Who or what is the animating center of your home? Whoever or whatever you center your life and family on is the functional and controlling entity of your life and family.
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How did you answer the question? What does 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?
- Is it your reputation? You’re afraid of the opinions of others.
- Have you given up on your marriage ever changing?
- Is your church more ministry-centered than relationally-centered?
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
Call to Action
- Husband, does your wife humbly ask you to follow the correct Leader (the Lord) of your home (Ephesians 5:1)?
- Do you have a hunger for the Lord and a desire to follow Him as your family follows you (1 Corinthians 11:1)?
- Do you know how to lead your family this way (2 Timothy 3:16-17)?
- Are you embarrassed or intimidated to lead your family (Proverbs 29:25)?
- Wife, how are you encouraging and motivating your husband to lead you (Romans 2:4)?
- Do you nag him? Are you critical of your husband (Ephesians 4:29)?
- What is your spouse more aware of (1) your critique and nagging or (2) your encouragement and motivation (Philippians 4:9)?
- Can you both talk about the leadership failure in your home (Proverbs 27:17)?
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.
Also published on Medium.