06 Apr Called to step up
I don’t know what it’s been like at your house during this lockdown, but ours, at times, has been how might you say, interesting? We’re normally a busy house of four working adults, who are always coming and going, and most often just see each other in passing. But that has all changed over the past few weeks. Both the kids and Twyla have been sent home from work. I’m working from home the best I can, but it’s certainly different. A large part of my job is relational and involves meeting with people, but that has all changed. Needless to say, our routines are all out of whack and we’re feeling it. At times, we’ve been a little short with each other, not always showing the grace that God shows us. Four busy lives, that are used to coming and going, are now stuck in a house, pretty much 24/7. Maybe you can relate?
Because a lot of what I deal with at work is helping others work through challenges, brokenness, and chaos in their lives, I find I covet stability and predictability in mine. When that stability and routine gets messed up, my flesh swings into high gear! I fully recognize how this flies in the face of what God calls us to as disciples of His Son. You would think a Pastor should know better, but sadly I’ve always struggled with selfishness. Jesus clearly tells us that we will face challenges and that life will get messy at times. He calls us to die to self and think of others as more important. We’re to look to others’ interests and not to our own, especially in times of hardship or turmoil, but that doesn’t always come naturally to me.
So, how should I respond when I know it’s not about me or how I feel when my life doesn’t go as I’d planned? What do I do with the fact that God calls me to step up and be the spiritual leader of my home regardless of the situation? What does being the spiritual leader even look like and how do I practically live that out?
Maybe you’re asking yourself these same questions? Or maybe like me, you already know the answer, but you just need a daily reminder. I can tell you, there’s no point looking to the world’s wisdom because we know it’s flawed and corrupted by sin. The last thing I need is self-help advice from those who are just as messed up as I am. How can those who are spiritually dead teach me to lead spiritually?
No, the only place I can find the answers I’m looking for and the example I need is in God’s unchanging Word. The only place where truth that leads to life can be found is in the pages of the Bible and Jesus’ example. When life is hard and my flesh is in full-on “me-first mode”, the only thing I can do is turn to Christ.
Now I know enough scripture and have spent enough time in His Word to know what He says about loving my wife as He loves His church (Ephesians 5:25) and not to provoke my children, lest they become discouraged (Colossians 3:21). That I need to walk by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and imitate God and walk in love like Christ (Ephesians 5:1-2). I could list dozens of passages that command these things over and over again, but what does that look like practically?
Well first I think it looks like stepping into the tough situations and being the first to say I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness. I think it means regardless of how my wife and children interrupt my routine and comfort, I’m called to glorify God. Not when I feel like it but right here, right now. Obedience to God’s commands isn’t in my timing or when I feel like it, it’s on His terms and it’s immediate. That’s what it looks like to die to self and submit to Jesus. That’s what it looks like to Spiritually lead my family!
Being self-controlled, kind, patient, and gentle means I don’t get to demand my way or give my family the cold shoulder when my life gets interrupted. It means embracing the challenges and doing the heavy lifting regardless of what others are doing. That’s spiritual leadership, that’s leading by example, and that’s what it looks like to imitate Christ. Jesus always obeyed His Father. He always moved towards others and never pushed anyone away. He never demanded His own rights but sacrificially laid down His life for others, and so that’s what I must do as well.
Often people think to be the spiritual leader means to do all the praying, lead all the devotionals, and to make all the decisions when it comes to “church” things for your family but that falls way short of being the Spiritual leader. Those things are good and important, but they aren’t what defines a true spiritual leader. What defines a true spiritual leader is when the chips are down and things aren’t going your way, are you willing to die to self, step up into the situation, and look like Jesus? A true spiritual leader glorifies God, even when every part of His flesh screams “what about me.”
So, with that being said, I’m going to go spend some time with God, repenting of my selfishness and asking for forgiveness. Then, in His strength, I’m going to step up and try to love and lead my family like He does, regardless of how my routines have changed.
Stay safe and God bless!