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How did you answer the question? What do your life and family revolve around? What defines you and your spouse? Identifying the animating center of your life and home is an essential diagnosis. Let me give you a few typical examples of what defines many Christians: work (vocation), ministry, activities, sports, a spouse, and children.
As you look at the list, you may ask how could a person in ministry not have God as the animating center of his family. It is an excellent observation, and the answer is one of the sadder commentaries about our Christian community.
It is no secret the fallout rate among pastors is high, partly due to their inability (or unwillingness) to guide their families biblically. It is also true for the rest of us who lead ministries inside and outside our local churches. It’s not that hard to lead a small group or conduct a Bible study while failing in the most critical leadership responsibility in our lives: leading our families.
Ignoring family failure is tempting. Being ministry-minded over marriage-mindedness is commonplace. For some church leaders, their ministry is a way of soothing the sting of failure in the home. Many women in horrible marriages are leading Bible studies.
Being an authentic example to those they are leading is not as important as filling a slot in the church. Additionally, their Bible study can become a refuge from a disappointing marriage experience. Their “little group” is their brief moment of sanity in an otherwise frustrating family dynamic.
If you are ignoring your marriage or family failure while pursuing ministry activity, may I ask what keeps you from dealing with your family problems?
Anything that replaces the work needed to put Christ on display in your life, marriage, and family is idolatry. “God replacements” will suck the life out of what should be a vibrant God-centered home. I have known many men in ministry who have undesirable marriages. People put these men on pedestals and praise them for their reputations and skills.
Then some husbands and dads spend their waking hours chasing the dollar. They anchor their worldview in the American dream. They want the right neighborhood, the right job, the beautiful wife, activity-centered children, and the approval of their circle of friends.
Too often, Christianity becomes a tack-on to their lives. In many cases, religion is a means to be connected to the right people while providing morality-based training for their children. This lifestyle is a dangerous perspective. If God is not the point and purpose of your life and family, the fallout will be inestimable.
The Orientation of the Home
If the Lord is not the animating center of your life, your home is idolatrous. “You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3 If you need help reorienting your life, marriage, or family around the Lord, please ask.