How Men Should Lead their Families-Part 2

By Peter Moore

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged (Col 3:1921).

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 6 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 5:25-33Eph 6:4).

Contrary to feminist beliefs, men are needed in the home and in their families.

In Part 1, I wrote about a Christian man’s vital role as God’s representative in the family. Today I will address his responsibilities to love, discipline, protect, serve, encourage, inspire, pray for, and lead his family. A man should be a “gentle warrior” for his family, rather than a passive, weak and popular dad (Beeke, P23). It all starts by loving our wives, just as Christ loved the Church:

  1. Love your wife and the mother of your children. Remember “Happy wife, happy life”! Both are clichés, but true ones: the best way for you to love your children is to love their mother. That is Paul’s main command to husbands (Col 3:19). And then, just to answer the question of how to do this, the Apostle Paul adds, “as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph 5:25Col 3:19). So, brother in Christ, love your wife. Sacrifice and provide for her, cherish her, just as you love your own body. Give up your own comforts for her.

Joel Beeke fleshes out a husband’s love in concrete terms,

“Give her your thoughts, your time, your talk, your tenderness, and your touch—but make sure you touch her heart before you touch her body. Stop measuring out your love in small handfuls according to what she has done for you lately. Start pouring out your love by the bucket according to the infinite riches of Christ’s love for you.”

2. Be actively involved in each child’s life, and never have favourites. Remember, children spell love as TIME, and that doesn’t mean only ‘quality’ time. It’s everyday involvement that matters, like your presence beside the sport’s field and beside their sick bed. Lay down your life for each member of your family– even when they’re teenagers and no longer shower you with love and adoration! You’ll be richly rewarded at a future date!

3. Discipline your children, and never have favourites in this either. Remember the root word for discipline is also “disciple”. So, disciple your children with honour, consistency, prayerful humility, and self-control, never in anger or vindictiveness. All discipline should be surrounded in love, just as God disciplines His children in love (Heb 12:6).

4. Protect. I often joke with my daughters and say, “You can have your first date when you turn 30!” But they get the picture: I’m very protective, because I want them to have the best life with a godly spouse. Defending your family in the 21st century might well involve fighting, with great wisdom, the foreign godless ideologies being introduced into their schools, even “Christian” schools and churches. I’m convinced that if a father is a warrior for his family, he will raise young men and women who are better equipped to stand up to peer pressure and to stand by their own convictions.

5. Serve. Your service can be in society at large (on your children’s school PTA or sports’ team), in your local church, and in your family. When they see that Dad is not above serving, they see what a Christian man really is. One day your girls will be looking for a man as a husband. Have your children seen a godly example in their home, or someone who expects to be served by others? And remember, the counterintuitive reality is that, as you serve, you often receive more benefits than you bestow on others (Acts 20:35). I can personally attest to this.

6. Encourage. I suppose the opposite of encouragement is to exasperate, criticise, provoke, embitter and shame your children, leading them to believe that they are a disappointment to you and will never amount to anything worthwhile. This is why Paul repeatedly warns his readers who are fathers (Col 3:21 & Eph 6:4), not to exasperate or discourage their children. It is obviously a dangerous tendency that fathers have. It is vital to repent immediately if we find ourselves exasperating our children, as this harshness will have devastating consequences on our families.

7. Inspire. Inspire your family by setting the bar high, rather than pulling your children down with discouragement. We often hear people say, “You can be anything you really want to be”, but we all know that is patently untrue. Opportunities and gifting differ tremendously, so it’s not loving to puff up our children with pride. However, we can inspire our children to be all that God has made them to be. So, the goal is not to try and make your children the same as you (“Johnny must be an engineer because Dad is an engineer”), or to hope that they choose an ‘impressive’ career, but rather to help them discover their gifting and inclination. Undoubtedly, where the grace and truth of the gospel permeates a society and a family, both men and women experience true opportunity and personal freedom to flourish.

Just one warning: in a continent where education is seen as the route out of poverty, it is dangerous to think that academic education is everything. The last thing you want to raise is a godless, rich, materialistic professional. Keep the end in mind: the end goal is a godly, productive family that, under God, produces godly productive people, who produce godly, productive families that replicate themselves.

8. Pray. One of the great privileges we have as Christians is to talk to our heavenly Father. Yes, He is ruling the universe, but He is also Immanuel, God with us (Matt 1:23). He has explicitly encouraged us to pray continuously, (1 Thes 5:17) because he cares for us (1 Pet 5:7) and loves us (Gal 2:20). This includes intercessory prayer.

So, pray for yourself, your wife and your children constantly and in all circumstances. Implore God to be working in their lives, even when they might seem far away from him. Remember, He is the good Father who finds lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), lost coins (Luke 15:8-10) and lost children (Luke 15:11-32). When your children grow up and increasingly go out into the world, and your face-to-face time with them wanes, your prayers can still go with them, because God is there. He hears and acts graciously on their behalf.

9. Lastly Lead. Yes lead, whatever our culture says about men taking the back seat and trashing our masculinity. Leading is active, rather than passive. Leading means setting the direction and priorities of your family. It means navigating the road ahead with energy, strength, conviction, courage and kindness. This is what God has designed men to do for their families and it is one of the main reasons for our God-given masculinity, which is different from a woman’s femininity.

For fathers, the greatest temptation is to be absent, either by leaving your family and your responsibilities, or being present in the family physically, but absent emotionally and in everyday responsibilities: “I’m so tired. Please don’t bother me. I’ve got more important things to do.” These excuses are just abdication, similar to Adam’s abdication when Eve was engaging with the serpent. Although leadership can take many shapes to accommodate you and your wife’s character, gifting and jobs, nothing justifies abdicating your God-given role as leader of your home. Christ, the Great Shepherd himself, will hold us responsible for how we led, fed and watched over the families under our care (1 Peter 5:2-4).

Leading does not mean that you have to be a lone ranger, making all the decisions and ruling like a tyrant. However, it does mean that you take responsibility for your family– spiritually, financially, and physically. A Christian marriage is not a power struggle between a husband and a wife for dominance, the patriarchy versus the matriarchy. The power struggle has already been resolved when the husband and wife both submit to God as the Lord of their home, and each undertakes to serve each other and the family in the way that God has outlined in His Word: Equal but different. It is not even a 50:50 job. It’s a 100%:100% responsibility, where each spouse works under the Lord to do what he/she has been called to do.

At the end of the day, my greatest ambition as a man, a father and a husband is for my family to say:

“We did not have a perfect Dad / husband, but we had a godly one, who served his family and pointed us to Christ. That is why we love the Lord Jesus and want to follow Him too.”

To do this in our culture, we need to be courageous.


Beeke, Joel. How Men Should lead their Families. Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids. 2014.

How Men Should Lead their Families

By Peter Moore

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deut 6:1-9).

I was recently told by a woman, who runs a number of women’s Bible studies, that the one pervasive “wish” of the participants was that their husbands would lead their families, instead of just watching. This got me thinking, because the participants are by-and-large highly qualified, competent women in their own right. Maybe the often-discussed topic of men being absent in the home applies not only to men who are physically absent, but also to those who are at home, but as non-participant passengers?

So, why should men lead their families?

It is so that God would be honoured and our families and society blessed.

And how should men lead their families?

By demonstrating in thought, word and deed, that Jesus Christ is the Lord of their home.

That sounds well and good. Most Christians would agree with those two answers. But what does it mean in practice for men to lead their families? We’ll start with the person who will give you the most problem in your life. You!

  1. You need to be Christlike. Christianity starts from the inside and works itself out. That’s why Jesus talked about being born again (Jn 3:3), because the problem starts from the inside (Mk 7:21-23). Therefore, men who lead their families must first learn to walk in the fear of the Lord (Prov 9:10), not in the fear of man. Before you encourage others to honour Christ, make sure that you yourself are honouring Christ (Rom 2:3). If there’s one thing that those close to you will pick up over time, it is hypocrisy. They will not follow a leader with two faces– one for the public and another for home.
  2. Be constantly learning, as you sit under God’s Word and grow as a Christian. We are all works in progress.
  3. Teach your family (Deut 6:7-9). Every circumstance is a teaching opportunity. God does that with us in Creation, special revelation of His Word, and in our hearts (Ps 19). Because the final authority in the home is the Lord, the final authority is His Word. Now that’s not saying that every circumstance is an opportunity for you to jump into the pulpit and preach a sermon, but every struggle and every good gift is an opportunity to be God’s mouthpiece and His ambassador. We are not to be passive observers of our families, but active teachers.

What exactly should we be teaching our children? Firstly, don’t despair. There are many good resources online with the best teaching available on almost every subject, so you’re not man alone. For example, as a family, you could do a series of podcasts or Bible studies together, and I’ve listed a few that we’ve enjoyed with our teenage kids in the resources below.

Here are some essential subjects for a father’s curriculum:

  • God made your children in His image (Gen 1:26) and He did so fearfully and wonderfully (Ps 139:14). This means that their bodies are gifts from God, so they must treat their bodies with honour and respect the God-given boundaries of their sexuality. Do not leave that education to their school or peers.
  • Teach your children that it is from His Word that we derive understanding of our identity (Gen 1:27); the purpose for how we should live in this world (Gen 1:28); the problem with the world (Rom 3:23); the solution for the world (2 Cor 5:18) and where we go when we die (1 Cor 15:50-57).
  • We are rebels against God (Eph 2:1-3).
  • Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6), the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God (1 Pet 3:18).
  • We need to repent of our sins and trust in the saving work of Christ to have peace with God (Rom 5:1). Note that this is very different from the notion that Christ’s job is to make our children happier, richer, healthier, less lonely and more fulfilled. Some, or all, may be by-products of being a Christian, but they are not the motivating force.
  • Our children need to know that God, as our Father in heaven, not only walks alongside us, but actually indwells us by His Holy Spirit (Col 1:27). He alone can be trusted to care for us and lead us (Ps 23).
  • God and His promises (Eph 3:6), both for this world and eternity, are true and reliable because God is God (omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite, eternal, just, good, truthful and wise) and therefore able to deliver on His promises to His children.
  • Teach them that all of life is “spiritual” and should be lived for our joy and His glory. Talk about God and His goodness (Deut 6:7), and the need for a coherent Biblical worldview on every subject under the sun. In other words, let your family know that your faith is for all of life, and that all of life is worship. They cannot separate their spiritual lives from what they think, do and say in their everyday lives.
  1. Be involved in a life group, so that your children can see the gift of Christian community up close and personal.
  2. Let your family know that regular attendance at church to fellowship with God’s people and learn from His word, is an absolute priority. I know that for most in our busy culture, Sunday is “me” time, and schools are increasingly arranging sport time on a Sunday, so you’ll need to establish priorities and boundaries quickly.
  3. Have regular personal and family prayer and Bible study time and encourage everyone in your family to have their own quiet times with the Lord. Apart from your family seeing that you humble yourself and sit under the authority of God and His Word, they’ll also have a great example to follow.
  4. Have godly friends for you and your family. In an increasingly secular world, it is important that your family does not think that being a Christian family is weird and isolationist. In our family, some of the greatest Christian influences for our children comes from their grandparents in their 80’s, aunts, uncles, life group members and Christians who eat meals with us, go on holiday with us, and stay in our home from time to time.
  5. Fellowship as a family by doing fun things together. Establish patterns and a framework for your children to use as they set out and form their own unique families one day. What are these patterns? All the things I’ve mentioned above, as well as things like special meals around a table, family holidays and traditions. In our family, we had a pattern of movie nights and a ‘blessing’ dinner every Friday, as well as sleeping in a tent in the garden! Although I didn’t always feel like making the effort, our kids still talk about these memories as the highlights of growing up. Whatever your unique patterns, make it a goal to create a warm caring environment where your children and their friends love being in your home and with your family. Good food always helps!
  6. Sacrifice. Be a true shepherd (John 10:12-13). Leading means loving your family sacrificially, as Christ loves the church, of which you are a part. Clearly, you can’t atone for your family as Christ atones for each of His children, but you can seek to mirror the way that Christ provides and looks after you, and His Church. Your family must know that you are as ambitious for the well-being (especially spiritual) of each member of the family, as you are for your own career and personal wellbeing.

In closing, I must admit that in the last twenty-six years, sometimes the great responsibility of being God’s representative in the home has felt daunting, especially during the teenage years and when work pressures have been great. I’ve sometimes wondered if I could ever live up to such a high calling. It’s easy to give up, not only because we, as men, feel inadequate as spiritual leaders in our homes, but also because our society is constantly portraying masculinity as obsolete and toxic. There is very little encouragement or practical wisdom offered to men these days on how to harness their God-given masculinity to be godly, consistent leaders at home, which probably explains why Jordan Peterson has such a large following of young men. That’s why I will end with this encouraging quote and prayer by Joel Beeke for Christian men:

“God is not setting us up to fail as husbands and fathers. He gives us the marvelous grace of being his assistants in teaching our families. Instead of throwing in the towel because of our inadequacies, we should come before God in prayer:


I am a sinful human, but Lord, help me confess my sin, my inconsistent walk, my ignorance of the Bible, and my failure to evangelize my children. Let me be grieved by these failures, turn to you for grace to realise my covenantal responsibilities, and take refuge in you, leaning on your covenant promises and looking to Jesus, your Son as my model, guide and my strength.” In Christ’s great name, Amen.

Listen to this song by Andrew Peterson. It describes a father’s heart for his son as he sets out on his own.
“Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on, boy, whatever you do
To the hope that’s taken hold of you
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way…
Back home.”

Some useful resources:

Beeke, J. How Men Should lead their Families. Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids. 2014.
The Fuel Project— YouTube podcast by Mark (eg, Trench, The War on Truth, The Reason for Pain, Secrets of Joy).
Explore Bible App, the Good Book Company (Bible studies on every book of the Bible, with questions and answers)
Truth for Life app. Alistair Begg’s daily 15 minute sermons.
Answers in Genesis YouTube podcasts.

Ten Signposts to Aging Graciously

Part 2– Aging Graciously, By Rosie Moore.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16).

If Paul’s words are true, it’s a pity that Christians are often no better prepared for old age than unbelievers. Because of this, despondency, stubbornness, self-centredness and pride sometimes mark elderly believers, instead of being renewed inwardly by the humble and selfless attitudes of Christ.

In my last devotion, we looked at Caleb, a faithful sword-wielding octogenarian who continued to trust God in his last years. I commented that Caleb was reaping the harvest of a faithful life, as age is no obstacle to serving the Lord. Caleb’s faith and longing for the promised land only burned brighter in his old age.

However, it would be remiss and unbalanced to gloss over the very real challenges of aging, as if we can defy the effects of entropy on our bodies and minds. Eventually Caleb would have replaced his sword with a walking stick and taken up his spiritual inheritance in heaven, as every saint will do.

An unhealthy obsession.

But our culture seems obsessed with disguising and delaying the process of decay. It’s spawned a lucrative anti-aging industry, based on false promises of eternal youth. At best, the solutions are skin deep.

I was amazed to see the results of a quick Google search for the word ‘wrinkles:’ The first site offered toning devices, sculpting tools, masks, beauty rollers, microneedling, serum infusers, botox and even Madonna’s skin rejuvenator set, (as if we are all aspiring to grow old like her!) The world offers endless expensive solutions to the problem of ‘wasting away,’ but the sad thing is that none are ultimately effective against the problem of decay and death.

Even more amazing is how many nuggets of wisdom on aging I found when I scoured the Bible. These nuggets are far more profound and realistic than the internet’s solutions. Here are ten Biblical signposts to aging graciously that apply to every Christian:

  1. Accept aging as a process of loss.

Aging is a series of losses which we need to accept without losing heart. Humour is a good antidote against losing heart about these losses.

In Jay Adams’s book, Wrinkled but not Ruined, the author comments on 2 Cor 4:16:

“We usually think of decay as something that occurs after death, but Paul—ever the realist—spells it out for what it is…the outer person is already decaying! There is no disguising of the fact; the Bible puts it like it is.”

This inevitable process of loss is illustrated by King Solomon’s witty sketches of old age in Ecclesiastes:

Remember your Creator
    in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
    and the years approach when you will say,
    “I find no pleasure in them”—
before the sun and the light
    and the moon and the stars grow dark,
    and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
    and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
    and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
    and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
    but all their songs grow faint;
when people are afraid of heights
    and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
    and the grasshopper drags itself along
    and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
    and mourners go about the streets.

Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
    and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Eccl 12:1-7)

According to Solomon, despite our best attempts to keep the old man out, he will eventually kick the door down, along with his cavalcade of losses: Loss of stamina, work, senses, money, independence, mobility, friends, home, community, health and life itself. The reality is that our bodies are subject to the curse of Genesis 3.

Although Christians should steward our bodies responsibly, we must also resist the urge to obsess about our bodies as the world does. It only leads to restlessness and fear of dying, which are the enemies of peace and joy.

Instead, we can entrust our losses to God’s providence. We can be confident that our best years are yet to come on the day that “the spirit returns to God who gave it” and there’s no longer any curse (Eccl 12:7Rev 22:1-5).

  1. Live as if old age is an honourable gift from the Lord.

Old age is not a time of disappointment or disgrace. Nor is it a useless waiting room to the afterlife. A man or woman who understands history; knows the good way to live, and passes on godly wisdom to the next generation, is a real blessing to society, even if their wisdom is learned from their mistakes. The Bible bestows honour on the elderly:

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness (Prov 16:31).

The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old (Prov 20:29).

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’ (Jer 6:16).

  1.  Believe that God is faithful to sustain his elderly saints.

God’s Word is truer than your feelings or frailties. Do not doubt the Lord’s promises to sustain  you as you grow older:

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isa 46:3-4).

 Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants” (Ps 116:15).

  1. Use your experience to witness about God’s goodness!

Young people will often be willing to listen to grandparents rather than their own parents or peers, as they respect the life experience of the elderly. As an older person, look out for unique opportunities to witness about God’s faithfulness to you, as the Bible instructs us.

“Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come” (Ps 71:17-18)

 “One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts” (Ps 145:4).

  1. Make the most of today!

The Bible tells us that longing for the good old days and brooding on past mistakes is not wise or helpful. Live in the present and enjoy the gifts and opportunities that God has given you now.

“Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions” (Eccl 7:10).

  1. Plan ahead, don’t worry ahead!

As you plan for change, classify your concerns into three categories:

  1. Things you can do something about right now.
  2. Things you can do something about
  3. Things you can’t do anything about at all.

Commit all three categories to the Lord with thankful, joyful, trusting prayer.

Refuse to invent worst case scenarios for the future (Phil 4:4-8).

Keep in mind biblical principles for planning ahead:

“In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps (Prov 16:9)

 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but victory rests with the Lord (Prov 21:31).

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5-6).

  1. Do not excuse sin on account of age!

We’re never too old to repent! No matter how old we are, it is sinful to live and make decisions with no concern for how our actions affect others. An elderly saint should not be demanding, entitled, grumpy or difficult to help, because Jesus died for our selfish ambition and vain conceit.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Phil 2:3-4).

 Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Phil 2:14).

  1. Pilgrims travel light!

As we prepare for old age, we should shed undue attachment to worldly possessions and focus on our heavenly citizenship. Randy Alcorn asks this challenging question:

“Five minutes after I die, what will I wish I would have given away while I still had the chance? Why not give it away now?” (The Treasure Principle, p53, 81).

(Phil 3:201 Peter 2:11Matt 6:19-21).

Those who know they are heaven-bound will forsake false expectations common to old age, such as:

“As I grow older my children and grandchildren will give me everything I need…I’ll always be able to serve in the way I have always served…I’ll always be strong and capable.” Even well-intentioned expectations can lead to bitterness, discontent and idolatry.

Jesus is enough for the journey!  Only in Christ will we learn to be content in all and every circumstance, as Paul was (Phil 4:12-13).

  1. Don’t drift!

Discouragement, despair and depression are often triggered by ungodly introspection and boredom. The Apostles show us how to replace unhealthy introspection with selfless activity, attitudes and intercessory prayer.

For example, older women in the church are to teach younger women to be godly, to love their husbands and children, and be productive in their homes (Titus 2:3-5).

As elderly believers, Paul, Peter and John are our role models. They did not withdraw into themselves and become emotionally detached as they grew older. No, they continued to love, encourage, mentor, pray for and write letters to other believers, right up to their deaths.

In his sixties, this is what Paul wrote to encourage Timothy, a much younger disciple:

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service” (1Tim 1:12).

“…night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim 1:3-4).

Paul invested deeply and personally in the lives of others and the local church until his death.

10. Abide in Jesus!

“Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4-7).

These were some of Christ’s summative words to his disciples before he left his earthly body. Abiding in Christ means allowing his Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections” (Sinclair Ferguson).

Abiding in Christ is the secret of our life, sustenance, beauty and fruitfulness. Cut off from Christ, we will wither and die no matter what age we are.

Although ‘abiding’ is active and intentional, I’m grateful that it doesn’t require youthful stamina and busyness! As an older person, ‘abiding’ means that we preach the gospel to ourselves day-by-day. We soak up Scripture and respond to Christ’s words (John 15:7). We pray and live in community with other Christians.

And even if we lose our faculties and our minds, we depend on the Holy Spirit to bring us closer to Jesus (Rom 8:26).

JC Ryle equates abiding in Christ with constant communion:

“To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with him—to be always leaning on him, resting on him, pouring out our hearts to him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best friend.”

This world is not all there is! It will surely pass away along with our mortal bodies. But our Lord is faithful and sovereign to keep us to the end. He is working out his plan regardless of our age and frailties. For this reason, Christians enjoy a life-giving communion with the Lord that will never fade with age.

Actually, as our own strength and vigour fade, Christ’s presence and power shine brighter (2 Cor 12:9) as we become more dependent on Him for everything. Faith, hope and love should increase in us year-by-year, as we become more aware of God’s grace to us in Jesus. Is this your experience as you prepare to grow old in Christ? It’s the key to ageing graciously.

Sources and further reading:

  1. Jay Adams, Wrinkled But Not Ruined.
  2. Elyse Fitzpatrick, The Afternoon of Life.
  3. Jay Adams, Shepherding God’s Flock.
  4. JC Ryle, Ryle’s Expository Thoughts—John.