Four Keys to Spiritual Leadership in Your Home

CBN.com Usually, your children’s faith is very dependent on the examples they see at home. In other words, you set the pace of spiritual leadership in your home. If you desire your children to have vibrant spiritual lives, then they need to see an authentic faith lived out in their family. No one expects you to be perfect, but you shouldn’t expect them to follow a hypocrite either. Consider the following questions. They will help you evaluate your own spiritual disciplines.

1. How is your time with God?

How long has it been since you gave God a portion of undisturbed, uninterrupted time and listened to His voice?

Apparently, Jesus made time with the Father an absolute priority. He spent regular time praying and listening. Mark reveals to us, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35). Luke tells us, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16). Let me ask the obvious: If Jesus, the Son of God, thought it worthwhile to clear His calendar to pray, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same?

I asked one of the busiest women I know how she manages to get so much done in the day. She smiled and showed me her schedule. It read “6:00 A.M. – 6:45 A.M. Quiet Time.” She had let me in on a secret. Her strength and her stamina came from her time alone with God each morning. One of my hobbies is reading biographies of great women and men of the Christian faith. They come in all shapes, sizes, denominations and styles; but the one thing they all have in common is a regular, daily time with God.

2. Do you have a supportive, spiritual accountability relationship?

Life is difficult, and living out a vibrant, contagious faith is not easy.

I am currently involved in a weekly support and accountability group with three other men. When we first started the group, we talked about politics and sports and only briefly mentioned our faith and family issues. One day, one of the group members opened up to tell us he was struggling with his marriage; and from that day on, it has been a much more focused, supportive and deeper-sharing group.

Some support and accountability relationships use questions like the ones below to make sure they’re staying on the right track:

* Have you been with a woman/man anywhere this past week that might appear compromising?

* Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?

* Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?

* Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?

* Have you given priority time to your family?

* Have you fulfilled the mandates of your calling?

* Have you just lied to me?

3. Do you have a person or a group of people with whom you pray on a regular basis?

We have found that our involvement with a couples’ group from our church has been a wonderful source of friendship, support and sharing of parenting ideas. Our group is made up of five couples who all have children about the same age. We’ve studied parenting and marriage resources together, as well as other Bible study materials.

I remember a season in my life when I was extremely busy and had little accountability. Cathy challenged me by reminding me I had lots of acquaintances and very few friends. She suggested that I get together with a man at my work named John. I told her John was way too busy to spend any kind of regular time with me, but she kept pressing me to speak with him. We ended up meeting for lunch every Wednesday for over three years until he moved away. Our Wednesday lunch was never structured. We talked, shared our week’s experiences, perhaps discussed a problem or two and then prayed together. I loved those times, and they made me a better husband, father and focused Christian. Today, John and I see each other every two months because of distance, and we keep the relationship close through phones calls and periodic visits. Over the years, those times together have become very meaningful.

4. If you are married, do you and your spouse have a regular time with God together?

Most couples I know struggle to spend quality spiritual time together. It is easy to get so distracted with the pace of life that we miss an essential ingredient to building a spiritual relationship with our spouse. Cathy and I have tried almost every kind of devotional time together, but most of our experiments have fizzled. However, we’ve come across a method that may not sound spiritual enough for some, but it works for us. First of all, we try to pray daily for our kids and for ourselves. Prayer connects us with God and with each other, and it focuses us on the right priority of developing the spirituality of our children.

Second, each week we go through a meeting plan that is very conversational and relational – and separate from our Bible study and individual quiet times with God. We work through the list below, and we do not need to prepare ahead of time. We’d rather have our time together in a peaceful setting, but we’ve been known to hold this weekly meeting while driving, watching one of the children’s games or even – when I am traveling – on the phone. We both look forward to our weekly spiritual and relational connection.

Jim and Cathy – Weekly Meeting
* Devotional times for the week
* Greatest joy of the week
* Greatest struggle of the week
* An affirmation
* A wish or a hope
* Physical goals
* Prayer

Taken from the book The 10 Building Blocks for a Happy Family by Jim Burns. Used by permission of New Life Ministries. New Life Ministries has a variety of resources on men, women and relationships. Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE or visit www.newlife.com.
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