“Intentional family discipleship encourages those in our homes to draw their worth from the God who created them with value before birth.”
I received a dad joke calendar for Christmas this year. The gift was a result of me sending my assistant dad jokes I had seen posted. However, she regrets the calendar because now there is a dad joke every day.
- I wanted to be a Gregorian monk but didn’t get the chants.
- Where does Jack Frost keep his money? A snowbank.
- Why won’t a shrimp share his treasure? He’s a little shellfish.
My assistant’s spouse and my wife have to endure the dad jokes we share at the office. You have to be careful because once you start, then everyone gets in on the act. You can’t get away from it. My wife asked me, “What instrument is found in everyone’s bathroom? A tuba toothpaste.” See what I mean? You have to be cautious about what you let in your home.
It is exciting when we see discipleship at work. I lead a discipleship group and enjoy watching the incremental changes in their lives and mine. However, I am not in their house, nor are they in mine. Or are we? I do not know the intricacies of the relationships in others’ homes. I believe the home is the primary place of discipleship but often the most difficult. It can be hard to feel up to the task when it comes to family, with those who know us best.
I wonder if you have experienced the “parent effect.” The parent effect is when you share with your child a seed of wisdom or truth you have learned from experience, and they give you that look that says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” However, let a friend of yours say the same thing, and it is as if heaven has parted and they received the message.
I asked a youth pastor how my son did on a mission trip. He described behaviors and attitudes I had hoped for but hadn’t seen demonstrated at home! It was comforting to find my son had heeded some of those things his mother and I tried to build into his life.
Discipleship is an all-encompassing word. It needs to be a part of every facet of our life. No place is discipleship more critical than at home with family. I was having a conversation with a young man in my church whose dad was a pastor. This young man seems to have a good relationship with his dad and loves the church, and that is what I wish for with my son. So, I asked him, “How did your dad accomplish it?” His reply was immediate and important, “My dad was the same at home as he was at church, no different.”
As we follow the methods of Christ, he demonstrates the ways and means for us to have authentic discipleship. Discipleship is for us to see the goodness of God and that his ways are better than our own. Our goal is not about winning arguments, but getting the next conversation and exploring the excellencies of Christ. That takes a group effort and a humble, confident spirit. In 1 Peter 5 we find an example of how to disciple your family:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV), emphasis added
Look at the keywords in this passage: humble, exalt, sober-minded, watchful, suffering, and God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish, and dominion.
Being humble under the mighty hand of God is a restful place. It requires me to be prudent and watchful for thoughts, ways, and ideas contrary to God that will weaken my faith and my family’s faith. It does not keep us from suffering but restores our soul and strength.
Sober-mindedness is good sense; common sense used to be the phrase, but good sense is the better terminology. There is nothing common about good sense and being sober-minded. Proverbs 19:11 (ESV) says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Good sense means we are slow to anger, but often in our homes, we get angry quickly because we assume our house ought to know. After all, they live with us. Sober-mindedness is not a trait we are born with, but one we need to be discipled to learn. It is also a discipline we need to teach and demonstrate.
This 1 Peter text reminds me I am not alone in this struggle, but there is a brotherhood of fellow believers walking out their faith and keeping satan at the door. While speaking of being disciples in our homes, we need others to help us. Pray, encourage, instruct, and walk out our faith in their homes and share the experience of the good struggle together. These brothers and sisters in Christ help us discipline our families as we help disciple their.
Another keyword is dominion. Who am I letting have dominion or control in my life? Of course, God will (and does) have authority over me, but do my daily actions show his rule over my life, or have I left the door open for the enemy too? What habit or hangup am I letting influence me and my house instead of the wisdom of God?
I saw a video of a lady in Texas using her doorbell camera to capture a photo of a bobcat that was sitting outside her back door on her fence. She was afraid to leave her home because it looked like the bobcat was waiting for someone to exit. To this day, she has difficulty leaving her house. However, the home should be a place without fear to question and learn before we enter the world. We cannot hide away in our homes everyday, nor should we throw all caution to the wind. Jesus removes the fear of a sinner and replaces it with the gratitude of redemption so that we may enter our world confidently, but this takes discipleship.
Establishing healthy routines and habits is an important part of family discipleship. It is more than reading your Bible or praying; it is letting your family see you reading God’s Word and sharing its truth. It is important to pray with your spouse, your children, to pray over your spouse and your children. Intentional family discipleship encourages those in our homes to draw their worth from the God who created them with value before birth.
The one word that has troubled me is the idea of being exalted. Drawing attention to ourselves is not an attractive trait, yet it is what our society promotes. We see self-promotion in every avenue. Being exalted by God is not seeking man’s promotion but the Lord’s favor. This is our great value.
We love him and live for him. On the day we fall before him at his feet, unworthy of heaven, he will look down upon a lowly sinner saved by his grace and say, “Enter into your rest good and faithful servant.“ That is the exaltation we should seek and show our family.
Do you want to learn how to live, teach, and disciple as Christ did? Join us at The Bonhoeffer Project, and let’s walk this out together.
This post originally appeared at: Discipling Our Families — The Bonhoeffer Project