But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. -Joshua 24:15
I’ve know the last sentence of Joshua 24:15 for most of my life. I didn’t always know the exact Bible reference, but I’ve known this was mentioned in the Bible since I was an small child. More importantly, I’ve known since my first abilities to comprehend that my grandparents served the Lord.
You see, as a child and even teenager, I spend almost every weekend with my grandparents. And every Sunday morning that I was there, they took me to church.
The Sunday morning routine went something like this… My granddad would be up early and off to the local Bojangles to have a biscuit and coffee with his buddies. I never heard him refer to them as such, but I have a strong suspicion these were his accountability partners. While he was away, my grandmother would attempt to get me out of bed and ready for church. She was just simply too gentle and soft-spoken to shake me from the bed.
But that wasn’t true of my granddad. Granddad was a large man, 6’2” and 225lbs. I could hear him as he returned home from his time with his buddies. He would enter through the back door and stroll through the kitchen. I could hear him talking with my grandmother as he entered, but I couldn’t make out exactly what they were saying. Though what always happened next gives a real good context clue to their conversation.
My granddad would enter my bedroom by pushing the door open with one hand and holding the edge of the door with that hand. Then taking the other very large hand, palm spread wide, he would slap the door a few times. Following the shock and awe of that entrance would come the quote from Joshua. My granddad would belt out the quote “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. And with that, he would reach down and snatch me from the bed.
Now, true to the loving manner of great grandparents, granddad always followed this routine in a very loving manner. It wasn’t impatience or frustration led him to be so abrupt at getting me out of bed. It was his recognition of the simple reality that I wasn’t going to move on my own, thus he moved me.
Through that morning routine and many other characteristics I witnessed in my grandparents, I was never confused as to the reality that as for them and their house, they would serve the Lord.
So how do we, as men, as spiritual leaders, make it equally clear to our families that we will serve the Lord? Sure, we could establish a routine much like my granddad’s Sunday morning routine. But as I mentioned, I witnessed service to Jesus in so many other ways in the lives of my grandparents that the Sunday morning routine was really just a statement of the obvious.
To answer the question of how, I will offer the statement that we must practice what we profess. The most common form of this statement includes practicing what we preach, but I don’t like that statement because it let’s too many men off the hook. I mean, not every man is a preacher, thus they think they don’t preach (the notion we don’t preach is a topic for another article). However, when we say that we must practice what we profess, then we are all equally committed to the need to practice. Profession that Christ is our Lord and Savior mandates that we practice Christlikeness.
This notion of practicing what we profess reminds me of a quote that I read a few years back. This quote still haunts me to this day. Terry Johnson in his book, The Family Worship Book, offers this quote. “Parents either practice what they preach or become the surest means of sending their children to hell yet devised by man or the devil.” What a sobering statement!
So, aren’t we still left with the question of how? Great, I need to practice what I profess. But how?
Well, let’s focus on what characteristics we need to practice in our lives. You can find a great list of these characteristics in Galatians 5:22,23. These characteristics are referred to as the fruit of the Spirit. Practicing these characteristics in our lives will certainly communicate to our family that we serve the Lord.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22,23
Ok, granted you may still be asking how. Great, now I know to practice what I profess and that means to practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. But how? We guys are always craving clarity and step-by-step instructions. Trouble is, how you practice these characteristics in your own life can’t be boiled down into a bullet list – how is different for each of us.
I hope every reader and listener of the podcast will offer suggestions on how you practice the fruit of the Spirit in your own life. Certainly your experience in practicing the fruit of the Spirit will help someone do likewise. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Additional Show Notes:
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Be sure to check out the podcast for the new “Connecting the Dots with the Kids” segment where I feature one of our children in the podcast.