A few days ago a friend wrote this question in through this blog:
When you think of a spiritual leader in the home, paint me a picture of what that would look like?
GREAT question, and one we often hear from premarried couples, newlyweds, couples with kids and even from empty nesters.
I have decided to split-up my response into three separate posts.
- Part 1 – How do I lead myself spiritually?
- Part 2 – How Can a Husband Best Lead His Wife?
- Part 3 – How can a dad best lead his children and home?
No doubt there will be some overlap between these three posts, but the content is too crucial to cram into one post. Rather, my hope is that you will read all three posts and digest them slowly, so that you do not just understand the role of the godly husband but also apply what you learn.
Much has been written on this topic, but here are some thoughts (fueled by God’s Word and some input from friends) on what spiritual leadership looks like in the home. CAUTION: This is not a todo list a godly husband/father does in order to merit God’s favor. Rather, this list serves to provide a job description for the spiritual leader in the home.
If reading this list discourages you, I get it. If you’re overwhelmed, I understand. My challenge for you is to simply take one step towards being the spiritual leader God desires for you to be and that your family needs. You’re not alone in the battle. Stick around to the end of the series for some hope and encouragement.
How do I Lead Myself Spiritually?
Anyone who has ever flown on an airplane has heard the familiar instructions of what to do in case of an emergency. An air mask will drop from above your head, and when it does, place the mask on your face. If you are traveling with small children, remember to put on your mask before you put on the mask of your child(ren). While at first glance this seems selfish, the idea is that you need to take care of yourself and make sure you have the oxygen you need in order to best serve and help your children.
Today’s post follows a similar pattern. Before you worry about leading your wife and children, you need to make sure you are getting the ‘oxygen’ you need. In other words, before you can lead others, you need to make sure you cultivate spiritual intimacy in your own life as the leader of your household.
- A spiritual leader spends time in God’s Word. He abides in Christ first and foremost so that He can lead at home, in his job and in his community (John 15:4-5). He reads God’s Word, memorizes God’s Word (Psalm 119:9, 11) and doesn’t just read it, but does what the Word says (James 1:22-24). The Key to Growing in Your Marriage is spending time in God’s Word.
- A spiritual leaders prays. He knows one of the best ways for him to lead his family is by growing in intimacy with the Lord through prayer. I just finished a great book on prayer called Praying the Bible, by Donald S. Whitney. The book is an easy, yet profound read, and may change the way you pray. I have already given away several copies of this book.
- A spiritual leader prays FOR his spouse and children (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Colossians 4:2). He knows what burdens his family and how to pray for them individually. For example, every year I pick one verse for each of my children that I pray consistently for them for one year.
- A spiritual leader makes community and church a priority and makes sure his family is surrounded by wise counsel (Hebrews 10:24-25, Proverbs 13:20). He makes the effort to find a church and to be active in the local church. He takes the initiative in finding and diving into community. The husband who does not lead his family like this reminds me of the dad in Norman Rockwell’s famous Easter morning painting.
- A spiritual leader makes disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Whether in his own home, at work in the community, as a coach or in church, a godly leader lives out the Great Commandment to make disciples, teaching and baptizing others, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Along those lines, a spiritual leader shares his faith with others and models this for his wife and children.
Husbands: you have signed up for an incredibly challenging role. Men tend to be passive and we tend to follow what we saw growing up. Most of you probably did not have a great model of what it means to be a spiritual leader in your home. I hope God’s Word and this series help give you some tools you need to be a great spiritual leader in your home.
Go through the ‘Your Turn’ questions below and take one step towards being the spiritual leader in your home.
- Take some time to read through each one of the scripture references above. I intentionally did not include the scripture so that you would need to make some effort to read God’s Word.
- Pray. Where are you doing well when it comes to leading yourself? Where do you need to grow? What is ONE step you can take to better lead yourself so that you can lead your family?
- Watermark’s lead pastor, Todd Wagner, put together a great list of characteristics of a Godly Man and Godly Woman. You can download the list here. I’d recommend printing this out, reading it over and learning the characteristics of the godly husband.
- Read Parts 2 and 3 on leading your wife and leading your children and home.
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