So you want to lead your family; what does that actually mean? And what can you do to lead well?
So you want to lead your family spiritually? That is incredible! What is it going to take? Let’s talk about that, but let me remind you of a few things before we get started. First of all, God placed you in this position in your family. Psalm 139 tells us that “all the days ordained for you were written in His book before one of them came to be,” so He isn’t caught off-guard by the fact that you are the Father figure in your home. Secondly, He loves your family more than you do! Your family was his idea. Your kids were his idea. So you can trust that as you lead your family, He is at work. Thirdly, God is really interested in your relationship with Him. Not only does God love your family, but He loves you! Choosing to lead your family spiritually is a great decision. An even better decision is to position yourself before God to allow growth in your own life! So what is it going to take? Here are some simple and important reminders as you begin to lead your family:
Leading your family will require the following:
Humility - Jesus gives us an example of humility when He chooses to wash His disciples in John 13. He laid his position aside and became the servant. (Philippians 2) In order to lead your family spiritually, you will have to humble yourself before God and before your family. It’s okay… you don’t have to have it all together as you lead your family. You can position yourself as a fellow learner when it comes to your relationship with Jesus. You and your family are all growing in Christ together. That will take some humility, but we can follow Jesus’ example.
1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV - “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
Courage - We don’t like to admit it, but fear can quickly get the best of us. It could be fear of rejection, fear of not having all the answers, fear of not doing it right, fear of failure, and the list could go on. But remember, God knows your position in your family and has chosen to place you there. He wants you to lead your family. Something that may help you is to name your fear. What are you actually afraid of? After you name it, give it to God and remember what the Lord said to Joshua.
Joshua 1:9 ESV - “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Discipline - Just like exercising, eating healthy, and almost everything else worth doing, leading your family spiritually will require discipline. Sometimes you don’t feel like leading, reading, sharing, teaching, or modeling, but don’t quit! Stick to it! Be as consistent as you can, and soon you will see that it will become a part of you and your family’s rhythm.
1 Timothy 4:7b-10 ESV - “train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Vulnerability - I’m not going to lie to you, being vulnerable is risky. And for some reason, it can seem even riskier when it comes to being vulnerable with our families. We try to put on masks, fake it, and cover up the imperfections, but can I let you in on a secret? Your family knows. They see the good, the bad, the ugly, and they still love you. They know you aren’t perfect. As I stated earlier, you can position yourself as a fellow learner who is working to become more like Jesus with your family. You won’t be perfect, and the risk of vulnerability is that someone might call you out on your imperfections, but those are great opportunities to allow the God of all grace who called you into His eternal glory to personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you. (1 Peter 5:10a HCSB)
Right Expectations - As you lead your family, you will have thousands of unremarkable moments. There will be times when your family seems disengaged, or they don’t want to share, or they don’t want to listen as you study God’s Word together. Remember this: God is at work even when we can’t see Him. His Word will not return empty, but it will accomplish what He sent it for. (Isaiah 55:11) Don’t expect angels to sing every morning, but do expect that God is at work. Give yourself and your family grace, and watch all those unremarkable moments become something amazing over time.
Final thoughts: Start! Start today!
Maybe it’s a prayer time before bed or school or work. Maybe it’s a devotional at the dinner or breakfast table. Maybe it’s worship songs you play and then talk about on Saturday morning before everyone gets going. Just start. And don’t quit. And here is what I know… and ”I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6)