There is a quote by Francis Assisi that I have always loved, it says, “Preach Christ continually and when necessary use words.” At no time in life has this quote become more poignant then since I have become a father and a husband. Too often my go-to for conveying changes or desires that I think are necessary for my family to draw closer to Christ has been through my words but sadly my actions haven’t always matched up. This inconsistency would, in turn, cause confusion in the home and frustration for me because, to my human eyes, my family seemed to be ignoring me. In fact, they were doing the exact opposite — they were watching very closely. They just weren’t sure if they should be following my actions or my words.
I would talk to my wife about desiring to have more family devotions, of praying together before bed. But of course, bedtime would roll around and I would be caught up in something I was working on or was tired and the one or two times we actually had devotions would become the exception, not the rule. I would then see our evenings go from family time to me on my laptop and my wife doing things around the house, while our son played at our feet.
I could easily blame it on the business of life or stress but the fact is, I’m to blame. I’m to blame because I know that if I had set my laptop down and asked my wife to talk or do a family devotion, chances are she would have readily agreed. The initiative must come from me because that is what my family expects.
Being a father and a husband, as I have said many times, is tough. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes someone who is willing to see a problem and more often than not realize it’s their own leadership that has caused it. That’s always a very hard and humbling experience.
In order to be a good leader for our family, our actions not just our words need to consistently point to Christ. Leading them to a closer relationship with Him.
But how do we do that?
How do we make sure the gospel is entwined with our families lives?
You do it from the front!
Have you ever tried leading someone by walking behind them and pushing them? It doesn’t end well.
In order to be a good leader, you have to walk ahead. You have to have already been where you are wanting to lead someone.
If you want your family to have a closer relationship with Christ, have one first.
If you want your family to have a stronger prayer life, have one first.
If you want your family to read the Bible more diligently, do it yourself first.
If you want your home to have a better atmosphere, you create it.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
— John Maxwell