I want to talk specifically to men this Father’s Day about what I’m calling “The Declaration of a Kingdom Man.” A Kingdom man is a male who has made the decision to operate consistently under the governance of God and under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
We live in a day when choices have to be made. When you look at what’s happening all around us—the chaos, the confusion, the lack of clarity, and the voices coming at us from all different directions—it is time for men to make a choice. And Isaiah 3:25 makes it clear that when men don’t choose correctly, they become weak and fall on the sword.
That’s why I love two verses in Joshua chapter 24, where Joshua makes a declaration: “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15, NASB 1995).
Joshua is concerned that the people who have left Egypt still have a little Egypt in them. And this Egypt that has stuck with them will give them the propensity to want the benefits of God’s promises without submission and service to God.
Let’s look at Joshua’s declaration. First of all, it is a personal declaration. He says, “As for me.” This decision cannot be made by somebody else for you as a father, as a man or as a husband. You’ve got to make the decision. You’ve got to decide, “This is how I roll. This is where I’m coming from. I am first of all a follower of Jesus Christ. My first allegiance is to the God of the Bible, His way, His Word, His wisdom, His will.” As for me.
Then Joshua broadens it: “And my house.” He takes responsibility for his family. He doesn’t ask, “Do y’all agree with me?” No, he makes a declaration. Why? Because in the Bible, the father was held responsible by God for the direction of his family. “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” the Bible says. He doesn’t ever say, “I am the God of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel.” Not because women aren’t critical and strategic; they absolutely are. But the one who was held accountable and responsible was the man.
A Kingdom man accepts responsibility under God. He’s under authority; that’s why he’s in authority. He’s not some autonomous person out there floating in never-never land. He says, “As for me and my house.”
Have you made that declaration to your wife and children? Not only in word, but visibly? Does your wife have to wake you up to go to church, because you want to sleep in and send her and the children? That means you aren’t being responsible for the spiritual leadership. Does she always have to lead in prayer and devotions? You say, “But she knows more than me.” That’s got nothing to do with leadership.
Leadership has to do with the position you take and the post you hold, so that you clearly say, “I represent God for the covering of this house.” Unless a man lets God cover him, he can’t properly cover his loved ones.
Also notice that Joshua said, “As for me and my house,” not “As for me and the neighborhood.” The neighbors don’t control what happens in this house. Your school chums don’t control it. Our kids would often come home and say, “But my friend said—”
“Hold it, hold it,” I would respond. “If what your friends want to say and think disagrees with God, then let me guide you in love and kindness—not in vitriol, but in clarity: As for me and my house, we don’t go that way. We don’t do those things. We don’t use profanity in this house because this is God’s house. We don’t allow that programming in this house. We represent God in this home.” Why? Because we want to be covered by God in this family.
Finally, Joshua went public with his declaration. He was determined to serve the Lord, even though he didn’t know what other people were going to do. He says, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, you can choose who you want to serve, but let me tell you what I’m going to do.”
We need men with some spiritual backbone who love themselves properly, who love their families, and who love the world in which they live, but are inextricably clear: “Y’all may not want to go where I’m going. My race may not want to go where I’m going. My culture may not want to go where I’m going. But let me tell you where I’m going, whether you agree with me or not. ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’”
We need men to go public for their Christian faith. We’ve got some big issues before us, and the best way to resolve these issues is to have godly men taking their place and speaking about what God says about racial injustice, what God says about order, what God says about healing wounds, what God says about how we relate to other people, what God says about the role of government. Because guess what? God has something to say about all of it. He has not left any issue that we’re struggling with void of divine illumination. We need men who will lovingly and caringly do what a good quarterback has to do—be willing to take a hit.
You see, there’s a culture out there that doesn’t want men of God to succeed. They don’t buy a Biblical frame of reference. They don’t buy God’s point of view. A quarterback has to understand that while our goal is to move forward, there will be resistance. And that’s why you need God—for yourself, your family, and to make a difference for healing and unity and justice and righteousness in a broken world.
Joshua got the people to make a covenant. We see that in Joshua 24:25. Maybe you’ve made bad choices with regard to your own life and direction. Perhaps you’ve walked away from your role as a husband and father, and you’ve failed. Well, I’ve got good news for you. God gives covenantal renewal. He provides men the opportunity to get back in alignment with Him. You go to God and you repent. You say, “God, I failed as a husband. I failed as a father. I failed as a man. But today, as for me and—to whatever level I can, given my situation—my house, we will serve the Lord. And I’ll make sure that I go public, that people know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.”
That’s the kind of men and fathers God is looking for. ©2022 The Urban Alternative
Adapted by permission from a sermon preached by Tony Evans at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas on Father’s Day 2020.
Tony Evans is senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and founder and president of The Urban Alternative.
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Evans