As I have mentioned, we love the idea of stepping up to spiritually lead our family, but the truth is, we have no idea what we’re doing. In the previous article, Part 1, I started sharing a few practical ways to help dads lead their families, prayer and finding a mentor.
Let me share with you three other practical ways you can start leading your family right away.
Make Every Hour Count
I’m a big fan of financial guru, Dave Ramsey. He has helped thousands of families get out of debt and experience financial freedom. One lesson that he teaches early on is to assign every dollar a task. What he means by this is that you won’t just drift into financial freedom; you must be intentional. If you do not assign every dollar a task, it will find a way to be spent in other areas that are not helpful.
The same truth can be said about our time.
We will not naturally drift into becoming faithful disciples, husbands, and fathers. We must be intentional! If we simply hope that we will spend quality time with the Lord and our family, there will never be enough time. We must assign every hour a task.
One exercise that I like to do with guys that I coach is ask them to write down everything that is a priority to them as a man. Typically, their list looks something like this:
From there, I ask them to write down how many hours per week they spend on each of the things that they say are a priority to them. The answers typically look like this:
- God – 1.5 hours
- Wife – 1 hour
- Family- 4 hours
- Work- 40-60 hours
- Friends- 2 hours
- Fun- 0 hours
It’s pretty obvious that there is a discrepancy between what they say is valuable and how they spend their time. You can try to convince me what you value until you are blue in the face, but the truth is, all I need to do is check your bank account and calendar.
Leading your family means assigning every hour a task. You have just as much time in each week as the President of the United States and every CEO in the world. Time is not the problem; intentionality is. If you want to date your wife, you need to schedule it in your calendar. If you want to get away on a vacation as a family, it needs to be scheduled well in advance.
Pull out your calendar right now. Seriously. Block out times to do the things you say are priority to you and then protect that time!
Study God’s Word
This one is so obvious that it’s often overlooked.
I don’t want to over-spiritualize this here, but I am convinced that the enemy works tirelessly to keep you from reading God’s word.
Let me make two quick points:
1. God’s word is alive and active.
Whether you’ve been following Jesus for 2 minutes or 200 years, there is more to learn about him. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” I don’t care how much you know about Jesus; you still need to be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained in righteousness.
2. Learn about God’s character from reading the Bible.
If you are not learning God’s character by studying who he says he is in Scripture, then you are likely making up who God is in your head. This is a dangerous pattern that we are all capable of fall into.
Without God defining for himself who he is, we start to define who we want him to be. When we do this, though, God starts to look a lot like us. He sounds like we sound, likes what we like, and dislikes what we dislike. In fact, he starts to look less like Jesus and more like us.
This is idolatry, and we are worshipping a god that we have made up in our own mind.
Study God’s word and let him speak for himself regarding who he is.
Here are some tools that might help:
- The Bible App (Great resource for finding reading plans to keep you on track)
- The Bible Project (These guys are AMAZING at breaking down the Bible, book by book, into easy to understand videos)
Ultimately leadership is about trust. If no one is following you, then you are not a leader. And no one follows someone that they do not trust.
So how do you build trust with your wife and kids? At the end of the day, your family needs to know that they are valuable to you. That they matter. There are a million things fighting for your attention: TV, sports, video games, your boss, your friends, your projects, your addictions, etc. And it doesn’t matter how much you tell your wife and kids that they are loved and valued – if they see your eyes looking at things other than them for the majority of the time, they will know what is ultimately most valuable to you.
Let me say it this way: Your eyes have the power to communicate value. So what are you looking at?
Paul, in Ephesians 5, tells his readers to love their wives the same way that Christ loves his church. Think about this for a second. Jesus’ love for us was relentless, passionate, focused, unconditional, determined, and unwavering. No one would ever use the word “distracted” when describing the way that Jesus loved his church.
Leading your family means loving them in that way. Set down your phone, set boundaries at work, turn off the TV, and give your family the attention they need.
Give them your eyes.
From Fully Engaged: 10 Practical Ways To Lead Your Family Toward Jesus by Jerrad Lopes. Used by permission of Dad Tired dadtired.com
As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from qualifying purchases on Amazon.ca. Learn more.