Who should be the primary spiritual influence in the life of your children? Your pastor? The Sunday School teacher? Grandparents? Or you?
To answer this question, it is helpful to flip in our Bibles clear back to the Old School section, in the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 6, to be exact. This is an important chapter, because when Jesus was asked to name the most important commandment, this is what He quoted:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
Chances are pretty good that you’ve heard that one. But if we keep reading, we find our foundational parenting verses:
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
What this tells me is that the parent is to be the primary spiritual influence in the home. We are to create a family culture where God and the Bible are at the center of everything we do. We are to be spiritual leaders in our home!
Men, what are the required qualifications for being a spiritual leader in the home? Does that title seem high and mighty? Like something that doesn’t fit you very well? I think sometimes we imagine that the job application looks something like this:
Spiritual Leader Job Application
Thank you for applying for the role of Spiritual Leader of the Home. Please check all that apply:
I have a Masters of Divinity degree.
I have memorized more than 3 books of the Bible.
I am a guitar-playing music-loving worship leader.
I start each day communing with the Lord in prayer for an hour or more.
If you have checked one or more of the above, then you may complete your formal application.
See page 2 for list of disqualifying habits and sins.
Please submit resume’, criminal background check, and color photo with application.
You will be notified within 10 business days if you have been selected for an interview for the position.
Does that feel about right?
As the man, do you know that you actually are the spiritual leader of your home? That is your true identity. Even if you would have to check None of the Above on the application, that doesn’t change a thing. Your identity is not tied to your competence or your training. Your identity is tied to Whose you are. God is your Father, and because you are His son, you are like Him and you have what it takes. He has a plan for you, and He will equip you to fulfill it. And part of that plan is that you are the spiritual leader of your home.
Leadership Equals Service on a Team
What does it mean to be a spiritual leader? Does this mean you get to call all the shots and rule with an iron fist? Of course not. Jesus answered that question already. As the spiritual leader, you are to be the servant of all. If you are married, and if you have kids, your role is to love them and serve them and lead them as Jesus leads the church. That is your role, and it is your identity.
Does this mean it’s all up to you? No, because in Christ we are a team. A single unit with many parts. We work hand in hand with those we love to advance His Kingdom and do His will. Your wife and your kids also have exciting roles to play in God’s Kingdom. They too must lead with courage through life’s adventures as equal partners in Him.
Does this mean that you have to organize comprehensive Bible lessons every morning and lead 30 minutes of prayer every night? Again, no. This is a posture of your heart, not a program.
You Can Do This!
I hope it is encouraging and inspiring to know that God calls us to be spiritual leaders in our homes! Everything starts there! Do you believe it? Today is the day to move past your natural “I’m not that guy.” Instead, say “With Jesus, I can become that guy!”
It all begins with understanding your true identity. You are a son. You are a leader. You have what it takes!
Stay tuned for more posts about this topic!
We love Michelle Anthony’s book: Spiritual Parenting and we borrowed the “parents are primary” phrase from her.
There are lots of verses that are baked into this post. Here are a few:
- Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
- The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. Proverbs 20:7
- Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children. Proverbs 14:26
- Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
- But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 1 Thessalonians 2:7
- Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children… 1 Thessalonians 2:11
- He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. 1 Timothy 3:4
- Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 1 Timothy 3:12
- Namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. Titus 1:6
Identity and Sonship
- But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
- For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
- Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
- See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. 1 John 3:1
- For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14
- For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
- And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
- Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:14
- But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
- Servant Leadership: John Wooden