Our family worship and devotion time has become a vital part of our family’s day. However, while I would love to say that it was always that way, it was not. In fact, we used to put much more emphasis on television than we did on our God. Family time meant that we were all in the room at the same time and usually around the television. Our family was one that feared God and worked to keep His commands. However, we were not walking with him daily and were not working to grow closer and build up our relationship with Him.
There came a day where I was reading my Bible and listening to a wonderful lesson on being a father from Visionforum.com . The lesson topic was about the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and the meaning it held for fathers. Those who follow my blog will often see me quote from it. Simply put it has become a foundational passage for me in my role as a father and husband in my family. That passage changed the way I interacted with my family and my wife. For years she had been praying that I would accept my role as spiritual leader in our home, that I would step out in boldness and lead my children and my wife as God intended. However, this was something that I always shied away from (for a variety of reasons…all of them weak). Fathers, this is something that I know many of you too still try to avoid. I hope by sharing my thoughts and journey that some of you will pick up the mantle that God has given you, that you will put aside your insecurities, doubts, and fears and take on the role as the spiritual leader of your home. I know your wives are praying for you to do so. I know that your children are wanting you to and I know that your God has ordained this as your role.
This post is geared toward the fathers out there that are fighting the great fight each and every day. It is not only for them. I encourage the wives and mothers to read and share. I encourage the men who are engaged to read and take heart. I pray that the young men starting out on their own journey will read as well. Men, if we accept the role that God has laid out for us, I am certain that we can alter the path that the modern family is on. This indeed can change the world for Christ.
I have often quoted that the hardest part of every journey is the first step out of the door. So let’s take that step.
“Hear O Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart ans with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the door posts of your gates. ” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
This verse is known as the Shema (Hebrew for “hear”). It has become known as the Jewish confession of faith and is recited twice a day by the devout. To me it has become my guide post for where I need to lead my family. It teaches that our teaching and knowledge is not only for Sunday and the occasional Wednesday night. but it is to be taught and discussed from morning to night. We are to teach it to our children each and every day. So often we delegate this role to the “professionals”, the youth leaders and Sunday School teachers. While I agree there is value in these programs, I must also state that the ultimate responsibility and resulting accountability belongs to us. This is not something that we need to hand off and walk away. It needs to be something that we look forward to. The chance to share the joy of our Heavenly Father with our family. To share and discuss His teachings in our home.
The little ones watch us to see how we live out our lives. We need to demonstrate that God’s word is a vital part of our lives. We need to show that it is for more than an hour on Sundays. Take heart, it is not as difficult as you may think. When I first started doing the family devotions I was like a cheap lawn mower. I would start out strong and the sputter and fail. Then I would start-up again and sputter and fail. The problem was that I was trying to be like the “professionals”. I wanted what I said to be smooth and polished. The reality is that we don’t need to be. We just need to share what God has laid on our heart. We need to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Devotion and family worship does not need to be some complex evolution. It most certainly does not need to be a stressor added to your lives. Keep it simple coming out of the gate. There may be times that you put some time into preparation. Other times you may just let the Holy Spirit lead you as you read from the word. We have been blessed with a wonderful church where the idea of family worship is key. The fathers are charged with leading their families. We could be considered radical in that there are not Sunday schools or youth programs, that job has been returned to the fathers. I am so thankful that the elders of the church were more than willing to come alongside me and help get me on the right path.
They and my wonderful wife have been wonderful in reminding me that it does not need to be some fancy structured event. It can be as simple as talking about scripture around the dinner table. Letting your conversation guide and reveal what God has done in our lives that day. It does not need to be every night of the week to start out. It can begin with just a few nights a week. There is also no need to be fancy and polished. We are currently reading through the book of Acts. We could have gone out and purchased a fancy study guide. However, that does not fit our relaxed style. We just start reading and discuss whatever God lays on our hearts. Sometimes we wander off topic…and you know what? That’s ok. Just remember the goal…..Sharing the teachings and the love of God with your family. It is amazing the discussions that are born out of these times.
Don’t let it stop there, look for each and every opportunity to share with your children. During those trips to the store. Turn off the radio and just start talking. Look for those opportunities to share your triumphs and yes even your failures. Our children need to know that it is ok to struggle on our journey. To understand that we are all works in progress. How else will they learn to trust in the Father and lean on him unless we show them the way. Once you start looking for these opportunities you will be amazed at the opportunities that have been slipping into the fog of the past. Don’t let them slip away. Treasure and seize those moments.
Men, Please do not forget your wives. Our wives are splendid and wonderful gifts from the Father. Spend time with your wives in prayer. Share your heart and fears with the Lord together. Spend some time on your knees as a couple. Bring God into your marriage and let Him lead your lives as a couple. Make prayer a major part of all of your decision processes. Let Gods will in your life lead your decision-making process. Remember to make prayer your first resource and not your last resort.
Finally, don’t neglect your own spiritual life. Devout time each day to God. Don’t make it that five minutes at work right when you arrive. Trust me I tried..and it does not work. The distractions of the day will move in to fill that time. I have often heard it referred to as “the tyranny of the urgent”. It is so true. These distractions can and do become a wall between you and your heavenly Father. Clear your calendar and your mind and be open to where God leads you.
Fathers, get out of your comfort zone and take the lead. Become the spiritual leader that God has intended you to be. Remember, you will never be walking alone. Jesus will always be there to guide the way. I promise you will not regret the decision. As I stated earlier. Your wives are praying for this. Your children are waiting for you to do it and God has called us to this. Take the leap of faith. Leave your comfort zone behind.
- Fathers – Where are you? Part III (dadsjourneyoffaith.com)