Leading my children by example

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

Sometime last year I made a commitment to try to read the Bible every day. It doesn't always happen, but I try. When I first started, for the sake of focus and privacy, I used to remove myself from my family and lock myself up in my office or the bedroom or something to avoid interruption and things like that.

At some point, I heard or read something that convicted me of the fact that by doing that, I was never letting my family see what I was doing. While my wife knew, my boys (now six and two years old) almost certainly did not know what I was doing. God reminded me that this was not what I needed to be doing if I wanted to lead them by example. So I made a change.

No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. - Luke 11:33

I started forcing myself to try to focus despite distractions and interruption, and I started reading my Bible in the living room in the mornings, right there with both boys running around, watching cartoons, eating breakfast, getting ready for school, whatever they were doing in the busy-ness of our morning schedule.

That seems to have rubbed off.

This morning, with both boys sitting on the love seat watching cartoons, I sat down on the end of the couch in the corner, under a lamp, where I couldn't see the TV and started to read my Bible. I was reading in James 1 and 2. I love those chapters, and I'm certainly getting a lot out of reading it, but by far the most impactful part of my reading this morning was this:

As I was reading, my 6 year old, Phoenix, stopped watching the cartoon and walked across the room, climbed up on his toy box and reached up on the mantle and grabbed his Bible from where I had left it after reading it with him yesterday. He walked over and sat down next to me as I read and started flipping through his Bible quietly as I read, and as soon as he could see that I was done with what I was reading, he asked me to read a page to him (he's still learning to read himself...not totally there yet).

I literally almost cried. It was a powerful lesson for me in leading my family by example, and having patience in obedience to God. While I've been doing this for several months now, this is the first time he's done that. I was so proud...and thankful to Jesus.

Another thing I did as well was I stopped using my phone and/or iPad for this devotional time, and went back to using my "old fashioned", leather-backed Bible. While I love my YouVersion and ESV Bible apps on my devices, if I'm using those my kids would probably think I was just reading twitter or something. My ole leather-back is much more recognizable to them for this time.