Lead My Family, Part 2

You can't take too seriously the call to spiritually lead your family. Chris Harper gives us wise advice on leading spiritually.

Think about our modern-day prophets and the plight of our culture. Psychologists have redrawn the boundaries of the family. The High Courts have redefined marriage. Men and women have switched roles. Life has lost its sanctity. Self-actualization is the new sanctification. The Church is not immune—today—Churches look like amusement parks, and sermons sound like self-help seminars. The result? We are all becoming little gods, and the weight is unbearable. It is not by chance that youth anxiety and suicide are at an all-time high. Who can live under the pressure of being God, absent the privilege and power of actually being God? Placing the burden of godhood on a child is equivalent to dropping a house on them— it's an unbearable weight.


As prophet of your home, you need to offload this weight. You must speak words of truth that counteract the devil's lies:

"You can be whatever you want to be."
False—you can be who God has created you to be (Gen. 1:27; 5:2: Mark 10:6).

"Believe in yourself."
No thanks—believe in God's Word (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17).

"Follow your heart."
Horrible idea—follow King Jesus (Jeremiah 17:9).

"Trust your instincts."
Wrong—trust God and His Word (Psalm 20:7).

"Live your best life."
Nah—the best is yet to come (1 Cor. 2:9).

The aim of your life is not "live your truth." The aim of your life is to live the truth of another, namely, King Jesus. King Jesus said, "I am the way, the TRUTH, the life…" (Jn. 14:6, emphasis added).

Your child doesn't need another truth; they already have one. Take the burden of godhood off your child, and help them see that there is only one "I Am," and they're not it.

As prophet, the most important thing you can do for your family is share the truth of God's Word. This means you must be well-versed in God's Word. You do not need to be a trained theologian. You do not need to have a seminary degree. But you do need to know the Word. You need to read and have Scripture memorized—always ready to share what you've learned. You only need to be one step ahead to lead someone in God's Word. But—make no mistake—you cannot pass on what you do not first possess! 

Maybe you're a dad who is just now learning about God and His Word. That's fine—share what you know. As you grow in your knowledge, so will those under your care. Howard Hendricks, bible professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, would often say, "A bible falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't." As men, we must lead, guide, love, and shepherd our families. We do this primarily by sharing the truth of God's Word with them. The Bible tells us that, as fathers, we must train our children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. Deuteronomy Ch. 6 makes the mandate practical; as a father, your life is a classroom, and you are instructing your child, whether you know it or not.

Catechism For All 

Though the context and structure of our homes may differ, we can wield many of the same tools as dads. One tool that has been used for centuries is the tool of catechism. A catechism is a summary of beliefs set in question and answer. Catechism helps shape and grow us in the things of God.

My children have benefited from catechesis for years. Many years ago, we began writing the "Harper Family Creed." Interestingly, I grew up in a denomination that opposed catechism and creeds. My ordination was full of "no creed but the Bible" participants. That statement is both accurate and shortsighted; without question, the Bible is inerrant, sufficient, and able to teach us everything we need to know to live a holy life. That said, when asked, "Why creeds?" My response is simple;

"The Bible gives us life and everything we need to grow… the creed helps us grow in the right direction. The vine doesn't need the trellis to help it grow; the trellis is there to help it grow in the right direction." 

One of the most effective tools I use to help my kids grow in the right direction is the tool of catechesis. Children's minds gravitate to memorized facts. If your child can memorize the lyrics to "Let it go," they can memorize truths about God.

Teaching children biblical truth doesn't save them, but it does put them in the realm of grace. Memorized biblical truths stay with them long into adulthood and can be a tool in God's hand. Catechesis introduces children to the vital doctrines of Scripture and equips them with answers when the world begins to pound away at the door of their faith (hugely beneficial during their college years). Seeds of truth planted now have a fighting chance to bloom into a harvest of grace. I am catechizing my children today, so I might have something to reap tomorrow.

Beyond catechesis, there are other great tools. Storybook bibles, family devotionals, and books on family worship (anything by Dr. Joel Beeke is gold) all exist to equip you as prophet. But remember, as good as these tools are, nothing replaces the Bible. The Bible is, and always will be your guide. Use it. 

Brother, your life is a classroom. Every day, your family is watching and learning from you. Teach your children the truths of God. Speak them. Write them. Practice them. Every interaction can begin with the Word, and every interaction can lead to the Word. You're God's prophet, and your kids can't hear it enough.