Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

An Honest Look Into Our Family Devotions

An example of what our family devotions do NOT look like.

Okay, men. Let’s talk family devotions. Feel guilty yet?

There are few ways to make Christian men feel guilty more easily or quickly than to talk about family devotions. We all know we should be doing it. We see the importance of being the spiritual leaders in our home. We all know that as fathers we bear the primary responsibility for bringing our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. And we know that family devotions is the most practical way most of us can regularly and deliberately do this.

We know that. But most of us fail. And those of you who don’t fail, just know that you’re despised by the rest of us, okay?

One of the reasons why we fail, I think, is because we experience the typical male disease of thinking we have to have everything planned out and that we have to carry out all the details of our plans to perfection. I know sometimes my desire to have all my “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed has paralyzed me from taking any action — which is pretty much the worst case scenario. What I’ve found over the past little while to be most helpful and most effective is this: Just do something! Profound, right? Do something and don’t worry if it’s not perfect.

Here’s an honest look at our family devotions from tonight (and yes, this is a verbatim transcription):

Me: (Reading Proverbs 10) A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Susie (my 4 year old): Daddy, I know something!

Me: (Excited! She is interacting with the Word!) What is it, Sue?

Susie: Carrots are vegetables!

Me: *Audible sigh…* (Thinking: Man, you’re good at this Bible teaching thing… are you a professional?)

So, as you can see, we are a wonderful example of not doing things perfectly. I don’t always have anything good to say. Our kids don’t always listen. Sometimes I wonder if they’re even getting anything out of it.

But here’s the thing. Whether or not they get anything out of that particular night, I hope that they are blessed by the cumulative effect. I hope that win, lose, or die trying, my kids will see that their parents love them enough to open up the word to them consistently, deliberately, intentionally, and lovingly. I hope that they see that because we treasure them so much we must take them to the truth we treasure most — and we must do it consistently. I hope that as they age the composite image of their parents that they are left with is Christians who love them and who love the word of God. I hope that they see our life is found in this book, which tells us of him who is True Life.

So, men, how about some family devotions? You don’t have to do them perfectly or even perfectly consistently. But are you at least doing something?

5 Comments

  1. Julian,

    Thank you so much for this encouragement. It's hard to persevere when my family devotions look like this and then I read of a guy whose five year old just finished reading Pilgrim's Progress and is about to start reading Calvin's Institutes.

    • Julian

      26 July, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      Chris,

      I couldn't agree more! Funny enough, the people whose children do so well seem to be more eager to talk about family devotions than those of us who struggle. That can actually lead to the (mis)perception that everyone is doing well and I'm the only one who isn't a daddy-Spurgeon. That's why I wanted to write. I'm the furthest thing from perfect, but God's grace abounds in weakness!

      Press on, brother!

  2. Julian

    26 July, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Louis,

    I'm just glad she didn't say that carrots were fruits — then I would've had to figure out whether or not I should correct her!

  3. I have to say … our family devotions were almost non-existent at times until some kind soul hooked me up with an advance copy of "Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=&l=as2&o=1&a=1935273817&camp=217145&creative=399369&quot; width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />
    ".

    Our kids love it (4 & 6 yrs old), and we probably use it 6 out of 7 days a week.

    We also have established a firm rule (that does require reminding) that once bible time starts, all other topics are forbidden. No asking for milk/juice/cereal until after we're done.

    I highly recommend the book, and I want to note that it's not necessary to do all the props, etc., that are suggested. Just read the scripture and the couple of paragraphs from the book, then ask the questions. You still get those face-palm moments, but because of the nature of the study you will be encouraged by how the kids build on each lesson over time.

  4. Julian

    28 July, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I've heard good things about that book. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Ry!

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