How to be a better spiritual leader for your family.
Why do men struggle to be spiritual leaders at home?
First of all, it’s a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12). If there is no prayer at home, then there will be no power at home, and the Enemy wins. Second, prayer seems unproductive to an outcome-driven man. He may consider it a waste of time. When we don’t see the results, we become frustrated and we can give up. Third, we still wrestle with our own weaknesses and wounds, and that immobilizes us with guilt and shame (2 Cor. 12:9). Fourth, we convince ourselves that we’re not good at being spiritual leaders, so we avoid the potential failure. So we give that role to our wife, our girlfriend or the most spiritual person in our homes. Finally, we’ve underestimated our influential role at home to model humility and desperation after God (Ps. 63:1). Men have lost their spiritual drive and it’s time to get it back.
5 WAYS MEN CAN GET THEIR SPIRITUAL DRIVE BACK
1. Remember You Are A Son, First.
All of us have fathers who have let us down in some way, shape or form. And none of us was the perfect child. But God is a perfect Father. And he calls you son. Even when Jesus was asked about how to pray, the first part of Jesus’ answer is that we are to look up to God and call him Father. And if he is our Father then that makes us his sons. We have been adopted into the family of God through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:15). When we pray and lead our families as sons of God it reminds us that we have a Father who loves us deeply and sincerely cares about our every need. And a father’s affirmation helps us as men to go the distance.
Even Jesus needed the affirmation of the Father as a son when he was living and doing life and ministry. Of the three times God spoke from heaven, two of them were affirmations of his sonship. If Jesus needs that reminder to be a spiritual leader, so do the guys in your life.
2. Embrace the Grace.
Embrace the grace God has given you to love Jesus personally so you can influence those around you spiritually. God’s grace (favor and acceptance of you) not only saved you, but sustains you (Eph. 2:8–10). Nothing can separate you from the love of God and his plans and the future he has for you and your family.
No matter what kind of week you have had as a man of God, God’s love for you hasn’t changed. Because God doesn’t change. He’s not more in love with you today than he was yesterday. He doesn’t love you less because you sinned more. No way. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). God loved you before you ever loved him (Rom. 5:8). The love God has for Jesus, his Son, is the same love God has for you. Grace is the acceptance of God you can never earn but simply receive. When it seems like the world is always against you, remember that God is always for you. And if God is for you, who can be against you (Rom. 8:31)? You have what it takes to be the man your family needs … and wants.
3. Eliminate Busyness.
As men, if we don’t eliminate our busyness, we just may eliminate our souls. Developing a lifestyle of coming early to work and staying late to earn a paycheck or position is not sustainable for any spiritual leader. It’s time for us as men to take a hard but practical look at the busyness that our life accumulates. We have to slow down and take an inventory of the choices we are making daily that are sabotaging our peace and compelling us to rush, chase achievements and overcommit. Confronting the “idolatry of speed” that is causing so much emotional and relational trauma for us and our families is important. We need to remember to “be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
4. Leverage the Dinner Table.
Most guys love to eat. So make your eating time your devotional time. Take a moment at the dinner table to simply share what you read in the Bible over the last week. Or get a quick devotional you can read at the table and ask your family what they think about what you read You have a captive audience—so why not use that time? It doesn’t have to be a theological discussion. They probably don’t want that right then, anyhow! They just want to interact with you and have you be present and engaged as a boyfriend, husband and father. They want to hear you talk about God and inspire them to keep going after God.
Also, I have made it a practice to “eat the Bible” before I eat breakfast. That means for me to simply meet with God before I do anything else (of course I brew my coffee—not brewing coffee would be the most “unspiritual” thing for me to do in the morning). It’s finding a Scripture reading plan or a devotional book and a routine that works for you. We are all different as men and so our spiritual routines will be different for everybody. If you seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33), all the other things come together for the day and give you strength to finish the day strong.
5. Grab the Moment When You Got It.
With the fast-paced world we live in, take advantage of your family’s life needs, and pray in the moment. Spontaneous prayers are necessary in the hustle of the busy man. These continuous short prayers can model the genuine and personable God we serve. I have found this to bring confidence, courage and consistency to my spiritual leadership. These spontaneous prayers are short (30 seconds or so), they are unannounced (just pray out loud), and they involve touch (hold a hand, shoulder, hug, etc). For example:
• What if the girl of your dreams shared her heart with you, and after listening, you held her hand and, with no formal announcement, asked Jesus for his help and comfort (Heb. 13:6).
• Your daughter comes home distraught because of the “mean girl at school,” and you, without announcement and with eyes wide open, say, “Lord, comfort my daughter and be there for her. Provide her with friends who will build her up—not tear her down (Phil.4:19).
• At the dinner table, your son tells the family that he was bullied at recess, and you immediately say to your family, “Let’s grab hands, pray and ask God for wisdom” (James 1:5).
It might not feel that spiritual in the moment, but it is critical for the future. You and your family are moving heaven, your girl is amazed because you are leading her closer to God and your kids are seeing you be the dad they never knew they had.
This article originally appeared on AlanPastian.com and is reposted here by permission.