Men of God: Spiritual Leadership

By 10:01 AM

As the man and father of the family, are you the spiritual leader in your home?

Jerry Drace says that 90 to 95 percent of the men who are in church on Sunday are not men who are spiritual leaders in their home," Drace says. "By that I mean they are not reading their Bible. They’re not praying consistently with their children." Dr. Gregory Popcak states, "Catholic homes are spiritually bankrupt, characterized by low Mass attendance, poor participation in religious education, and an inactive personal and family prayer life."

It is said that the man is the head of the family and the woman is the heart of the family. Each needs the other to survive and fulfill each’s individual role in a family.

What does it take for a man/father to exercise and fulfill his role as the spiritual leader? Here are some thoughts to reflect on:

1. The Lordship of Jesus Christ

Everyone who exercises leadership and authority needs to be under leadership and authority of someone else. If the woman is to submit to her husband as the head as if to the Lord, as St. Paul states, then the husband needs to submit totally to the Lord, as his head. To the extent a man does this, then his wife and children would be more likely to submit to his leadership. Jesus shows us the way in his own life. Though equal in his divinity, in his humanity, Jesus submitted to the Father. Is Jesus the Lord of your life in fact and by choice?

a) Jesus was a man of prayer: personal prayer and communal prayer. The father as the spiritual leader of his family is be a man of prayer both personal and family. "If a man is not praying, he is not a spiritual leader. Prayerless men have abdicated their place of spiritual authority and left their families open to attack. " If a man is too busy to cultivate a prayer life that places God first, he is definitely too busy about many things except the most important one.

"The depth of your relationship with God is in direct proportion to the depth of your commitment to Him; great commitment, great relationship; poor commitment, poor relationship. Prayer matters: it equips, anoints, and empowers. God-given authority and prayer go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other."

b) To live out this dependency on the Father, before undertaking actions, Jesus would bring everything to the Father for his guidance and wisdom. How often do fathers act first and pray later, when they need help?

c) Jesus was sinless, we are not. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord, acknowledging our sinfulness and imperfections and our need for his grace to make right decisions.

d) Once Jesus prayed, he acted on what he felt the Father wanted him to do.

2. Have a servant’s heart.

Though Jesus was Lord and Teacher, he exhibited a servant’s heart both in his teachings and in his actions. He said: The Son of man came not to be serve but to serve and to give his life for the ransom of many. At the Last Supper, he demonstrated his servant’s heart by washing the feet of his disciples. "As I have done, so you must do." As a spiritual leader your best example is to be at the service of your family out of love. What would happen if you literally washed the feet of your spouse and children as a sign of your love?

a) Jesus showed the ultimate act of service on the cross.

He gave his life so that we may have life. St. Paul applies this lesson to husbands and fathers. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her

." As spiritual leader, the husband/father seeks what is best for his family before his own desires and needs. He surrenders his interests to better provide for the needs of his family.

3. A spiritual leader is one who asks forgiveness and forgives. You are not perfect. You will make many mistakes. When you do, ask forgiveness. Your family is not perfect and needs to experience your mercy and forgiveness as well.

4. Whatever you do, do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ out of love. Never stop saying "I love you." Never stop showing authentic love to each.

5. Begin to read, reflect and act on the Word of God. It is there you will find the directions to be the spiritual leader you have been chosen to be by God.

6. Take time to listen with your heart as well as your head, when you talk to each other. In their eyes, your time is very precious to them. Is it so in yours? Try to get behind the words to the reality behind them. Your family is your greatest treasure, after your shared life with God.

7. As a spiritual leader of your family, your first priority is to get to heaven. Your second priority is lead and intercede for your family that they will be in heaven with you. You will be remembered by God not by the material inheritance you left your family but by the spiritual inheritance you help them embrace. I tell couples before marriage that God will ask many questions, when we come before him. But the tree most important ones will be:

a) Who am to you? Was I the Lord and Savior of your life? Was relationship with me that important to you?

b) Where is your spouse in relationship to me because of you? You had these many years together. Is she closer to me because of you or further from me because of you?

c) Where are your children in relationship to me because of you? Are they closer to me or further away from me because of you?

Your feedback would be appreciated.


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