As a father, I think a lot about the command given to fathers in Ephesians 6:4. This is a command that God did not give to mothers, although mothers also are to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Proverbs 31:26-28, 30). The command in Ephesians 6:4 is given to fathers, which tells me that God wants fathers and husbands to be leaders in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-23). This notion is not a popular one in our society these days, mainly due to so many men NOT being leaders in their homes. Our homes, our nation, and the church are in decline as a result of this lack of leadership, and God is not pleased.
Men, God wants us to take leadership in the home. He wants us to take the helm, to be a man, a leader…especially when it comes to making the home a godly, spiritual sanctuary for your wife and children. When we do this, that’s when WE…not our wives, not our parents, but WE…will be bringing our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Our marriages will grow stronger, our families will become more and more godly, and over time our nation will begin to rise from her declining morality. The church also will grow stronger. After all, one of the scriptural qualifications of a leader in the church is that he “must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4-5) Do we want stronger leaders in the church? It starts with being a strong leader in the home. It starts with husbands and fathers.
When I think of biblical leadership, I think of Joshua, a man who had great influence over those in his generation (Josh. 24:29-31) because he was faithfully obedient to God’s Word (Josh. 1:7-8). He was also a very humble man, shown by the fact the was willing to serve others both before and after he became a leader. He served as Moses’ assistant for forty years (Exodus 24:13; 33:11), which tells me that great leaders are people who have no problem serving others. In fact, serving others helps them to lead. When Joshua took the helm after Moses’ death, God himself magnified the man (Joshua 3:7)…but Joshua didn’t let that go to his head. He was still willing to serve One greater than himself (Joshua 5:13-15). This tells me that I as a husband and father need to be humble if I want to be a great leader, because great leaders do not let praise go to their head. Great leaders are humble enough to know when it is time to serve once again. They are humble servants as well as leaders.
Joshua’s humility is shown even more when we see that he was a man of faith and trust in God. When ten of his fellow spies had no faith in God (Numbers 13:25-28), he and Caleb remained steadfast in spite of the peer pressure they felt to join the majority in their lack of faith (Numbers 14:6-9). Later, God would give this military commander with lots of military experience directions to take Jericho which would make no sense from a militarily strategic point of view…and Joshua obeyed them to the letter due to his strong faith and trust in God (Joshua 6:1-5; Hebrews 11:30). This tells me that great leaders realize that they cannot place their faith in men, or in themselves. They must look to God and completely trust in him!
Closely related to this is another quality of Joshua that made him a great leader, the fact that he was a man of God’s Word (Joshua 1:7-8). His success as a leader was directly related to his adherence to Scripture. He would tell others to stay true to God’s Word (Joshua 1:12-15), and would read the entire law of Moses to the whole nation and commit them to obey it (Joshua 8:30-35). The following passage sums it up best: “Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:15). As husbands and fathers and leaders, we must be men of the Book as well.
Do you want your family, your church, and your employees to serve God? Be a leader like Joshua.