Leading in my home is an issue that is on my mind and heart often. It is an issue that is very important to me. And most likely, if you are a husband and/or a father, this is something you care deeply about also. God has given us, husbands and fathers, the privilege and responsibility of leading our families in a way that points them to Jesus and teaches them the life giving truths of the Gospel.
Men, we have a tall order! In regards to our wives, Ephesians 5 tells us, “love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He may sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the word, so that He might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” We are not only to love our wives, but we are also to be the spiritual caretakers of the home! In regards to our children, Deuteronomy 6 tells us, “you shall teach them [God’s commands] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up…” We are to lead our children, continuously, to the Gospel!
These are by no means the only scriptures that talk about how we are to lead our homes, but they point to the gravity of what God has called us to. It is a monumental task… one that we should enter into with much prayer and dependence on God.
This is a task that weighs heavily on me daily! I strongly desire to see my wife and children grow to love Jesus above all else. I want to see them make decisions based on God’s word. I want to see them live in the grace and freedom and peace that is only found in a growing relationship with Jesus. I desire to see their actions, thoughts and relationships deeply affected and forever changed by the Gospel. I want to see them value Christ, who gave all for them, above any other person or thing. But, what’s more, I need to be driven and motivated by my desire to please God through obedience (John 14:15).
I want to be faithful in what God has called me to and I want the best for my family…and I honestly believe that JESUS is best for my family. So how do we do this? Husbands and Fathers? How can we be both faithful followers of God and effective, Biblical leaders in our homes?
Below, I have listed 3 ways that we can lead our homes. The truth is however, at whatever level we are willing to commit to being obedient to God in the way we lead our homes, we are still leading. If I am an unfaithful leader, I am still a leader. I guess the question is, “Where am I leading them?” Or more to the point, “To whom am I leading them?”
1. We Lead by Loving
Matthew 22:36-40 tells us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
How do we love God? Our families need to see that loving God is most important… that God is our greatest and first love!! How are we loving God? How are showing others that we love God above all else? What effect does our love for God have in our lives — our marriages, our parenting? If we have a genuine love for our Creator, our wives and children will, without a doubt know it and will be better off for it. Our children will love the things we love.
How do we love our families? Our wives and children take notice. Are we putting them and their needs and welfare above our own? Are our children seeing us love our wives? That is one of the greatest things my own dad showed me as I was growing up. He did not talk about it. He lived it. I had no doubt when I was as kid that my dad loved my mom and that he loved my sister, brother and me. He sacrificed for all of us. He showed us that we were more important than his job and his hobbies. Are we sacrificially loving our families?
How do we love others? Our wives and children will love others the way we love others. Are we loving, accepting, giving, patient, forgiving, kind, etc…? We are leading our families in the way we love others. If we are doing this well, then they will be more likely to follow. By loving others, we are teaching that people are important (to God first and then to us). If we are loving others poorly, then we are leading, and actually encouraging, our family to do the same. Our families also need to know that we love them more than our jobs, our hobbies, our sports, our time, ultimately ourselves!
2. We Lead by Living
If we are teaching them the Truths of God and His Word, then they must SEE us living it. To be honest, how we are living IS what we are teaching. The old saying, “More is caught than is taught” is absolutely true! Back to my own dad. What if he had just told my mom that he loved her, but never really did anything to show it? What if he just told my sister, brother and myself that we were important to him, but he was always gone doing other things? We would have certainly picked up on that and he would have been teaching us that putting other things in front of his family is normal or expected… not with his words necessarily, but by the way he was living.
If we are attempting to teach what we are not living, we are building resentment in the hearts and minds of our families. Are we showing our families how to live out the truths of the Gospel? After all, the Gospel is meant to be lived out. Not just talked about. We need to show our families that the Gospel is true, relevant and good. Our wives and children MUST see us living the things we are teaching.
3. We Lead by Learning
Dads, we need to have a passion for God’s Word. We need to read it. We need to study it. We need to live it. If our desire is to be a godly husband and father, then we must be planted in God’s Word. One of the responsibilities of the husband is to wash his bride in the Word. How can we do this without bathing in God’s Word ourselves? Husbands, Fathers, are we letting the Bible permeate our hearts and minds? Would you call yourself a student of God’s Word?
A pastor that I was privileged enough to work with for a few years always used to say, “We cannot pass on what we do not have.” We can’t teach the Bible in our homes if we are not students of the Bible in our own lives. The truth is, if we are not students of the Bible in our own lives, we WON’T teach the Bible in our homes.
Furthermore, If we are not letting God’s Word guide our lives, then we will not be able to lead by loving and living either. God’s Word is the ultimate resource to help us be the husbands and fathers God has designed us to be.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
God’s Word will teach us, train us, correct us… so that we are totally equipped to be the husbands and fathers we are designed to be. Let’s be honest, we all struggle with this!! We want to be godly leaders in our homes, but sometimes we become so discouraged in our pursuit. We focus too much on our failure. Be encouraged today husband. Be encouraged today father. God has given us all we need to be the men He requires us to be.
2 Peter 1:3 says “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
By His divine power… not ours… we can be Godly leaders in our homes!