Men, as you both articulate and demonstrate acceptance to your children, be sure to avoid making that acceptance conditional. Don’t make it dependent upon some accomplishment, such as academics, athletics, Scouting, or civic work. Achievements in those areas are definitely commendable, and you should be sure to communicate that to them. But if your son or daughter only hears affirmation when he or she performs, they’ll leave home conditioned to perform in order to continue hearing the words of acceptance they so desperately want and need from you.
When children are blessed by their father, they’re steadily released to become their own person. Then, when the time comes, the father can say, ‘My days of training and influence are complete. I am always here to help you should you need something I can provide. But I am now stepping down from my position over you to assume a position beside you. Instead of your teacher or corrector, I am now counselor and friend. I believe you are well prepared to achieve everything that is your desire and calling. You have my blessing, not because of what I believe you will accomplish, but because of who I know you are.’
Guys, that’s what your children desperately need from you. It’ll help them immeasurably as they endeavor to be mature and productive people in this world; to be good husbands and wives and fathers and mothers; and to live faithful, obedient, and joyful lives in Christ.
Men, not only should you be comfortable in leading your family in worship, you should be the most consistent among them when it comes to cultivating your own personal life of worship. Remember, the character and quality of our public leadership is a direct by-product of the character and quality of our private discipleship. You simply can’t give your family what you don’t possess yourself.
Men, consistency in private discipleship brings intimacy with the Lord; and intimacy with the Lord puts you in the position to bring life and truth to your family. Without it, you’ll have little fresh understanding with which to guide them.
How consistent are you when it comes to praying? How consistently do you lead your family in Bible study and prayer? Sure, no one’s busier than you. I know that, and I share your predicament. But the simple reality remains: each of us must make it a top priority to carve out time in our day-to-day lives to lead our families in this area.
Remember guys, many of the most important issues in our children’s lives will be caught rather than taught. They’re watching your example. If you’re not praying together as a family, then all your talk about God’s being the center of your marriage and family is just that’talk.
Make family worship or devotional time a priority. Be disciplined about following through. Model your faith with action. It’ll give your family someone to respect and someone to emulate.
Men, we were created for worship. It enhances and expresses intimacy with the Lord, and brings both Him and us great pleasure. Yet many men tighten up just saying grace before dinner. Public worship’even if it’s only in front of your family may cause you to feel as nervous as a third baseman charging a short-hopper with the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth.
Most of us have been there. And most of us have also blamed it on our lack of experience praying in public. Yet for the vast majority of men, that’s not really the issue. The real issue is that you don’t have enough experience praying in private! Deepening your private life of worship will naturally embolden your public life of worship. And the first place it’ll bring benefit is in your ability to provide better spiritual leadership in your home.
Guys, no one in your home should be more comfortable with worship and prayer than you. Your family absolutely needs you to lead them. Feeling funny about it is no excuse.
Start small, but be courageous and committed to growth. You simply cannot and must not ‘chicken out’ when your family looks to you for spiritual leadership. The Holy Spirit is waiting for you to step up to the plate, and He’ll meet you there. That’s a promise from God.