A father’s intentionality in spiritual matters can make the difference in the spiritual trajectory of their kids and their wives. A father’s strong and authentic commitment to his relationship with the Lord is most often a pivotal factor in his family’s spiritual development.
I read of a study that found when dads are the first in their families to become Christians there is a 93% probability that the others in the family will follow. If the mom is the first, the probability drops to 17%. If it is the child who first becomes a believer, the chance of the rest of the family following the child’s direction is only 3.5%.
Dads have tremendous influence on the direction of the family.
Now I am not going to venture to explain why the above stats are true. But I will say I have seen this displayed over and over in my years of ministry. For whatever reason, God has given fathers enormous influence in the lives of their wives and children. That influence can have the power to do great good or great harm.
A father who is intentional about his own spiritual commitment and who takes responsibility for leading his family in the ways of Christ can have amazing power to inspire his family to live for the Lord. On the other hand, a dad who is spiritual unengaged, absent, or antagonistic to the things of God more often than not is successful at pulling his family from consistent practice of their faith.
In my congregation, I have men for whom their walk with God is primary. They see their role in the family to be one of spiritual leadership. They have realized that they must lead by example, so they put their pursuit of God first. They love their families, pray for their families, and bring their families to church (not once in a while, but each week). These men are not perfect, they make mistakes, but their commitment is where it needs to be and they have enormously positive influence on their families.
But I also see men who are not engaged spiritually. When I do, I often see wives that are frustrated, daughters who are grieved, and sons who are spiritually indifferent. It hurts my heart to witness.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. On Mother’s Day our attendance spikes. But usually on Father’s Day attendance noticeably dips. When I see this my heart breaks.
You see I dream of the day when on Father’s Day dads everywhere bring their spouses and children to church. They see their spiritual role elevated and rise to the occasion to lead their families in the ways of Christ.
The day we see Fathers throughout the church zealously stepping into their role of spiritual leadership is the day when we will see the church shift into high gear revival. It will be the day when the spiritual reclamation of our nation will begin.
Dads we have incredible influence to wield. We can use it for the Lord and the spiritual prosperity of our families, or we can focus it on ourselves leaving a wake of spiritual apathy behind us. It is our choice.
Don’t you want your life to count for God? Don’t you want to lead your children and inspire your wives to have a vision for living in God’s destiny?
Then make the commitment to lead them. How? It is not complex.
- Devote yourself fully and completely to Christ. Be all in! Grow in your acceptance of God’s grace, surrender to his commands, and choose to love God with all of your being.
- Commit to fundamental spiritual disciplines. Personal Bible Study, daily prayer, Church attendance, faithful service, witnessing to others about your faith all contribute to a growing relationship with God. You need this to spiritually develop and your family needs to see this to be inspired by your example.
- Be committed to do what is right, but be honest when you fail. Devote yourself to following God with precision and consistency. But listen. We all screw up! I do and so do you. So we need to be honest. Hypocrisy has no place in spiritual leadership, but authenticity does. You don’t have to be perfect to be a great father, but you do have to be honest.
- Lovingly lead your family to join you in your spiritual journey. Pray with your family, not just for them. Lead your family in discussions of the Lord. And this one is so simple, but so powerful…bring your family to church. Some are in the habit of saying that church going is not that important. “We believe. It is not necessary that we go to church.” But you cannot adequately follow Christ without being connected to his body. Read your New Testament. The Christian faith was never disconnected from the experience of Christian community. There are spiritual things that will never happen for you or your family if you are not vitally connected to the people of God.
Dads let’s wield our influence for Christ. Let’s make the difference!
Question: What are practical ways dads can inspire their families in the ways of the Lord? You can leave a comment by clicking here.