Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Though this is #7 in this series of posts, it is probably #1 in the priority of being intentional as a man. If a guy does not have a vibrant relationship with the Lord in private, it will show in public and in the home.
I've counseled numerous guys who are struggling with lust or laziness or pride and as I begin asking them questions about their devotion time, I find out that it has diminished or has lacked for a long period of time. The greatest way to fight for joy, renew your mind, and live out what biblical manhood is intended to be is by being a man of the Word. Knowing your Bible and applying it to life is the primary tool to be a godly man. Donald Whitney says, "No spiritual discipline is more important than the intake of God's Word" (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, p.28). And it is not just about knowing your Bible, it is about knowing the God of the Bible. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another..." This shows us that the way we change is by seeing the God of the Bible for who he really is. We change by beholding him. We behold Him by reading, meditating on, and memorizing His Word.
I can tell a distinct difference in my attitude, the strength of my fight against temptation, and my overall care for others if I spend time in God's Word in the morning or if I don't. My mind is renewed (Romans 12:2) and my joy is refreshed by surveying the wonderous cross through the written Word. My perpective on life becomes less about me and more about God's view on the world.
Much like prayer, our intake and meditation on God's word should be regular. We should set regular times to interact with God's Word and be changed by it. If you are like me and are weary in the mornings, it may be helpful to begin your devotion time reading a different book (to get the engine of your brain going) and then pick up your Bible. These are some books that I have found helpful in reading just a page or two to get my heart and mind primed.
- When I Don't Desire God by John Piper
- The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent
- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
- God is the Gospel by John Piper
- What Jesus Demands of the World by John Piper
- The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
- The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard
- Quest for More by Paul David Tripp
I also encourage you to read chapters 2 and 3 of Donald Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. They are excellent in giving you a renewed passion for God's Word.
Obviously, men are not the only ones who need God's Word, but it seems that if men would lead in being passionate about God's Word, families and churches would be dramatically strengthened. The spiritual depth of the home starts with the husband/father. If we don't do it, we are putting our wives in a hard position and we diminish the glorious gospel to our children. There is no greater gift that you can give your wife and children than a love for God's Word and you leading by example.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Our prayer life is not only to be by ourselves. Praying with your spouse can be a wonderful window in hearing your wife's conversation with God. My wife and I are still growing in prioritizing this, but as we have grown in this area, it has been a joy to cast our burdens before Him and also hear what her primary concerns are in life. I have learned so much about the priority and purpose of prayer from a good friend, Philip, who is from India. Apparently, the Indian Christians take prayer to a whole new level and it also takes marriage to a whole new level. There is an added intimacy with God and with each other when couples pray together.
Lastly, we should pray with our children. The way we can teach our children to pray is by allowing them to hear us pray. I'll never forget the time I heard my brother-in-law pray the same phrase that my father-in-law often prays as we prayed before a meal one Christmas afternoon. We learn from those we are around. Our children hear us and they learn how to talk to God by our prayers. We can teach them to pray spontaneously as they see us praying spontaneously...in the car, at our house, before meals, before bed, when we wake up, as we hear bad news, as we evangelize, and in preparation for church.