Spiritual Leadership in the home – for the men
Fundamental biblical truths:
- Leadership is God’s plan. God is the God of order. Without strong and good leadership, there is chaos and disorder.
- Marriage and the home are integral parts to God’s plan. Hence leadership in marriage and the family are absolutes ordained by God.
- God delegates His authority to husbands and fathers for their leadership responsibilities in the home. See 1 Cor.11:1-3. Husbands/fathers need to have a firm conviction of this truth in their minds and hearts.
- God will ask of all husbands/fathers an accounting for how they exercised their God-given responsibilities in the home.
- The role and responsibility of leadership has nothing to do with being spiritually superior. This calls for us to exercise our leadership role with humility and submission to God’s will and purposes.
- Husbands/fathers as the spiritual leaders in the home first need to practise submission to their Lord Jesus who is their true Leader and Master, and to follow His example of servant leadership, not “lording it over” their wives and children but guiding them as a loving shepherd. See 1 Peter 5:1ff; John 13:12-17.
- The biblical model for servant leadership (Jesus the Good Shepherd) is the shepherd: guiding, caring for, strengthening, guarding, rescuing, warning, serving, sacrificing, loving.
- The example of servant leaderships by husbands/fathers helps to prepare sons for their leadership role and responsibilities in the home.
Basic counsel for husbands/fathers:
- Seek to live a godly life. Be an example both to your wife and children. Cf. 1 Timothy 4:12ff.
- Study the Scriptures for yourself. Train your spiritual ear to listen to God’s voice and promptings. See Isaiah 50:4.
- Study Jesus’ leadership. Practise. See Eph.5:24ff.
- Fight and resist all the enemy’s attempts to dishearten and discourage you. Don’t listen to his accusations.
- Share the leadership with your wife. Seek to develop a strong team spirit with your wife.
- Fight against the sinful male tendencies to be lazy, irresponsible and harsh, to procrastinate and give-up.
- Be a man of faith. Don’t hold back allowing feelings of inferiority or false humility to weigh your spirit down, e.g. “my wife is more spiritual and godly than I am.”
- Pray frequently for godly wisdom, discernment, love et al through the Spirit. Pray according to Luke 11:13. Intercede daily on behalf of your wife and children.
- Be decisive. Take initiative. Lead.
Guidelines for family devotional life:
- If possible, set aside a time each day for a brief time of spiritual fellowship with your wife. Read a brief passage from God’s Word or from a devotional book, then pray together. Begin slowly and don’t worry about any so-called mistakes you make. You’re not perfect, your family don’t expect you to be perfect – just gentle and humble in heart.
- Throughout the day, remain open to your wife’s counsel and corrections. Don’t allow a thick wall of self-defence to grow up around your heart.
- Encourage your wife in her meditation on the Scriptures and prayer.
- Encourage her also to use her ministry gifts for the encouragement of many both in the home and also to others outside the home.
- Guide your wife through periods of over-work and high stress – not with harsh, condemning words but with kind, gentle words and constructive solutions.
- Practise speaking edifying words that build up faith in the home.
- Humbly accept your wife’s rebuke and correction. Remember the Bible says that we are to teach and admonish one another, which means that the husband is also to receive teaching and admonition from his wife. See Col.3:16.
- Seek your wife’s forgiveness for shortcomings and failures in your role as spiritual leader. Ask her to support you in prayer and with words of encouragement.
- Aim high but be realistic. God doesn’t expect or demand a perfect performance.