102. How Do I Lead My Family?

21 Jul, 2013

The day before work started on our pool, I tried swimming in the spot where the pool was going to go. As you can see, I didn’t have much fun.

Since pools aren’t cheap, my wife and I had to make a series of decisions – What’s our budget? Which company do we go with? Which pool? What pavers? The list is endless. But so is the rest of life.

How do we raise our kids? What is the proper punishment when they are bad?  What donuts do we buy? However, as with any couple the two members of a relationship have differing ideas.

For my marriage, I believe we are equal in God’s eyes and at the same time I also I believe that I need to lead my family. Now the world sees a leader as the greatest amongst a group. However scripture paints a different picture…

Matt 23: 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.

How does that even make sense? Because if you think about it, we really aren’t the leader, God is.

When we lead, we are trying to carry out his will, which means we are his servant. So if we are responsible for trying to get our families to carry out his will, then we are his primary servant.  And we serve him by serving our families.  We serve them in the sense that we are ultimately trying to help them to glorify God.

Many people make poor leaders because they lead by fear and by demanding respect. As Christians we should lead out of love and humility because we in turn serve another leader.

Also, since we are not all knowing, as a good leader we need to seek out wisdom and advice.  Sometimes deferring to someone else’s expertise is the correct way to lead. Also, a leader cannot do everything themselves. A leader also must recognize areas they lack and where others excel. So sometimes intentionally delegating responsibility to the right person is the right move.

For example, in relation to kids, even though I believe I bear the ultimate responsibility of spiritually training the kids, sometimes I need to shut up, not say anything to the kids, talk to the wife about the best things to say, and then let her do the talking. I recognize that sometimes things come better from mom, or that she just has a certain chemistry with the kids that I don’t. And in those cases, the most effective course is to delegate.

So what do we do?

To lead properly we first need to lead out of love.  Out of love we’ll want them to glorify God more. And from love, the other fruit of the spirit will follow – patience, self-control, gentleness, etc., which are all qualities needed by a good leader.

We will also need wisdom.  Wisdom is knowing the who, what, when, where and how of a situation.  Obviously you pray for wisdom, but you also seek wisdom by asking others. Ask your spouse or others what their take on a situation is.  Seeking godly counsel is apart of wisdom.

Humility is needed first to prevent you believing that they owe you their submissiveness causing you to act as a tyrant.  Humility also removes pride, which doesn’t seek advice.  Humility also allows you to lead by showing your family that you have just as much sin at they do and you teach them by your example how you deal with your sin.  For example if you are being impatient, show them how you are praying for more patience, and how you are failing but trying to incorporate certain scriptures in your life.

Authority – Know that you are not really the head of the household, God is, so sometimes what family members want isn’t the best thing for the family and we must make tough, unpopular decisions and end up being the ‘bad guy’ to do the right thing. But what if you aren’t the leader of your household? Then you must know your role – which is supporting, not supplanting, the servant-leader so that actions that the family takes are Godly ones.  If they aren’t a good leader, then how can you help them be a better leader and not overthrow them causing chaos in the house? It’s not about who’s the greatest, but who is serving?  Which means knowing our roles so that stuff that God, the real leader, wants gets done.

And hopefully God wants us to go to Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast because that’s where I’m about to lead my family, of course only after getting their input and delegating the driving to my wife as well as the payment.

Matt 23: 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.

Take time to pray: Ask God to understand and embrace your role as a servant.