7 Traits Of A Spiritual Leader

My husband has shown me what a spiritual leader looks like. He is imperfect, he is a sinner, but yet he walks with authority because of His obedience to scripture. He humbly accepts what the Word of God teaches and he lets it transform his heart and his ways.

Not only is he an example to me and to our children, but he wanted to share this message with you as well. We have an opportunity to be lights in this world through the ministry that God has entrusted to us! It is time for our husbands to lead and for wives to support them! Here is the episode on 7 Traits of a Spiritual Leader!

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– Hey we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

– Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

– And today we’re gonna share with you seven traits of a spiritual leader.

– So Aaron with today’s episode being about a spiritual leader why don’t you start us off by just sharing what is a spiritual leader?

– So the idea is that you know, God’s organized and ordained and put into place an order to everything. He took, it’s essentially what he did when he made Creation. He took chaos and made order out of it and so he’s given order to everything. Any entrepreneur, any business owner knows that a company will only be successful if it has order and it works the same way in relationships and in life. Now the world doesn’t like that idea. Doesn’t like that there’s an order in marriage but there is. And as Biblical people, as marriages after God we wanna adhere to the Bible’s order. We don’t wanna, I don’t wanna put my own opinions on it, you don’t wanna put your own opinions on it and the Bible gives an order and you know, if we look at Ephesians chapter five verse 23 it says, for the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church, his body and is himself its savior. And so and we read on, there’s this picture of a body and there’s a head and there’s a body and we always talk about this. The husband represents Christ, the woman represents the Church and our marriage represents what God’s doing in the world and so we’re a symbol. Our marriage is a symbol. So I don’t have authority or power just because I’m the man and I decide that. There is a derived authority that comes from the word of God and it comes from God himself and I need to be obedient to this. I don’t just get power and authority because I demand it. I actually have to walk in what the Bible tells me to walk in. I don’t get to just operate how I wanna operate as a spiritual leader, as the head of the home. I operate the way the Bible wants me to and so we take what the Bible says and we say okay, how are we gonna walk in what it says, not in what the world says and so that’s where we get this idea of spiritual leader is headship and rules in the home.

– So today we’re gonna be talking to the guys.

– Yeah, it’s gonna be the husbands. Now, but I’m gonna get your perspective and opinion on these things.

– Yep.

– You’re gonna get to share areas that I’ve dropped the ball, areas that I’ve grown in, just so we can use our own personal experience of me learning to walk in spiritual leadership in my home.

– Yeah, and I think it’s good that husbands and wives both know what a spiritual leader should look like and act like and be like.

– Right.

– So that we can operate and encourage one another in that.

– Yeah.

– And so I think it’s a really, gonna be a really great episode and I’m really excited about it and yeah. I think that this is just a really important topic to cover, especially since it is the husbands that lead the wives and the children.

– Well we get a lot of questions all the time of wives asking like, how am I supposed to encourage my husband to lead in this way? And we get a lot of that. I get husbands all the time saying, hey I don’t even what it looks like to be a spiritual leader, where do I start? And so we thought we’d come up with a list of traits that a spiritual leader should have and they’re things that we move towards and we grow in and we mature in but if we at least have like a foundation of like okay that’s, those are things that I should be looking for and growing in and asking the Lord to change in me and again, the reason we’re doing this is not that like hey, men you need to be stronger in the home and you need to you know get more authority and no. What we’re trying to do is when we walk in these ways, in the Biblical ways, we represent Christ accurately to the world. We walk in the ministry that God’s given us in our marriages, we are a more accurate representation of the Gospel, again the purpose in all of this is obedience to God, serving him, loving him and being used by him for his purposes, not our own. It’s not to get what I want, it’s not to move you know, what I want moved and to benefit the way I wanna benefit, those are actually unbiblical and unGodly ways of thinking. The only reason I would wanna be the spiritual leader is because God’s asked me to. The only reason I would wanna be a good spiritual leader is because it benefits God and his kingdom and of course it benefits everyone in my home.

– Yep.

– So that’s where our heart is.

– So before we jump into the seven traits of a spiritual leader why don’t you just give some perspective and background on your journey as a spiritual leader and how you’ve grown in this area.

– Well, I’m still, again I’m not an expert.

– Well you didn’t start out either knowing you know, exactly how.

– I didn’t.

– It should look or play out in our marriage.

– I didn’t have much mentors in my life to show me what it looked like to be a spiritual leader. And to have that role and you know, I feel like I’ve come the farthest in this walk in the last few years of just really embracing it. Especially with having kids and like oh my gosh, I need to step up my game ’cause.

– ‘Cause being more disciplined I think.

– Yeah.

– And being intentional with these.

– Discipline’s a good word. That we, that I’ve disciplined myself and I’ve been learning to discipline myself and train myself to walk a certain way and to be a certain way because of what it means. For my wife, for my marriage, for my children and what it means for our ministry. The outside world’s seeing who we are and it’s not just to have an image but it’s to portray an image, Christ’s image in this world. And so yeah, I’m learning still. It was hard In the beginning and I feel like I’m, you know, I’m always falling on my face every day but learning a lot and still growing and asking and praying over it and trying to mature.

– Well I’ll say from my perspective, I’ve seen huge growth. Like you said, specifically in the last few years as you’ve embraced kind of this spiritual headship in our marriage and family and just taking on some of those, some of these traits that we’re gonna be talking about and really just like, being intentional to walk them out and being that example and I’ve just been really encouraged by your willingness to walk this way because it has benefited our whole family and you know, just looking back over the. Like if I look back to the beginning of our marriage, you had some of these and you know, or maybe a little bit of all of them but you’ve really grown in the way that you’ve understood them.

– Well thank you.

– And understood the why.

– And I think the goal for any Christian is that we grow in our faith. We grow in our maturity, we grow in our holiness and purity and moving towards it. We don’t do those things for our salvation, we do them from our salvation right? ‘Cause we have the Holy Spirit empowering us to walk the way Christ walked, to walk closer with God, to love him with our heart, mind, soul and strength.

– And I would also add to that that as you have grown in your relationship with God and drawn closer to him, these things have naturally grown in you.

– Which they should.

– Yeah.

– But some of them also have taken me making changes in my life.

– Yeah.

– To make those priorities but I wanna say going back to the reason we do this is because we have a ministry in this world and if you haven’t watched, if you haven’t checked out our episode on your marriage being your first ministry, you need to check that out, go download it or go watch it but the purpose we do any of these things is to bring glory to God and to grow his kingdom and it always starts in our home and it radiates from there and I would just wanna mention that because of some of the things that I’ve recently been operating and you know, doing our family Bible times.

– Yeah.

– Which is a fairly new thing in the last year and a half. I’ve been getting messages from men that have been implementing family Bible time in their homes.

– That’s so cool, that’s awesome.

– So just by my simple obedience and of course I’m showing it on social media.

– Yeah.

– But I’m doing it intentionally to be an example. Other men have been encouraged and stepped up in it. So it’s amazing what just our little bit of obedience and discipline can influence people outside of our homes and like again, that’s the whole purpose of what we’re doing is to bring a Godly influence in the world. So, I think we can jump into these traits. We’re gonna about the seven traits and then we’re gonna bring up some Scripture for them to just reinforce the idea and then you’re gonna probably just bring up things that you’ve seen and experienced along the way to show how it benefits the home.

– Yeah.

– Or can hurt the home.

– Okay, so number one is, a spiritual leader is generous and encourages family to be that as well.

– Yeah, so generosity. I know that many people are gonna, the first thing they’re gonna think is money. Which that is important, but generosity, think about it this way. Actually when we were talking about notes for this, the thing that I, the words that came to my mind was others-focused. Generosity and essentially is giving to others.

– Yeah, could be time.

– Money.

– Energy.

– Yeah, love.

– Physicalness, like if someone needs help moving like.

– Yeah, using your body.

– Being generous and yep.

– So it’s others focused, it’s the opposite of selfishness. Selfishness is essentially asking everyone to be generous to me. I want you to give to me, I want that person to help me, I want that person to benefit me. Generosity is just on the base level, giving to others.

– Yep.

– You know, that usually is gonna come in the form of money. Just in most definitions of generosity. But a spiritual leader should first and foremost be others-focused.

– Yeah.

– Not self-focused.

– Yeah.

– Not selfish, not always desiring because that is the, is a backwards mentality. You know, how are you gonna serve me as my wife? I want you to give to me, I want you to give me time, your energy, your physical touch. I want my friends to give me, I want my kids to serve me in this way and it’s just all, it’s like a vortex sucking in energy from everywhere into itself. Have you experienced me being selfish in that way because I definitely have been.

– Well, yes in the past, more so than recently I feel like that was a struggle but I do wanna point out that we haven’t.

– Be gentle, just kidding.

– No no, it’s not personal. I just wanna make a note that it’s important to have like, the order that you were talking about to be right and even though it is others-focused like you’re saying it’s really important that this aspect of generosity and really all the traits that we’re gonna talk about, starts at home with your wife and children right? Wouldn’t you agree that that balance is really important that before you even give of your time, energy, talents, whatever to other people it starts with the others right here in your home.

– Right yeah, ’cause we’ve, again we get messages all the time about all sorts of things and someone asked and said, my husband gives over here so much and so much to all these other people and doesn’t give anything to us. How am I supposed to deal with that? My first thing is like, well he shouldn’t be.

– Well it’s really hard though. I wanna say this for people listening ’cause they might be able to relate to this. It’s really hard when they’re doing it in the name of ministry and I don’t wanna pick on a certain ministry.

– Right, yeah.

– Because it happens in all of them but if you are.

– Yeah I’m doing this for God. Therefore you are all gonna suffer.

– Exactly.

– ‘Cause I’m doing this for God and it is backwards.

– And so I just wanna encourage, if there’s that imbalance in your home for those listening to make sure that the others-focused portion starts right there with your wife and your children.

– And not to keep referencing the marriage is your first ministry but I think we will because when you are a spiritual leader you recognize your marriage is a ministry.

– Yeah.

– When the balance is correct and I have a generous mind and a generous heart and my goal is to love you and serve you the way the Bible tells me to and my children, there’s gonna be such a fullness and a richness, a richness in your guys’ lives and you’re gonna feel so secure in our relationship that when I am doing, called to something outside the home, ministry wise, you’re on the same page with me and you actually desire, you’re like oh no. Go do what God’s called you to do.

– ‘Cause I’m full, like I have what.

– Yeah.

– You’ve given us already.

– Yeah, there’s a oneness.

– And I can support you in that.

– And a teammanship.

– Yeah.

– That allows me to now operate in that way and serve in that way. So it’s not backwards where like oh no, you just need to deal with the suffering.

– Right.

– And go suffer and I’m gonna go over here and serve.

– Yeah, okay so I wanna get into some Scripture.

– Yep.

– I’m gonna start with Proverbs 11:25. It says, whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

– That’s a awesome Scripture. It’s a proverb, you know there’s tons of truth in that. And the idea is that, especially in marriage when you’re one, the Bible tells us in Ephesians if I’ve never not fed myself right? ‘Cause I love myself, I feed myself, therefore I should feed my wife because we’re one. I should love my wife because we’re one and by doing so I’m loving myself. And so if I’m watering my wife and giving to my wife and I’m generous to her and I’m pouring into her and washing her with the water by the word like Ephesians tells us and if I’m doing that to my children and making sure that they feel secure and loved and discipled and that my heart is at home with them then when I’m away, they’re not gonna be craving that and being, and just always thinking like where’s dad at? Is he here with us?

– And you won’t feel that tension coming from them so it makes whatever ministry you’re working on or whatever work you’re doing, or whatever reason you pulled away from us easier.

– Well and, the fruit of the watering and the feeding and the planting that I do in my home, I get to benefit from. Seeing my children be cherished and just grow up mature and you know loving.

– Yeah.

– And kind and seeing my wife just being cherished and filled and just wanting to give back to me and serve me in that way.

– Yeah.

– It’s a direct fruit.

– Yep.

– And you’ve experienced both sides of that. Me neglecting you and me giving to you.

– Yep.

– So, a spiritual leader should have this outward heart of generosity. So let’s just jump into another Scripture about this idea of generosity and it’s in 2 Corinthians and we’re gonna start in chapter eight and it says this in verse seven. But as you excel in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you, see that you excel in this act of grace also. And Paul’s talking about generosity. He’s talking to the Corinthian church and how they had this desire to give to another church. You know, another part of the body. And he says, I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. In all this matter I give my judgment. This benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So, he’s just, he’s talking to the Corinthians, like you desire to do this work of giving. Generously, to this other church who is in great poverty. They, ’cause the church was eager to bless them and serve them in that way financially and he’s like, and he’s saying you know, Christ, you’re being the example that Christ gave. Christ came, and though he was rich, became poor so that you may become rich and he’s saying like, you’re giving of yourself the same way Christ did. Even though you’re rich, you’re becoming poor for their sake. And he’s using these big terms and ideas. Not that we would you know, become poor but he’s saying that you have this heart of Christ, of generosity and I think of God. And you know, the Bible tells us, says we did not love first. It says that we love because God first loved us and there’s this reciprocation that because God’s given to us, of course I wanna give. Because God loves me of course I’m gonna serve you and love you. And so we’re able to be generous because of who was first generous to us. You know what’s John 3:16 saying? For God so loved the world that he gave. And what’d he give? The most valuable thing that he had, his son Jesus. And so that’s where we start our foundation on. We start our foundation as spiritual leaders of understanding who had given to us first and that allows us to give of everything.

– That’s really good, do you also wanna read 2 Corinthians 9:7?

– So that attaches to the first part. In the next chapter, in chapter nine in verse seven it says this. It says, each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion. So the idea of how to give is that I’m not, I’m not gonna be nice to you and generous to you because I have to. No, I’m not being under compulsion. I want a desire to.

– Yeah.

– I wanna have it out of my own free will that I’m doing it. So it’s not out of an attitude of well I have to do, this is what husbands have to do. I’m a spiritual leader therefore I have to reluctantly you know, sacrifice these things I really wanna do so that, no my heart should be of one of free will.

– Yeah, it’s like what Christ.

– Yeah.

– When he was headed to the cross, like how was his heart?

– It was to give, not reluctantly and so that’s a good, a point that we. We start from what we’ve been given and that’s how we can give and then why we give is out of a free will because we desire to.

– I love that, okay so a spiritual leader is generous. Number two is a spiritual leader encourages and uplifts. So constantly encouraging, using their words to just uplift their family.

– So what kind of leader would I be? How would you feel if as a leader I was just constantly criticizing you?

– I’d feel crushed. I, yeah I would feel broken. I would feel like worthless.

– Right, let’s say I desired you to be in the word more but every day that I was just like, why don’t you ever open your Bible? Like why don’t you, you just never do that. Like do you even like like the Bible? What if I talked that way to you?

– I would feel really down yeah.

– Would it inspire to read more?

– Probably not.

– And if it did it probably wouldn’t be like the right heart you were doing it. You’re like, I’m just gonna open the Bible because my husband doesn’t love.

– Yeah and then I —

– It would break you right?

– Yeah.

– And that would just be the opposite of leadership and I’ve had bosses that talk that way, they’re always criticizing, they’re always, like you’re never good enough and it just doesn’t work. And could you tell them the, what’s that principle we learned when it comes to our, you know, how we raise our children?

– Yeah we were encouraged, what was this? Like two or three years ago when you are training up your children and interacting with them that there should be a ratio of 90% affirmation and 10% correction.

– Yeah, just a good way of thinking. Like you know most of the time it should be.

– It was a great encouragement for us to hear as parents because then we’re not going around the house constantly criticizing and correcting our children.

– Which is how I feel often is it’s most of the day is correction yeah.

– It’s hard with little kids ’cause especially when there’s multiples ’cause then you’re like, stop arguing, don’t do that, no stop, come back. You know, and it could feel very overwhelming quickly but if you remember this ratio it helps you to encourage and be a little bit more uplifting and so we were talking about this episode and we were like, man this is so pertinent to marriage as well. Like if.

– Right, if I was 90% you know correcting you and you know exhorting you and telling you how you’re failing.

– I wouldn’t wanna be around you.

– That would be terrible.

– It’d be like just go, just leave.

– But this is a good, you know most of these are for the husband but this is a good all around.

– Yeah, for both.

– Like if you’re a wife, and you’re just like 90% of the words out of your mouth are criticism of your husband, it is destructive.

– Yeah.

– And we do this, husbands do it to their wives but we should just be, just, we need to get into a mindset of, how can we just be mostly encouraging?

– Especially ’cause when you affirm someone in a behavior that they have or in a way that are you’re supporting them in that behavior and they’re gonna wanna keep doing it.

– Yeah it’s just a destructive mentality to have that out of whack and when you put the, you know that ratio of the 90/10 rule it helps you to recognize it. When you feel like most of the day, like man I, I just, I feel like I haven’t said a kind thing to my wife all day. Then your ratio’s off. You should feel like you haven’t you know, had a criticism in awhile. That should be the ratio.

– Yeah.

– Like man like I, and it should never be criticism actually.

– Right.

– You know, exhortation is probably a better word of like I’m strongly encouraging you to change this aspect of your life. I’m strong, that’s what an exhortation is. A strong encouragement to change something, to do something. Like babe, I really think you should get up this morning and get in the word.

– It’s more of an encouragement.

– Yeah I’ve noticed you haven’t been in the word lately and probably you’re feeling it and you’d be like, you’re right.

– You’re right.

– I haven’t been in the word lately, I need to get in the word. So it’s much different than you know, coming at it from a criticism. But yeah, a spiritual leader should be encouraging and uplifting.

– Yeah, and I wanna add too that we should never withhold affirmation just because we’re not getting it.

– Oh yeah.

– So there’s that kind of attitude can seep up really quickly and.

– Yeah I’m not gonna tell you.

– We’ve struggled with it in the past.

– You’re doing a good, I’m not gonna tell you you’re being a good wife ’cause like you haven’t been encouraging me lately.

– Yeah, so I just wanna throw that out there just so that those listening know that like, if you’re doing that, it needs to stop.

– Yeah and so as the husband, as the spiritual leader, lead in that.

– Yeah.

– Be an encourager. Encourage the growth in your wife. I think of the, in Ephesians 5:25 it says husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church, washing her by the water with the word. I think of the word wash. Washing is a very specific word. It’s a gentle thing like when you wash a baby. Like you don’t like, dunk ’em under the water and like scrub their face. I mean some kids they’re real dirty but washing is a very gentle thing ’cause you could hurt the skin, the skin is sensitive but all you gotta do is you know, clean the outside right? That’s what a washing is.

– Yeah.

– And so that’s a good word to think of. Like how can I wash my wife today? Not, how can I break her? Or transform her or change her or like you know, get her. That’s, those other words are very harsh and destructive where washing is very gentle and it’s for the purpose of cleaning. It’s for the purpose of coming out better on the other side, not worse.

– Yeah.

– So we have a couple Scriptures to read on this idea of encouragement. The first one’s in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. And it says this, therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. And Paul was encouraging the Thessalonians to be encouragers. Build each other up, don’t destroy each Other, don’t be back biting, but build each other up. It’s the purpose of the church that we love one another, that we serve one another, that we become stronger. So it should be a trait in us that we are encouragers, that we build each other up. That my marriage, recognizing that we’re one, that I build you up, not tear you down. You know, it probably goes without saying but you know, a lot of people don’t understand that.

– Yeah that’s really good and I have Proverbs 16:24 to share and it says, gracious words are like a honeycomb. Sweetness to the soul and health to the body which I love because sometimes we don’t realize the impact or power that our words have but this imagery just gives a really soft picture of how your words can impact, especially a wife, a woman who you know, you’re leading and so I just, I love that picture.

– Yeah and our children. You know, our words are powerful. They, our words are like God’s words to them ’cause they are learning to know God through us.

– Yeah, yep.

– And so, not to say that our words are God’s words but hopefully we are saying God’s words to them. But yeah, you know gracious words and that’s essentially what encouragement is is using words, using the things that in our heart and making words and using them to build up.

– Yeah and if you’re struggling with that like if you’re thinking like, well what are some things I can say to encourage my wife today? There’s nothing wrong with taking a minute to think about it and you know.

– There’s actually something great about that.

– I mean, it’s really important and so, I would just encourage you to take a moment, start thinking about the things that you love about your family, take time to consider the good things that are happening and draw those out with your words.

– Yeah, and if you don’t have your own words, you know maybe in the beginning of this, and you’re like man I don’t know what to do. Start with God’s words.

– Yeah.

– Use what the Bible says about your wife and your kids and just leave little notes with Scriptures and say, hey think about this today. She’s gonna love that. I know you like that.

– I do like that.

– When I do little letters for you.

– I do.

– So let’s move on to the third, the third trait of a spiritual leader.

– So a spiritual leader leads by example.

– Again, should go without saying.

– Yeah.

– But the best leaders lead by example not by bossing people around. Like and I’ve learned this the hard way. I want you to change an area, I want you to be a certain way and yet I’m not willing to be that first.

– Actually we found the most impact when you realize like, I should just be walking this way. Like let’s say it’s reading the Bible more. You started doing that more and setting that tone and all of a sudden I’m like, coming up behind you. Hey what are you reading about? Hey, can I read?

– Well and I remember you even saying like, I feel like I have to catch up to you.

– Yeah.

– Not that it was a race but you noticed.

– Not but I wanna be there with you.

– You noticed I was in the word and that you weren’t. And so instead of me going to you and being like, you should be in the word every day, I just did it.

– Yeah.

– Which is what I should be doing anyway. I should be in the word.

– Yeah more recently it’s been with how you’ve been so disciplined in working out and me you know, being postpartum and my body feeling a little bit weak, I’m like excited to you know, get back in to a routine again.

– Right, which is not how we used to be.

– No way, I used to be so lazy and just, that was a struggle for me.

– And one other example is, I used to you know, desire, man I wish my wife would just like want me sexually. I wish you would just come to me and I wish you. But then what I would do is I like, you know, any time I’d think that way I’d try and change it and be like, well what does my wife desire? Like oh, I bet you she’d love a foot massage and so instead of again, going back to the generosity, thinking about you first.

– Right, others-focused.

– Instead of getting bitter and thinking like why aren’t you doing this for me? I would go and serve you in that way and not even ask for anything or even tell you. I’d just start massaging your feet and you’d be like, what are you doing?

– Hey.

– And I’m like, oh I wanted to bless you. You know, your legs and oftentimes it would turn into something more. Again, I wouldn’t go with the goal of tricking you or anything.

– Right.

– I truly wanted to serve you and it was a good way of switching and saying, how can I serve you instead of being served? How can I give to you instead of being given to? And it becomes an example to you. You see me serving you in that way and you think, well I wanna serve him in that way also. Same with our kids and one’s a bad example. Not necessarily a bad example but how powerful is our example in our home?

– Well, I feel like even when you’re not being intentional with certain things, you’re still setting an example by the way that you’re living, the choices that you’re making and the things that you like.

– Yeah, all of the little things every day.

– I mean even if I just think about like our son and how he kind of mimics you. The first thing that comes to my mind is you love movies. Like you’re constantly, you’ll even go to the movies by yourself.

– That’s my favorite thing to do.

– You’ll check like, oh it’s playing at the movies and so they hear that, they’re seeing that and our son loves movies, he’s only five and he is lie.

– And we don’t even have a TV in our house.

– He’s always asking and just recently he was like, “Mom is it still summer?” And I’m like, yeah why? And he goes, ’cause that’s when all the kid movies come out and he knows like.

– Yeah and I was like, do you know that we were just talking about movies? And he’s like not, I just wanna know if there’s movies out that I can see.

– So that’s just one little example of how even when you’re not paying attention and you’re not.

– Yeah.

– Realizing the kind of example you’re setting, you’re still setting one.

– And that goes for the negative things. Like when we have hidden sin in our life.

– Oh yeah.

– We cannot be deceived to think that our hidden sin is not gonna be an example to our family.

– Right.

– Somehow, some way it is going to lead your children in the same thing. It’s gonna trickle down to your marriage and your marriage bed and all of those things and so, realize that you’re being an example whether it’s a good one or a bad one.

– Right.

– So, as a spiritual leader you wanna be a Biblical one.

– Right, speaking of being a Biblical one do you wanna read James 1:22?

– Yeah, James 1:22 says this. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James is talking about this idea of what the word says. Are we doing it or are we listening to it? Like oh yeah of course I should, I should be a spiritual leader but I’m not. Oh yeah of course like the Bible encourages me to read the Bible and tell the word of God to my kids but I’m not doing it. So I’m just being a hearer and not a doer and I’m being deceived. That’s literally what it is. I am deceived into thinking that I’m anything that this says I am if I don’t do what it says.

– Right, and if you’re not doing. I’ll say this, if you reading it and doing what it says, it’s gonna weed out all those bad examples that you could be setting.

– Right, ’cause it’s gonna slowly start revealing them to me.

– And transforming you.

– And transforming ’cause that’s what the word of God does, it renews our minds and so to be an example, are we being doers of the word of God? And that’s the example that we’re gonna leave for our families. We’re doing what it says.

– Yep.

– In front of them and in secret.

– And speaking of that, we’re gonna lead, it’s gonna lead us into the next one which is a spiritual leader knows the word and teaches it to their children.

– Yep, and so not only are we doers of the word but if we’re in this daily and we have, we have an episode about family Bible time and how we want the Bible to be a centerpiece of our home and not just a visual centerpiece but our kids know that we make decisions based off of how this teaches us. We teach them what this says. We open it up, they see us reading the Bible, we tell them often. Like oh, you know what God says about that? Oh you know where you know, in your life you can apply what this says to your life and they see it and they hear it and so we are responsible to know what this word says. We like to tell husbands like, you’re the pastor of your home. The pastor that you go get taught by on Sunday mornings is not the pastor of your children, is not the pastor of your wife. You are, you are required to know and be doing and living what this book says. Because it’s the word of God to us and as the head, as Jesus, he came and he disseminated the word of God. He was God and then he passed it down to the Apostles and they wrote the rest of this so that we can now do the same. And so we are called to know this and to teach it. And you’ve seen the example of when I know this and teach it versus when I don’t walk in this or read it or do it. You know, when you see me leading our kids in this, do you see better fruit in our lives or worse fruit?

– I absolutely see better fruit.

– Yeah, and at the end of day our desire is that our kids know God and my desire is that you grow closer to God and that we as a family are Godly and that we are pursuing him and as Joshua said, for me and my household we are gonna serve the Lord. You know, and so my challenge to the husbands watching right now and listening right now, is do you open your word of God? Do you know it? And doesn’t mean you’re a Bible scholar but it means you know where books of the Bible are. You know where the Old Testament is and the New Testament is. You understand who the writers are and what and where and the context and you do that by getting into it, by learning it, by listening to it, by having older people that are better at it teaching you about it.

– And don’t feel discouraged if you don’t know any of that right now today, but hopefully it motivates you to get started.

– Yeah, I’ll give you a little bit of encouragement that I gave someone this morning. They said, “I wanna start doing a Bible time “with my family.” No they, this is what they said. They said, “Oh I definitely need to start “reading the Bible to my kids.” My message was, start today.

– Yeah, don’t put it off.

– Like what are you waiting for? Like all you gotta do is open up in Genesis and just start, if you can read, you can read. Open it up and then what you do is you say God, teach me what this is saying. Teach me how to understand because the Holy Spirit is the teacher of all things that this is. He’s the one that decides what we know about it.

– Yeah, yeah.

– You know, he teaches us.

– Do you wanna read the Scripture that kind of is what encouraged us and motivated us to be teaching our kids daily?

– Yeah, this is in Deuteronomy chapter 11 and it starts in verse 18. And God is telling the fathers, the leaders of the people of Israel he’s saying, this what I want you to do with my words. This is what God’s telling the people. And this is the word of God. It’s actually in parentheses, it’s his words. “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine “in your heart and in your soul, “and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, “and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. “You shall teach them to your children, “talking of them when you are sitting in your house, “and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, “and when you rise. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house “and on your gates, that your days “and the days of your children may be multiplied “in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers “to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.” So, the context is God talking to the people of Israel but the principles are still true. God desires us, the spiritual leaders of our homes to be have God’s words applied this way. When we’re walking, when we’re sitting, when we’re lying down, when we’re waking up, he wants us to know him. He wants us to disseminate it to our children because if we don’t teach our kids, they will never know. Right, and we don’t want that. We want them to know.

– Yeah, so can I ask you a question that I think those listening or some of those who are listening might have?

– Yeah.

– Okay, so what happens if let’s say that the mother or the wife is doing a lot of the spiritual teaching in the home throughout the day? Why is it important for the father or the husband to be teaching as well?

– Well first of all I think the father and husband should be doing the majority of the teaching. That’s, the direction and the guidance and the majority of the pastoring should be from the father but we know that there’s gonna be some situations where the husband’s not. Maybe he’s not even a believer. I definitely think that the mother is, you have a huge role. A major role, it’s not like you’re exempt from teaching our kids about God.

– Right, yeah.

– Everything you do is to teach them about God. So I would say don’t stop doing it but don’t do it in a way that hinders your husband from doing it. Don’t get in the way, like if your husband’s desiring. If, like let’s say after watching this and listening to this, they’re like yeah, I actually wanna start doing this. Don’t hinder them, don’t say, well you’re doing it wrong.

– Right.

– Do it this way, you can definitely encourage them outside of the you know, the room with your children and say how about we try this? How about we try this?

– And what would you say to the husband listening right now who maybe is reliant on his wife teaching the kids?

– I think it’s a broken order for a husband to outsource all of his spiritual leadership to his wife. And I don’t think that’s healthy. I think it’s backwards and I think it’s lazy and I’ve done it. I, you know, we all have husbands that, or we have wives that are always saying like, I do all of this and my husband doesn’t wanna do any of it.

– Or just expressing a desire for their husband to step up.

– Right.

– That’s one reason why I’m asking ’cause I know there’s a lot of wives who desire this from their husband.

– Yeah.

– And maybe they’re kind of just taking a backseat.

– But there has to be, there has to be a willingness to step down a little bit so that the husband can operate in that way.

– Yeah, and I would say to the wives listening, if this is you and your husband’s maybe taken that backseat, to be praying for him every day.

– Yeah pray for him.

– That he does wanna step into that role ’cause it really is an important one. Not just for your children but for you as well. To really do in that way.

– And a little Biblical trick, something that we learned from 2 Peter about how you can be encouraging your husband. Remember, not criticizing, you never teach the kids, you’re never in the word of God. Not criticizing but encouraging. Go to your husband with Biblical questions.

– Yeah.

– Like earnest question. Like don’t go and try and trick him or like you know, in a facetious way but go and say hey, I was reading today in you know, in Matthew and what do you think Jesus meant by this? Now eventually a husband that’s not spiritually leading is gonna wonder why you’re asking him and then eventually what’s gonna happen is that you know, us men, we love being needed.

– Yeah.

– And if you came to me daily with like Biblical questions, again not in a facetious way but in an earnest way like yeah, I really wanna know your opinion on this.

– Yeah.

– Eventually that husband’s gonna be like, I need to actually open up the Bible and see why she’s asking me these things.

– Yeah.

– And you might encourage him through your, you know, your spirit of coming to him and wanting him to lead that way to lead and it’s a beautiful thing. So that was just a little trick you should try if you have a husband that maybe isn’t fully embracing this role and it might encourage him to get in the word of God and start leading in that way.

– Okay, so we’re gonna move on to the next one which is, a spiritual leader has an even temperament.

– This is a big one.

– This has been a huge growth area for you.

– It is, because I used to get very angry, very impatient.

– Impatient, I would say impatient was your biggest one.

– Yeah and you know, just for the sake of stability in the home, if you or my kids never know where I’m gonna be emotionally. Like I’m here and then I’m here and then I’m like, oh work was hard so I’m gonna be frustrated. Oh, I just had a fun day with my friends and now I’m in a good mood and you know all the, my mood is totally dictated by outside things all the time.

– Circumstances.

– Which we can’t always avoid. No one has a perfect control of their spirit. We’re slowly being sanctified in this through the Holy Spirit but if we have an even temperament, meaning the majority of the time, you know exactly how I’m gonna be.

– Yeah.

– I’m in a fairly joyful and cheerful mood. It doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, doesn’t mean I’m not like, ugh I had a hard day. You know, like but I don’t let the external circumstances dictate whether or not I’m just gonna be angry.

– Yeah.

– And like, oh you had nothing to do with it but I’m mad at you and you’re gonna take the brunt of it because X, Y, Z.

– Yeah.

– It cultivates an environment for healthy growth and maturity and spirituality but instead of being a thermometer I’m a thermostat. A thermometer just reacts to the temperature.

– It tells you what it is.

– It just tells you what the temperature is. Like so, if it’s hot outside I’m hot. If it’s cold inside I’m cold. A thermostat sets the temperature.

– That’s really good.

– So as a spiritual leader I have the ability to set the temperature in my home and we’ve seen this, I’ve been trying to practice this a lot lately because I used to, like I’m usually pretty even keeled except for when you’re doing this. And so I’ve tried lately, not always successful in my own self-control but I’ve tried, like when I know you’re, you know with the baby and you’re just tired and overwhelmed and you’re a little frustrated. Instead of also being frustrated, like why aren’t you just you know? Why don’t you just get over it? Why don’t you blah blah blah? You know, how I would usually react. I’ve been trying to like keep a temperature in the house that is more uplifted and be like, hey like, I get how you feel you know. That was a hard night.

– More understanding yeah.

– But just remember like, we can actually you know, walk in the spirit still.

– Yeah.

– I love you, I get it. And like remind you, encourage you but kind of keep a uptempo in my spirit so that you’re, I’m not elevating my spirit to where you’re at.

– Yeah, I’ve actually noticed that. This has been a huge game changer for us because it stops me in my tracks. Like sometimes you don’t see how you’re responding or reacting in a situation.

– And you’re just going yeah.

– And you’re kinda just going. So that moment you’ve come in with a different temperature than me, I immediately notice, it’s kind of jolting in a good way and so it can help me change for the better but I do wanna say that even though we’re talking about a spiritual leader being even-temperament I think it’s so important for wives to be as well.

– Right.

– I think that is is one of those two-part, you know, everybody plays a role in the family and setting that tone or that atmosphere is really crucial for the whole family but I do wanna read Proverbs 17:27. It says, whoever restrains his words has knowledge and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

– Yeah, so again. As a leader, we’re supposed to have understanding, we’re supposed to walk with our wives in an understanding way. And that cool spirit, it’s this idea that it’s like, you know everything’s, I’m stable.

– Be cool.

– And the way again, I go all the way back to what we talked about with Christ you know, and him being the catalyst for all this. Like because of Christ I can.

– Yeah.

– Because of the spirit I can. And I can have a cool spirit because I have Christ. And I have the Holy Spirit in me and it doesn’t mean that I’m perfect every moment of the day, but it does mean that I can walk in a stable and cool spirit and I should.

– Yeah.

– That should be the majority of my life. Right, and it just makes for like, our kids don’t feel crazy and I you know.

– The house is nicer and more peaceful.

– Yeah, peace that’s a good word is, that’s what it brings is peace to the home and to everyone’s hearts.

– Yeah.

– So, the next one is, a spiritual leader controls his tongue.

– This is a hard one. Tongue, James tells us that the tongue is a small flame that can set a mighty fire.

– Yeah, actually I’m gonna read James 1:26. Chapter three talks about taming the tongue.

– Yeah.

– But in James 1:26 it says, if anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

– So if we claim to be Godly men, and spiritual leaders then we need to learn to control our tongue and to think before we speak which is essentially what it is. I’m frustrated right now and what I wanna say is this. But I am not gonna say it, or I’m gonna find another way to say it. And that we control our tongue, otherwise we’re just gonna, man we’re gonna just, we’re gonna set a fire in our home that we can’t put out. So that controlling of the tongue is super important for a spiritual leader. It’s important for anyone.

– Yeah, and you know, we were talking about being an example, I think you know, you’re using your tongue and the words that you say, this is one of those areas where you really do set an example and you should be intentional about the words that you use. I just think about kids you know.

– Yeah.

– They literally will say anything that you say and they don’t really know the meaning or the impact but as they get older, they’ll learn it and so I think it’s really important that we just pay attention to what we’re saying, how we’re saying it is really important.

– Can I give one good example?

– Sure.

– Okay so this is not necessarily about like saying bad words but it’s about speaking incorrectly. Like the kinds of things that we say. So, I’m picky when it comes to food. Not picky as in I won’t eat anything but I like to talk about my food and so we’ll be eating and I’ll explain how I don’t like this or you know.

– Too much seasoning or not enough.

– And what happens is our kids start talking that way. Instead of us teaching them to be thankful and to just enjoy what they’re eating, they’re now critiquing mom’s meal. And you’re like, what I just made this? And so I’ve learned, I’m like man I have to actually be careful. If I say I don’t like this, or that’s gross. That my kids are hearing that and they’re thinking like oh, that’s how I’m gonna describe the things that I’m eating too.

– Yeah.

– And you used to say, I’m gonna talk about food again. You know, my wife loves sweets.

– Oh, I realized it though.

– So her, why do I, I realized here, I’m like we actually.

– Okay, this is what I used to say. I would say, hurry up and finish your dinner so you can have the good stuff and so what we realized was that the kids you know, were considering that the dessert was the good stuff and not their vegetables, not their meat and that was a skewed perspective of food.

– So we were training them what was good and what was bad by the way we were talking.

– Yeah, I didn’t realize it for a couple years.

– Yeah, so we need to have control over our tongues and recognize that the things we say have power and they have authority and that they can sway and change and train and so we need to recognize that.

– Yeah, and be intentional.

– Yeah, so you know, our tongues have the power of life and death, that’s what the Bible tells us and so we need to recognize that, and realize the power that they have, and we need to control them and learn how to control them and if we don’t have control over ’em, we need to not give ourselves excuses.

– And starting training.

– We need to start training and asking the Lord to change that in us.

– Okay, so the very last one is, a spiritual leader seeks after God and his kingdom.

– Yeah, like I said in the beginning, we’re not talking about spiritual leadership because of what I wanna get out of it, ’cause I wanna have the control, I wanna be in charge. No, our heart as spiritual leaders should be to seek God’s kingdom and his kingdom first and foremost and so the reason I’m trying to lead my family biblically is for the purposes of God’s kingdom. It’s for what he wants and what he desires and that’s what we’re doing as a family. That’s what I’m leading my kids to do so that when they grow up, they have the same desire to lead their families so that they can serve God in his kingdom.

– So why don’t you read Matthew 6:33.

– So Matthew 6:33 says this. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you and all the things that he’s talking about are food and clothing. Right, so he’s saying that we’re gonna, God’s gonna take care of you, and all the things that we as men, freak out about. Like how are we gonna pay the bills, how are we gonna, you know we need. And God’s like, no no no, seek first my kingdom.

– So how does a husband, how does a father seek his kingdom? Well I know his word as we talked about. I pray and I say, Lord what are you doing with my family? Where are you taking us, what’s your desire for me? I love you as Christ loves the church because again, we’re an example to the world, we’re a witness of his goodness and his Gospel and so when I’m loving you well, and people see that, we’re a witness to the world. And so just on a base level, like just by my family being managed well and loved well and growing well and maturing well and discipling well, I’m seeking his kingdom. When my kids go off and are Godly men and women, they are spreading the Gospel, I’m seeking his Kingdom. When I’m cherishing you and loving you and serving you and you can then pour out to younger women in our fellowship, we’re seeking his kingdom. That’s the basis of what we’re doing. It’s why our marriage exists, it’s why we exist, it’s why Christ saved us so that we could be used for his glory, so we could be parts of his body and his body is doing lots of awesome things in the world and so, you wanna be a spiritual leader, your heart should be not to seek your own kingdom and to build your own kingdom, but it should be to seek and build God’s kingdom. And so that’s the seven, those aren’t only seven but that’s the seven that we came up with just to give you a good starting place of what it looks like to be a spiritual leader. The traits that you should desire and ask God to give you more of and you know, I just, I wanna ask you. Are you wanting to be a spiritual leader? Are you wanting to build your family up in this way and lead your family in this way? Then you just, you need to ask God to start that in you today ’cause he desires it for you. He desires you to lead your family like that. I bet you anything your wife’s probably thinking, like oh I’d love that if my husband led me like that.

– Well I’d love to share my personal experience of having a spiritual leader. I feel secure in our relationship, in our home, I trust you. I trust the things that you say and where you’re taking us and what we’re doing and the businesses that we have and everything that you’re building up in our family and in our home, I trust you and I feel secure and I love it.

– Awesome, that’s our hearts for you guys. We thank you for being a part of this episode and we just pray that you guys would just take on the roles that God’s given you and that you guys would pursue being a marriage after God and that you would work for his kingdom. So we love you guys and we’ll see you next week. Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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