A young Podcast listener recently wrote, “My dad is so self-absorbed that he doesn't notice that we are dying spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. He acts like we are an inconvenience, and is very disrespectful to my mother. At church, he says all the right things, but at home he's yelling, gone, or too tired to spend any time with us. I just want my dad back.” 

We are in desperate need of genuine leadership—broken, humble men—men who are not afraid to admit that they need God; men who are more worried about prayer than about status and recognition; men who petition God rather than position themselves.

The state of the family today is disheartening. Men have largely forsaken their God-given role as spiritual leaders in their homes…that, no one can deny. Many know more about their favorite athletes than their wives and children. They’d rather be seen leaving a bar than leaving a church.

To carry the weight of responsibility as husbands, leaders, and fathers we must obey the word of God not just quote it; we must live it out at home rather than appear "spiritual" at church. Unmistakably, the foundation of obedience that we build today provides the strength that weathers the storm tomorrow. It’s unfortunate that today’s society focuses largely on external factors such as money, position, status, and recognition. These superficial values have left our nation in a moral, as well as a spiritual crisis. We’ve become a society focused on prosperity instead of provision, we value wealth instead of wisdom and we are drawn to charisma instead of character.

Our foundation as a nation, and as individuals, has slowly deteriorated, but that can be changed if we once again focus on God’s word and His call to obedience: "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). This Scripture is not popular, but it is powerful. Although many pulpits are silent in regard to turning from sin, God's word is crystal clear.

Men, you’re not called to be a passive, weak, indecisive partner—you’re called to protect, lead, and guard your family. You are to initiate prayer, defend your wife, shepherd your children, and make your home a holy sanctuary not a breeding ground for Satan. You’re called to fight the enemy, not flee from him. I’m tired of weak, passive men who never contend, stand, or fight for anything worth dying for. Our nation is looking for character, our wives are looking for leaders, and our kids are looking for fathers. Men, stop the silly video games, minimize time on Facebook, kill your porn habit, and tell your ungodly friends to hit the road. You’re called to lead, love, and die, if necessary, for your family. We are the reason that the nation is deteriorating. We are the reason the family is breaking down. We must stop blaming everything from God to the government; we are the stench in the nostrils of a righteous, holy, and pure God. Men…wake up! Life is a battleground, not a playground!

I can hear it now, “Shane, you’re being too hard on the guys.” In my opinion, just the opposite is true. Most men do not need to be encouraged and coddled; they need to be confronted and challenged…then they can be encouraged.

One problem in the American church is that we always encourage but rarely challenge; coddle but not confront; laugh but rarely weep. An African pastor was asked, “Why is there so much counseling in the American church but not in the African church?” He answered, “In America, you counsel. In Africa, we repent.” Repentance leads to restoration; it is our only hope.

Many years ago, I stumbled across a journal entry from my wife that broke my heart, but first I felt betrayed and angry. She wrote, “I married a man who doesn’t care about my dreams and goals in life. I’ve learned to live with this since separation isn’t an option, but I will not allow him to do this to our kids.”

I was very angry because the truth hurts. But I began to realize that she was absolutely correct. I was a controlling man with no regard for the dreams, ambitions, and goals of my family. Granted, I was not mean-spirited about their dreams, but I was controlling.

I’m embarrassed that I use to think things like, “That’s stupid, immature, and ridiculous; why would you want to do that?” I felt terrible and asked for forgiveness. I realized that I was breaking the spirit of my family; controlling and manipulating because of pride, and how things would make me look. That experience was a turning point—I now encourage my family verses discourage their dreams. God often uses confrontation and exposure to break us.

While dads jockey for position, build reputations, chase careers, and so on, it is often mothers who pray, nurture, care for, and lead. Granted, there are men who, through no fault of their own, experience failure in their home, but for the large majority, there is a critical need for spiritual leadership. Repentance is the first step. Knowledge is “knowing” that we need to repent, but wisdom is “doing” it.

The power of the word of God is found in the application. James 1:22 reminds us that we can deceive ourselves if we “know” what to do but fail to do it. Are you living in deception…knowing but not doing? You can change that today.


Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship, in Lancaster, Ca. His sermons, books, articles, and radio program have sparked change in the lives of many. He can be reached at www.wcfav.org.