“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:15.
We men take great pride in the fact that we are the head of our household. We may never be in charge any place else in this world, but at home we are the ‘King of our castle’. We even remind our wives at times who is in charge. There is only one problem—if we are a Christian man, we are no longer in charge. We have a Head — Jesus Christ is! [I Corinthians 11:1-3]. If we expect our wives and children to honor, respect and obey us—we must be in submission to Jesus Christ.
Very few wives are reluctant to submit to a husband who treats them and loves them, “Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” [Ephesians 5:25].
Yes, God wants the man to provide and lead his family in temporal matters, but He also expects the man to be the spiritual leader and priest in his family. Most Christian women deeply desire to have husbands who will take the lead at home in spiritual matters. The problem is that most men do not know what it means to be a ‘spiritual leader’.
Let me share three principles of spiritual leadership as given in the book, “The Making of a Man”, by Richard Exley.
1. A Spiritual Leader must minister out of the overflow of his own spiritual life.
It is not something we do ,but rather it is what we are. We must cultivate our own spiritual life before we can lead our family. If we are to be strong physically we must discipline our lives to exercise and to eat properly. Just so, we must practice daily spiritual disciplines: prayer, Scripture reading, study, fellowship, worship, hospitality and service to others.
2. A Spiritual leader must lead by example.
The family is watching. We can fool a lot of people but never our wives and children. What a responsibility! We must live before them a life above reproach.
Our family must see us reading our Bible; hear us pray in the spirit calling out their names. They must see us sacrificing for the Gospel, giving of our finances to the gospel and loving the brethren. If we want them to respect the people of God, they must never hear us at home criticizing the church or the people of God.
At church, if we want our children to actively praise the Lord, they must see us with our hands up praising God. If we want them to go to the altar, we must take them to the altar putting our arms around them and praying with them weeping and calling their names out before God. As did the ‘Fathers of the Faithful’—our children should experience us laying our hands on them and praying blessings over them. They should see us writing the check for our tithes, sealing it and placing it in the offering plate.
As Spiritual leaders, we must show our family the love of God – loving our wives and our children.
3. A Spiritual Leader must establish traditions and memories that can be passed down generation to generation [Genesis 12:25,26].
A spiritual man will establish traditions that can be passed on. Traditions are important and we find security in them. A habit of a household is hard to break. A family that prays together not only will likely stay together but will continue to pray together.
You as the spiritual leader must be the one who establishes a family altar in your home. There should be a place and a time set aside for family devotions. I remember well when my teenage daughter came home from Sister Sponselor’s Sunday School class and looked me in the eye and asked me, “Why are we not have a family altar?” That day I established a tradition of reading the word of God and praying after breakfast before the children went off to school. This memorial is still with us today—even now, after the kids are gone Lorraine an I read a devotion and pray after breakfast.
As Spiritual Leader it is my place to make sure everyone in my family is in church every time the doors are open. I thank God that I do not have to worry and wonder where my family will be on any Sunday morning. It is a tradition handed down to me and I in turn must hand it to the next generation.
“We have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments,” [Psalm 78:3-7].
Would it not be great if we took our wives’ place in kneeling and praying with the children before they went to bed? As leaders, we must get back to anointing our family with oil and praying the prayer faith over them when they are sick instead of going after the aspirin bottle. Prayer should be a custom at every meal and mandatory after we spank our children. The rod of discipline should be connected always with loving prayer. Try it—it works!
Last, but not least, you should reserve one night a week as a “Family Night”. This is one night a week when the phones are turned off and the family eats pop-corn and play games together. Every birthday and good grade at school warrants a special night celebration and blessing.
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