by Jason Garwood
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Editor: this post originally appeared on Jason Garwood.
1. Gather with the Church
Don’t tell me you are leading your family well when your church attendance is one week a month. The gathering of the saints of God is a sacred thing; it’s a time for corporate worship as we join with the heavenly angels in the eternal song of praise to our King. It’s edifying to your soul, it’s edifying to everyone around you. The Christian Sabbath is exceedingly important. You need Word and Sacrament–often. The Scripture commends it to you. Husbands: your wife needs you to lead your family. Fathers: your children need you to lead your family. So prove to them that your idolatry of sports means nothing, and that Christ crucified is way more important. Want to lead well? Start here.
2. Scatter with the Church
It’s not enough to park your rear in a chair and call it “good.” Husbands and Fathers: you are missionaries, lead missionaries to be sure, so make sure your family lives out its dominion calling by making disciples of your neighbors, family, friends and coworkers. The great thing is that you’re not alone, you can join the rest of the body in being missionaries Monday through Saturday. Your wife needs this, and your children do, too.
I’m baffled by how many families simply do not pray together. Even at meals. Aside from the fact that prayer is commanded, prayer is necessary. Prayer thrusts you and your family onto the mercy of God. Ask, seek, and knock. Be persistent in showing where your allegiance lies. Teach your children to pray for their needs, their friends, their neighbors, and ultimately teach them to rely on the Almighty.
God gave us a book, not a comic strip. The Bible is meant to be read, understood, and obeyed (2 Tim. 3:16). Don’t try to rush your family through God’s Word; take it bit-by-bit and encourage each other with Scriptures that come to mind. This is hard, I know, but the grass withers and flower fades; the Word of our God stands forever! And what a gift to give your family! You get to hear from God. So read. Often. Here’s some of what we read at our house. We also like these.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 instructs parents to teach their children. Talk about God’s Word (and other things, including, but not limited to: Science, Math, Classical Literature, Latin, Greek, Sports, Health, Food, Art, and History). Discuss what happened during the Sunday gathering. Talk to your kids. And listen. I, too, struggle with busy-ness; would you join me in repenting? Let’s slow down a bit. Everything is going too fast. Dialogue about the world, about Jesus, about faith. Lead your family into the things of God.
Jason M. Garwood (M.Div., Th.D.) serves as Lead Pastor of Colwood Church in Caro, MI and author of Be Holy and The Fight for Joy. Jason and his wife Mary have three children, Elijah, Avery, and Nathan. He blogs at www.jasongarwood.com. Connect with him on Twitter: @jasongarwood.