Sometimes we have questions submitted to the Truth & Circumstances podcast that are better suited for answering on this blog. Here's a good one:
“What are some extremely practical ways that a man can lead his wife and young children spiritually? What does that look like in everyday life?”
These are things we’ve talked about before, particularly in our Boot Camp series, but they certainly bear repeating.
- Keep a close watch on your own spiritual wellbeing.
The best thing you can do for your family spiritually is have a close, vibrant walk with the Lord. Your relationship with the Lord is the well from which you will draw resources to lead your family. Perhaps the biggest mistake that many men make is to think that they can lead their families well while neglecting their own spiritual life. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you are not living a life of fellowship with Jesus, not only will you not have the spiritual resources to lead well, but you will lack all credibility with your wife and children.
At Providence, we regularly talk about the three main means that the Lord uses to foster fellowship with Himself. They are fellowship through the Word, fellowship through prayer, and fellowship through meaningful relationships with other believers. A lot of men are great at the first two, but they overlook or completely disregard the third. If you would enjoy vibrant fellowship with the Lord, you must not only be spending time with Him privately, but you must also be stoking the flames of your affection for Him by having regular conversations about Him with other people who love Him. God has given the church to the church to help the church be the church. There is no other way. You asked for practical, so here it is in very practical terms. Get into the Word, get onto your knees, and get involved with other Christian men who are serious about leading their families. A great first step toward that third means of fellowship is our Men's Reveille that takes place on the second Saturday of the month at 8am at Providence.
- Do with them what you're modeling for them.
Practically speaking, this means reading the Bible with them, praying with them, and getting them involved with other believers. To lead them well, you must make sure that they understand that we don't do these things as ends in themselves. These things are means of fellowship with Jesus. It's all about Him, not tasks. So we go to the Word to enjoy him, we pray to enjoy him, and we spend time with believers to enjoy him.
You cannot make them do these things on their own, but you can create an atmosphere in your home where there is the expectation that they will at least participate in these things with the family. Ideally, you will be training them to do these things on their own as well. They will see that this is just the way that the Christian life is lived, and your enjoyment of the Lord will be contagious to them.
- Bring the things of the Lord into everyday conversations as much as possible.
If you keep your eyes and ears open, there are dozens of opportunities every day to turn conversations toward things of the Lord. Your wife and children have problems - point them toward the Lord. There is evidence of God's hand all around them in nature and their own bodies - ask them questions about these things.
The entertainment that they take in provides a plethora of opportunities to talk about meaningful things. Ask them,"what do you think that song is trying to teach?” “What was the message of that movie?” Then prompt them to compare those things to the truth and wisdom of the Scriptures.
Current events also provide opportunities to talk about the Lord. For many people, even professing Christians, the sky is always falling. When unfavorable things are done by the government, when natural disasters take place, when horrific crimes are perpetrated don't allow those moments to escape without teaching your family something about the Lord, without relating it somehow to the gospel.
In all this, you’ll be training them to view the world through the lens of Scripture and the existence and attributes of an Almighty God. This takes discipline, but it will pay dividends over the years.
These three things come straight from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, where the men of Israel were commanded to love God above all things and to teach their families to do the same. In our Men’s Boot Camp in recent years, we’ve memorized this passage. That’s another practical step I would recommend to keep your own mind and heart focused on the objective.
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
7 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.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut. 6:4-9)