Men, Take Your Place at Home!
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
CBN.com Author Jerry Drace is calling men to take their places as spiritual leaders in their homes.
Through their Hope for the Home conferences, Drace and his wife Becky travel throughout the United States offering advice and encouragement to strengthen families. A growing trend that he has noticed, Drace says, is that men are not stepping into the roles that God has established for them.
“In many churches, 90 to 95 percent of the men who are in that 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. I’ve had a lot of kids tell me they have never heard their dad pray.”
There are several key things that men should be doing, Drace says, as they lead their families.
Establish Family Devotions
Drace encourages men to take the lead in establishing the spiritual foundation for their families. This begins with setting aside a daily time for family devotions.
“I’ve had men say, ‘How do you have a family devotion?’” Drace says. “It’s really not hard. You could start with the book of Proverbs and read a verse a day, and after you’ve read the verse ask your children and your wife what they think about it.”
The important thing, he says, is that children see their parents demonstrating in their daily lives how important God’s Word and His principles are.
Let Submission Begin with the Husband
A lot of Christian men, he says, are stumped by the principle of submission referenced in Ephesians. Often, they see submission as something their wives and children are called to do, but they miss their part in the equation.
In his book, 44 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage, Drace writes to men about submission in a chapter titled, “Let Submission Begin with the Husband.” He tells men that submission is voluntary and should be based on the order that God established. This order, recorded in chapter 5 of Ephesians includes wives submitting to their husbands as their husbands submit themselves to the Lord.
Husbands are called to be the head of their households, but they do so under Christ’s leadership. If they are submitted to Christ, then their attitudes will be loving like Christ’s.
“If a husband must shout at his wife to get his point across and bark at his children to obtain their obedience, then basically he is just a loud husband who acts like a dog,” Drace writes in his book. “Being at the front of the pack doesn’t necessarily qualify as being the lead dog. Leadership is earned; especially spiritual leadership.”
Scripture makes it clear, Drace says. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). This sacrificial love is the key to building strong families.
“If dads and husbands could get their lives in order, and be the godly men that God has asked us to be, I don’t think we’d have to worry about submission,” Drace says.
Be a Servant
If parents want their children to learn Christian values, the best way to accomplish that goal is to live out those values in the home. In a culture filled with selfishness, Drace says, kids need to see moms and dads putting others' needs before their own. Marriage is the perfect opportunity to put these principles into practice.
He points to Scripture where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples to show them how to serve others.
“I often tell men, 'Guys, we need to get to our knees and pick up the towel and basin and symbolically wash the feet of our wives and children,'” Drace says. “They need to see that servant spirit.”
The things that are modeled for them at home are the things they will take with them as they grow and build families of their own one day.
Never Stop Saying, “I Love You”
One of the most important things fathers can do for their children is to say, “I Love You,” Drace says.
At their conferences he often meets guys whose fathers did not express their feelings to their children. In many cases, it has left deep scars on men’s hearts.
“I’ve had so many men come to me and say, ‘You know, while you were talking this morning, I got to thinking, I don’t remember my dad ever telling me he loved me,’ or ‘My dad never hugged me,’ or a lot of guys say, ‘My dad never told me he was proud of me.’ You probably can’t miss what you haven’t had, but once you’ve heard about it, then it hurts,” Drace says.
“I tell dads give your sons a hug. Give your daughters a hug. If they don’t make straight A’s, love them anyway. Love your children. Let them know and model it in front of them. Be that mom and dad you want them to one day be.”
Godly fathers are an essential part of a strong family, Drace says. Children need them to be the leaders that God has called them to be.
“I am so convinced that children need to hear their daddy’s voice in prayer. They need to hear their daddy’s voice in Scripture. They need to hear their daddy’s voice telling them they love them. This is reinforced week after week when we do these Hope for the Home conferences.”
For more information about Hope for the Home, visit HopefortheHome.org. Also check out Drace’s book 44 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage.
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