There’s an old saying, “aim at nothing and you’re bound to hit it.” It’s a statement that reminds me of the importance of being diligent. Merriam-Webster defines diligence as being “characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort.” More importantly, the Bible states it this way, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat” (Prov 13:4).
Do I care about how I live and lead? Am I concerned with the kind of example that I’m setting for others? Is there a difference between the image I present outside the home and who I (really and truly) am inside of it?
The man who fears the Lord will be committed to intentionally leading in his home. But often, guys tap out. They demonstrate little-to-no discipline in their lives, nor has anyone taught them the biblical principles of how to live and lead for the glory of God. So they, instead, in all actuality, aim at nothing and are bound to hit it.
What if there was something out there to help men understand what the Word of God instructs and expects in this area of leadership? If only that man was equipped with a few biblical principles, he might rise to the occasion. He might not be satisfied with the gap found between his beliefs and his behaviors.
A Guide to Biblical Manhood is such a book. At just over 100 pages, it reads like a user’s manual as authors Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas walk their readers through what a godly husband, father, and leader looks like. Lessons are shared from the lives of Adam, Job, David, Solomon, Paul, and most especially, Jesus.
The excerpt below comes from their section written just for dads. Under “A Guide for Fathers” is a pithy list of suggestions on how best to lead our families. These are the areas in which we dads need to aim. They need to be initiated by you and me, in our homes.
As we read these, may we men be encouraged at the prospect of being a doer and be found fully engaged in our spiritual responsibilities as a father.
Nine aspects of leadership in the home:1
1. Vision: this is where we are going.
This is the big picture of what priorities your family should have, what you want your family to look like (we want our sons to be biblically masculine and our daughters to be biblically feminine, we want to be active members of our local church, etc.), what kind of home environment you want (honoring to God, family members encouraging one another, no rivalries, etc.). If you don’t set the vision, who will?
2. Direction: this is how we get there.
Here is where you map out the details of the vision. These are the daily, weekly, and monthly steps you are going to take in order to bring about the vision you have already agreed on.
3. Instruction: let me show you how.
Plugging things into your routine such as date nights with your kids, camping and baseball practice can take you a long way, but much of what you need to pass along to your kids requires specific instruction.
4. Imitation: watch me.
This is the heart of leadership isn’t it? There is no room for, “Do what I say and not what I do.” That is failed leadership. What you want to give are inspiring examples and clear demonstrations of proper living before God.
5. Inspiration: isn’t this great?
As the leader in the home, you are responsible for the morale of the group… You can have a challenging day, but you shouldn’t drag your family down as a result. You don’t have the luxury of moping.
6. Affirmation: you’re doing great!
Everyone needs affirmation and they need it from the one who is leading them. The greatest leaders in the world are those who know how to encourage and inspire… the impact of affirmation is amazing and powerful.
7. Evaluation: how are we doing?
This is the hardest one. Men do not like to self-evaluate because we tend to think much more highly of ourselves than we ought… evaluation is something you have to do regularly.
8. Correction: let’s make a change.
Evaluation is no good unless you agree on a plan to make corrections… it is a necessary part of good leadership. Findings from your evaluation need to lead to changes in your priorities, your calendar, etc.
9. Protection and Provision: I’ll take care of you.
The overarching message of men leading in the home is “I’ll take care of you.” This sentiment is expressed with great humility and with the full knowledge that no man can protect his family from every possible harm… even in tragedies and difficulties, you can exercise your protection and provision by modeling your own dependence upon the Lord.
Vision, direction, instruction, imitation, inspiration, affirmation, evaluation, correction, protection and provision. It’s what biblically faithful leadership looks like for the father. Convicting, yes? In what areas are you deficient in your leadership? Be sure to pick up a copy of this little book today for your summer reading, and then aim at something worth hitting.
1 Stinson, Randy and Dumas, Dan. A Guide to Biblical Manhood (Louisville: SBTS Press,2011). 79-83.