Many of us may not be fathers, but we all know of fathers — at the very least, our own.
In an ideal world, our fathers would be a positive figure in our lives. Yet, there are many cases where they’ve not been what they were meant to be.
The rise of modern ideologies that denigrate fatherhood and the natural family structure has only made this issue worse. Nevertheless, fathers remain an undeniable sociological and biological reality. Christians understand that fathers exist, not by accident but by design.
From the very beginning, God created mankind as men and women who constituted the original family. We were created in God’s image — which is to say, we were made to reflect God in this world. Fathers, by extension, are meant to display and reflect God and His glory.
Fathers, by extension, are meant to display and reflect God and His glory
With Father’s Day just gone by, I want to encourage those who are fathers — or on the road to becoming fathers (God willing) — with a few reminders.
Fathers, model the qualities you would like to see in your families.
From our earliest memories, our parents have always been our role models and, for many of us, there is no greater superhero than our dads. As heads of their homes, dads are in a unique position to instruct their families in the right way. Fathers can display to their families what the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) looks like by modelling it. It’s easy to talk about qualities, but it makes all the difference when we put our words into actions. By doing so, we teach our families what it looks like to be a godly man or woman of God (Proverbs 23:26). Few things are more damaging to a family as a father who does not fulfil the leadership role God designed him for.
Fathers, take time to be present and enjoy your family.
Nothing tells your family about your genuine interest and love for them like being there for them. There is more bonding and relationship-building in doing fun activities with your kids, spending time with their mother, going on road trips and just having fun together than in anything else you can think of. The impressions and bonds you create will build trust and a richer, multi-faceted love that flourishes long past the memories.
Few things are more damaging to a family as a father who does not fulfil the leadership role God designed him for
Fathers, point your family to Christ.
Set out a time with your family to sing, read Scripture, talk about what you’ve read, and pray together (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Ephesians 6:4). No matter how small or insignificant you think it is, the habitual practice of pointing your family to Christ will inculcate a Christ-centeredness in your family’s conversations and thinking (Matthew 6:19-24).
Fathers, love your family like Christ loved His church.
Love your family sacrificially. Display to your family what being a Christ-follower looks like. Not just in the abstract, but in the practical everyday. Love your wife and make sure your kids know it. Show your children what forgiveness and repentance looks like in relationships. Be honest about your faults — Christ was sinless, but there is much to be said for dads who can be transparent about when they fall short, as they seek to emulate Him. In everything you do, make it your sole aim to glorify Christ (1 Peter 4:11) who loved His church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).
Finally, fathers, look to God who is the perfect Father.
This may well be the most important point for fathers everywhere to remember.
Fathers are sinners as well and we must never forget that despite the many times we may be hurt by our dads, or the times we fail as fathers ourselves, the only comfort we have is that our God is our perfect Father. He remains our only steadfast source of comfort because, ultimately, everyone else will fail us.
Fathers are not a special category of holy people, but are just like all other children of His grace. As children, we have the freedom to run to God when we are in trouble or have failed again in our duty as fathers, for God is able to grant even more grace (James 4:6). He has promised to answer our prayers, as we confess our every sin (1 John 1:9).
In our weakness and imperfection, we can, therefore, look to the perfect Father, who gives strength and blessings to all who come to Him. Our heavenly Father not only comforts His children, but gives protection and defends those who have been deprived of fathers, the widowed and the orphaned (Deuteronomy 10:18).
Jesus, in His time of trials, turned to God the Father and taught His disciples to do likewise. In a small way, when human fathers display the characteristics of a good father, they are, in fact, imaging the perfect Father. Let us remain steadfast in our calling, seeking to remove those habits or sins that prevent us from being good and godly fathers.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
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