, but only you can do the leading. It’s what you’ve been called to do!
The man you saw this morning when you looked into that bathroom mirror is THE MAN God has called to set the spiritual course of your family.
The One Area We Need to Focus On
There are so many areas of responsibility that us Christian men have to balance on a daily basis: our Christian duty to follow Christ; our duty to provide for our families; to love our wives, to love our children, to love our neighbors, to glorify God in the workplace, etc. And in most of these areas we excel.
A lot of Christian men take their faith very seriously, and this can be seen in the fruit and success of the other areas of their lives.
But there is one area where many of us struggle. And the problem is evident by our difficulty in answering the following question:
“How do I fulfill my calling as the spiritual leader of my family?”
This is the area that we really need to work on. For it’s the one area that “pays eternal dividends.” It’s the one area that will affect the eternal destiny of everyone in our homes.
But why do so many of us have a hard time with this important calling?
I believe that we Christian men struggles with our ability to lead and disciple our families due to several reasons, including both internal and external challenges. Our old foe, the devil, has concentrated his efforts on the heads of homes in order to bring about their ultimate destruction.
Let’s first take a look at the internal pressures and battles we face.
The Battle Within Our Hearts
The battle starts within our own fallen hearts. We were born sinners, and as a result we spew forth sinful motives, thoughts, words, and actions on a daily basis. We need to come before God daily and ask for His forgiveness, and ask for His strength to overcome the spiritual battles that rage within our own hearts- for they are the greatest one we’ll ever face. And what better way to help everyone in the family with this problem than to bring the family before the throne of God, on a daily-basis, through the practice of daily family worship.
The Excuses We Make
Maybe we’re convinced that we do need to take a more intentional approach to equipping and leading our family, but we think that others would do a better job. And in much the same way that Moses asked God to chose someone else, we might come up with the following excuses:
Excuse #1: “There are so many people out there better equipped to spiritually lead than me.”
Our minds are filled with thoughts like: “I never went to seminary. My wife knows more theology and doctrine than I do. She wouldn’t follow my lead even if I tried. I haven’t been a Christian very long. I’m not a good communicator. I can’t preach like my pastor. He’s written books. He’s the professional. I would probably just mix things up and confuse my family even more. I don’t want to lead them in the wrong direction. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
Here’s the thing: God get’s more glory using the underdogs (David), the outnumbered (Gideon/Jonathan and his armor bearer), those who can’t communicate (Moses), the young (King Josiah), and the unprofessional (The disciples), to rock the world and accomplish His mission on Earth.
God is both concerned about His own glory, as well as overall well-being of His children. He gets the glory and our families are blessed when we finally stand up and say, “Here I am, Lord. I’m lacking in so many areas, but I’ll lead the family you’ve given me. Please show me how.”
Excuse #2: “I’ve done all that I can do.”
It’s so easy at the end of a long day at work to want to come home and rest. We convince ourselves by saying and thinking the following- “I’ve already got enough on my plate at the moment. I’m too busy with my work schedule. I’m too tired. I’m emotionally drained at the end of every day. I can’t give any more.”
This is exactly what I was thinking 7 years ago, when I was in a stressful job, where even when I got off from work, the stress followed me home. I was exhausted, worn-out, listless, and emotionally drained.
Brothers, I’m not denying the fact that a lot of us give 110%, day in and day out. Many of us are exhausted at the end of each day, having spent all of our physical and emotional energy fighting battles in the workplace. What I am saying is this: We’re neglecting the greatest duty and calling that we have.
If because of our current schedules and work-demands we fail to fulfill our Biblical and God-given responsibilities to be the spiritual leader of our family, then we have sinned! We have not been faithful to balance our main priorities, our time, and our energy in a way that pleases God. We have to own up to the fact that we have fallen short.
We’ve got to convince ourselves that no, we haven’t given it our all, we haven’t done all that we can do, that is until we start to disciple our families on a daily basis.
Excuse #3: “Everything’s fine just as it is.”
You might be thinking the following words- “My family is doing all right. We love the Lord. We go to a great church on Sunday. We pray over our meals, and before bed. We listen to Christian music at home and in the car. We’re good, man.”
No, my brother, everything is not fine. If all we do is the weekly Sunday or Wednesday night church rituals, sprinkled with prayers and praise music throughout the week, then we’re going to lose our families to the enemy. It is impossible for us to survive the constant attacks, temptations, and distractions of the world without a conscious effort on our part, to train for battle, and to daily be connected to the source of our spiritual life- which is God Himself (John 15:4).
2 hours on Sunday morning is not enough to equip us for the guaranteed spiritual battles and challenges we will face for the other 110 waking hours of the week- in our homes, in our workplaces, in the schools, in our government, in our churches, and everywhere else.
Not only do we have to deal with our own sin, and what happens in our home, there are the countless external forces that seek to distract and destroy us and our families. Here are just a few:
- The Entertainment Media- In addition to our already depraved nature, many Christian’s spend countless hours every day consuming entertainment media that pushes the limits of our moral acceptance. We bring all kinds of filth and wickedness into our home via the T.V., computer, mobile devices, and print media. We become addicted to our devices, distracted from our duties, and end up polluting our minds with never ending content.
- The Schools- Our schools are being used to indoctrinate and pollute the minds of entire generations. Our children are getting 35 hours of God-less, anti-Christ, pro-evolution, pro-lgbt, politically-correct, socialistic, progressive, liberal, peer-dependent, indoctrination every week of the year. What action are we taking to prepare our children for these things?
- Our Governments- Our governments have been busy lately, attacking the vestiges of Christianity in the West through the outright promotion and support of sexual perversion, attacking Christian business owners, tearing apart families, paying for the killing of the unborn, stirring up trouble by meddling in the affairs of other nations, and digging our nations into bottomless-pits of debt.
- The Organized Church- The visible Church has been infiltrated and compromised on so many levels. We live in a day and age where many of the prominent church leaders we look up to, both orthodox and evangelical, are falling in droves to sexual sins, pride, and a compromise of the faith. Many leaders have become wolves in sheep’s clothing, as they spew forth prosperity-gospel nonsense, charismatic-chaos, legalism, or liberal social-justice causes, rather than preaching the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. They run their churches like circuses and businesses, with a greater concern for being “relevant” and keeping church numbers high, than a concern for the holiness of the church members.
Brothers, if we’re going to counter all of internal and external battles we face with just 2 measly hours at church on Sunday, and worship music, and prayers sprinkled throughout the week, then we’re in big trouble. It’s not enough! Our families need us to lead them closer to God.
In conclusion, I want to share with you a very powerful reminder from Oliver Heywood’s “The Family Altar.” I hope that in reading it, your heart would be pierced and convicted, as was mine when I read it. May we be men who are not easily offended, men who can take heavy words and Godly reproof with a humble heart.
In “The Family Altar,” Oliver Heywood says-
“In vain do you complain of magistrates and ministers, while you that are householders are unfaithful to your trust.”… “As you have more opportunity of familiarity with the inmates of your house, so you have more authority over them from their dependence on you to influence them.” “Would you rather see the agonies of your children and hear them crying amidst infernal torments, than speak a word to them for their instruction, hear them cry under your correction, or supplicate God for their salvation? Oh, cruel tigers and barbarous monsters! You may imagine yourselfves to be Christians, but I cannot judge that man worthy to be a fit communicant at the Lord’s Table that maintains not the worship of God ordinarily in his family. And he deserves admonition and censure for this sin of omission as well as for scandalous sins of commission; for he betrays his base hypocrisy in pretending to be a saint abroad, when he is a brute at home.”
These words should humble us, and kindle a righteous anger at our own shortcomings. May we as Christian men awake from our slumber, and our endless distractions, and once again focus on the greatest calling we will ever have- and that is to disciple our family on a daily basis.
We cannot neglect this great calling or delegate it to others.
The harvest in our homes is great, if only we would be willing to take action. Oh that God may give us the strength, wisdom, and resolve to fulfill our duty as the spiritual head of our homes.
How do you feel about your calling as the spiritual head of the home? What are some of the problems you face or successes you’ve had in trying to lead your family closer to Christ? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!