With 22 years of marriage and 3 kids, I can never lose sight that fulfilling the commission in Matthew 28:19-20 to “go and make disciples” starts in my home. It not only starts in my home but is the most important aspect of making disciples in my life.
From what I have experienced and observed there are a few basic responses to the idea of discipleship at home.
- Do nothing. There are many reasons someone might choose the “do nothing” option. Not knowing where to start, fear, insecurity, lack of belief in themselves, etc.
- Expect someone else to do it for you. This is seen in thoughts such as, “It’s the churches job to raise my family spiritually.” “I take my kids to the youth group. That should be enough.” Obviously, church is a great thing. We just need proper expectations of responsibility.
- Start in the wrong place. This was me….If you start in the wrong place it makes it hard to end in the right place.
I have personally given in to all of the above at some point along the way. But, here is what I want every person to understand; You have what it takes to lead your home spiritually. With Christ in you, you have everything you need.
Very early in our marriage I asked several men that I respected this question, “What do I need to do to lead my wife spiritually?” Or to put it another way, what does my role in Shelley’s growth as a disciple of Jesus look like? I wanted the A + B = C answer. I wanted someone to tell me the exact things to do and how often I needed to do them to guarantee success.
No one would tell me what I wanted to hear. It frustrated me. I later realized that I was the one who did not “get it”.
Initially, I over tried to “disciple” Shelley. I made it about reading the BIble a certain amount together. I thought I needed to “teach” her like I would someone in a Bible study group. I was treating her more like a student than my wife. When she wouldn’t respond with overflowing gratitude, I did not understand. I know what you’re thinking….
I took a step back when my attempts at helping her growth spiritually were going nowhere. I stopped looking for a list of things to do and began asking a new question that has guided me ever since. I certainly don’t always get the answer right but when I start here, the other parts seem to fall into place..
The question I ask is born out of Paul’s instruction in Ephessians 5:25. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” Every act of Jesus began in His heart of love, humility and sacrifice. If I want to be a husband who encourages my wife to grow as a disciple of Jesus, then I need to start in the same place.
Here is the question I try to ask every day.
“How can I lay down my life for Shelley today?”
Other ways to ask it could be:
What can I deny myself today so that Shelley knows for certain she is loved?
What can I do today to help Shelley experience the love of God in a practical way?
How can I be less selfish as it relates to Shelley?
There are countless possible answers. Sometimes it is as simple as cleaning the kitchen so she doesn’t have to. It is keeping a rhythm of ongoing dialogue about the things of God in each other’s lives with a listening ear and prayerful response. It is being attentive to her needs and emotions when big changes in life happen. It is giving up time I might want to spend on a hobby to spend much needed time with her. It is getting up a little earlier so I can nurture my walk with God and pray consistently for her. Whatever the specific answer may be, it always comes from a place of giving myself up for her.
When you love her, pursue humility with her, and sacrifice for her, she will grow as a disciple of Jesus.
2 Comments Add yours
Awesome and incredibly helpful words my friend!
Awesome and practical words my friend!