So, here we go, men. The Father’s Day recognition approaches. As far as being a father goes, the Word of God indicates that much is expected of us in terms of spiritual leadership within our family ranks. The expectations make us wriggle uncomfortably because, how we are supposed to be for the sake of family in relationship with God, make for some heavy requirements.
For this time around, Deuteronomy 6 sets the tone, and from the context, it leads us to consider what we must be and what we must do from God’s perspective to provide steady leadership in the family.
First, God says, “These (My) words…shall be in thine heart.” Ouch! This begs the question how well do we know the Word of God, which goes on to consider how much do we read it. It actually serves our family well if they occasionally, at least, see us reading the Bible. It becomes even better when we find reason to apply openly the principles of God’s Word. If the words of God are in our heart, they will certainly ooze out for the spiritual benefit of the family.
This goes hand-in-glove with the next consideration, for as it pertains to the words of God, the expectation is that we “teach them…to our children.” If you do not perceive yourself as a teacher, then double ouch! But, it is, nonetheless, our responsibility to teach our children the Word of God. We should not leave it just up to the preacher or the Sunday School teacher. Our children need to hear it come out of our own lips, too. If anything, teach it by reading it verbally to Mom and the kids. Tell them that “this is what God says.” Such brings a lot of spiritual value to the family when they encounter the rigors of life.
We find another expectation for steady spiritual leadership is that we are to take God’s Word and “…bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” These suggest two important side-bars. First, we should obviously practice the Word of God in front of our families. Second, we should obviously focus on the Word of God for the sake of our families. All told, we should ideally exemplify what the Word of God says.
Once during a particular crisis with our family, it prevailed upon me to practice before them what I preached. While it was important for me personally to do so, it was also important for my family that I do so. For, later, one of the sons said to me, “Dad, we took our cues for dealing with it from you.” You cannot beat that with a stick! Like it or not, our families need to see Dad putting into obvious context the Word of God.
Keeping our families on point about God is important for fulfilling the role of steady spiritual leadership. In other words, we need to keep reminding our families about the Lord. First, we need to constantly remind them who it is that blesses them, particularly with “houses full of good things.” Who is it that supplies the roof over the head, the food on the table, and the clothes on our backs? It is the Lord. It is my observation that God blesses best those are most thankful. Lead your family to be thankful to God for each of His deep rich blessings.
Remind your family “to beware lest they forget the Lord.” In these days of material abundance and manifold luxuries, it can be easy to forget the Lord. Church attendance can become slack. Spiritual practices may become slack. Personal actions can become immoral. So, pressing the point with the family about God becomes an important role for fathers.
God was confident about Abraham’s steady spiritual leadership with the family. God said, “For I know Him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment…”
Is the Lord confident about your spiritual leadership? It is steady spiritual leadership that most often makes a family—-or the lack thereof breaks it.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.