Family devotions is one topic I take issue with, because I don’t believe it has to look a certain way. Women make themselves unlovely nags when they force their men to do family devotions. My husband, for example, leads the children with his Bible one-on-one as character issues come up, and he occasionally gathers them to read the Bible, when God is leading him to. My husband walks by the Spirit and leads our family spiritually, and he does not do family devotions.
Forcing men to do something that God has not convicted them to do can actually have the opposite effect on families, causing the children to have a negative view of reading Scripture. Truly, the man needs to go to God and have a heart for it and not just be bullied by his wife. If the man wants to lead his family one-one-one instead of as a group, that’s his prerogative, and it’s way more effective anyway. He doesn’t have to do it the way the homeschool movement has dictated for him to do it. He is free. He can rise up and do his will, and if he submits his will to God, he will be doing it right no matter what it looks like. It should look different in every family. Hearts for God is what matters, not outward form.
Men have such a wide variety of personalities, and obedience to God yields joy, not an unnecessary heavy burden that is dreaded. (Although I have to say… spiritual disciplines are often difficult to establish as habits, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do them. For a man to lead his family spiritually is a command from God that when disobeyed, causes a family to have stunted spiritual growth.)
I would like to point out that no Scripture is ever mentioned to support men doing family devotions. It is always Puritans that are quoted, as if Puritans and Scripture were identical. They are not. The general population of men in Scripture weren’t even literate. When God said for men to teach their children constantly about the things of God, it was supposed to come from their souls. God wanted them to be men of character who loved their wives and children and shepherded them in the freedom of the Lord. Yes, it’s hard work and a man has to fight against slothfulness, but a man can lead his family spiritually without doing family devotions. He can use his God-given personality, and his wife will like it. His kids will like it. There will be joy. Let’s break out of this artificial constriction and yield ourselves to God and God alone.
That said, I would like to state that when our husbands are leading our families spiritually, it is highly attractive to us as wives. Yes, I said attractive. Every Christian woman that I’ve ever mentioned this to agrees with me. When I see my husband talking to my son with his Bible open, my heart skips a beat. Even during Bible study when my husband uses his spiritual gift, my soul is uplifted and is knit to his soul in a way that makes me hunger him. I can’t explain it, but for us women, intimacy is more than the physical; it always was. During courtship there was emotional romance, which helped us to be attracted, but there is a soul attraction that is deeper than emotion and yet encompasses emotion, too. If you can align spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy for a woman… wow is all I can say. ALL Christian marriages should be this way, incredible and beautiful.
When men take a more active role in leading their families spiritually, they are often awkward and blundering, but that vulnerability is highly appealing to a woman, just like vulnerability in a woman is appealing to a man. Better to start somewhere and blunder and do it “for the wrong reasons,” and then once they get going, they get better at it and God uses them more and more effectively. If obeying out of duty is something men are reluctant to do, perhaps this highly appealing reason might do the trick. Let me tell you, obeying God yields rewards that you never dreamed were possible. At its best, it involves the crucifixion of your will and putting God’s will above your own. But until men get there, they should be allowed to blunder. It’s better than nothing, and your family needs it.Tweet