Walk your talk

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and 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 doorposts of your house and on your gates.

One thing that men ask me about a lot is spiritual leadership. I’ll often have a man question how we can better lead his wife and his kids, sometimes he’ll even use phrasing like, “How can I make them ____?” I like to point out that spiritual leadership isn’t about making anyone do anything. It isn’t about setting out a list of rules to be followed or even a plan of attack to be followed. It’s first and foremost about influence. “Lead spiritually by example” is what I tell these men.

What I find is so often the case is that the men who want to know how to get their wife or their kids reading the Bible, praying, or obeying God aren’t making any effort to do so in their own lives. They’re waiting for their family members to follow along with them before doing anything. That’s not a good approach. I tell them that and I’m telling you that now. Don’t ever wait for anyone else to come along with you in your pursuit of God. Seek Him out and when you bear the fruit of that deepening relationship, others will want to follow.

Look at today’s reading from Deuteronomy. This directive is being given to encourage walking out a life of faith at all times, not just at set aside “devotional” times. It’s a picture of how we can lead our families by being on the path we want them on. As we live life, we can express what God is doing, explain biblical principles that apply, and guide our households as we go.

If you’re not doing well at setting aside specific times with your family for prayer or Bible reading, or whatever else it is you had planned, don’t get down on yourself. Spiritual leadership isn’t just done in the scheduled moments, but as life happens in real time. Live for God and put your own oxygen mask on before trying to make anyone else follow.