George Barna, The Barna Group market research firm, released a report early in the year that identified a faith crisis hitting young people. He reports that only 17% of young people, ages 18 – 22, are calling themselves committed Christians. That is on us dads! The question is, “Are you leading your family spiritually or secularly by example?”
When a dad leads his family to church, it is a huge step in the right direction. If dad initiates spiritual discussions in the home between Sundays, that puts his family in the elite category of “one out of ten families that attend church weekly” (from an earlier Barna study). It seems, more often than not, that a dad’s focus is in the world – worshipping idols of money, status, success and even pushing the kids to be successful. This is leading secularly by example and it is what kids today are catching from dads.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves;” – Genesis 11:4. The people were seeking status, a name for themselves without God. “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3. One generation after God brought judgement on those at the Tower of Babel, He began to repair what was broken. In his Truth for Life daily devotional, Alistair Begg explains it like this – “He spoke to a childless, elderly pagan man named Abram, whose name ironically meant ‘exalted father,’ and He promised to reverse the effect of his judgement at Babel. People there had aimed to make their name great. God would make Abram’s great. They had sought to build their own kingdom. God would make Abram’s people a great nation. They had planned to find blessing in a world without God. God would bring blessing to the earth through Abram’s family. Sin would be unwound and its effects undone by God’s intervening grace. In this very covenant God took Abram and made him Abraham, ‘the father of a multitude,’ as He promised to extend His grace to this chosen servant and to future generations scattered throughout the earth.” The people of Babel were leading secularly by example. They were building the tower in their strength for their glory. In contrast, Abraham would lead spiritually by example, walking in God’s strength for His glory. The call to dads is to be alert to secular distractions and lead spiritually by example.
Tips to Lead Spiritually by Example:
- Spend time daily in prayer, scripture, worship and study to get to know Jesus;
- Initiate spiritual discussions in the home around a current event or happening;
- Conform to Christ with a focus His “I am” statements in the gospel of John;
- Embrace God’s intervening grace to unwind sin and its effects in your life;
- Complete the Nehemiah Initiative study with a battle buddy.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and Your Son. I confess that while I made it to church most Sundays, my focus Monday through Saturday was on getting ahead at work and being a success in the world. Thank You for Your intervening grace and for knocking my tower of Babel down. I want to grow in in relationship with You, live out that relationship in marriage, and lead my family spiritually by example. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father leads by the example he wants the kids to catch.