Near the end of his life, Joshua gathered the children of Israel together and made the well-known admonition and declaration that we read in Joshua 24:15 in which he says, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (NKJV).
While Joshua was known as the great leader of God’s people who succeeded Moses and led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, his final words indicate that Joshua was just as strong of a leader in his own household. As we approach Father’s Day, those of us who have the privilege of being parents, grandparents or even a father figure to someone else would do well to heed Joshua’s instructions and emulate his leadership in the home.
In today’s culture, families are often so busy that we have little time to have fun together as a family or engage in family worship or other activities aimed at nurturing faith in the home. As parents, we often devise plans to make sure our children have the best opportunities socially, academically and relationally. But in the midst of all of our plans and activities, what are we doing to prepare our children to face the challenges of a rapidly changing culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity and the ethical and moral standards God has declared in His written Word?
The sad reality is that many children who grow up in Christian homes and good, Bible-believing churches sometimes drop out of church never to return after they leave home for college. I’m afraid that we are not doing enough in the home to point our children to Christ and then disciple them into spiritual maturity after they come to faith. We must condition and prepare them to live spiritually strong in the power of God’s Spirit in a culture that does not understand our Christian values.
Dads, may I encourage you to become a strong spiritual leader within your family like Joshua? Joshua made a strong and clear declaration to the people about who he was going to serve. You must not neglect the responsibility of giving spiritual leadership and being a positive role model for your family.
You must not neglect the responsibility of giving spiritual leadership and being a positive role model for your family.
Dads, if you don’t know where to begin, start by spending time alone with God in consistent, daily fellowship through Bible reading and prayer. Meditate on God’s Word, and ask Him to give you the wisdom and strength to be a good and godly example for your family. Consider approaching a couple of other men and express your desire to become a spiritual leader in your home. Chances are they need the same type of encouragement and accountability as you do. Consider getting together with them each week to seek the Lord together, pray together, learn together and grow together.
Also, be sure to spend quality time with your wife and with your children. Men, one of the best things we can do for our children is to convince them that we love their mother. The way you treat their mother will have a powerful influence on how your sons will treat their wife when they are grown and married. Be sure your family knows that they are the priority of your life above your career, friends, hobbies or anything else.
Serve in ministry and missions activities together as a family so your children (and grandchildren) will learn the importance of serving God as they serve others. Parents, establish a time of daily worship with your children if you are not already doing so. It doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it have to be long. In his book titled Family Worship, professor Donald Whitney suggests the following model of a family worship time — reading Scripture, praying together and singing a song or hymn.
Fathers, it’s one thing to say that we will serve the Lord, but it is another thing to really live out that commitment. Will you strive to be a modern-day Joshua by God’s grace and help?
by Milton A. Hollifield Jr. / Executive Director-Treasurer / Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
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