A Father Like God
By Pastor J.D. Link
Psa 103:8-12 says, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (9) He will not always contend: neither will he keep his anger forever. (10) He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (11) For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (12) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
One of the greatest honors a man can ever receive in this life is to be called “father”, for it is the very name by which God Himself is called. Think of it: that a father bears the same title as Almighty God. This does not make him God, of course; but it does show the honor of which that name should receive. A father should be God-like, for the entire and perfect picture of what a father should be is within the Heavenly Father Himself. “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters”, said George Herbert. This is the infinitely important role of the father.
Though no earthly father could ever be perfect as God is perfect; yet to be as the Heavenly Father is the high and noble ideal of which all earthly fathers should strive for. We learn how to be proper fathers by reading God’s Word and seeking to emulate Him in our role as a father.
A Godly father has mercy on his children (Ps 103:13-14). He understands his own issues and imperfections, and does not expect his children to be perfect, since he is not himself. This does not mean he casually excuses misbehavior, nor his own shortcomings; but it does mean he deals compassionately and patiently with his children, since he himself needs God’s grace and mercy as well as they do.
A godly father forgives his children (Lk 15:20). He doesn’t harbor unforgiveness towards his children, nor shuts them out of his life. This does not mean he compromises the rules of his house, or that he approves of certain behaviors; but it means he doesn’t hold grudges, and he always leaves open a door of reconciliation. When a child repents, a father runs to meet him and embrace him.
A godly father disciplines his children (Prv 3:12, 13:24, Rev 3:19). This discipline is rooted in love, not hate; nor to demonstrate power. It is not to be abusive nor humiliating. Loving discipline is to correct and teach the right way, save the child’s soul and set the child on the right path. If a father truly loves his children, he will discipline them.
A godly father provides for his family (Mt 7:9-11, 1 Tim 5:8). It is the father’s duty and privilege to provide for the needs of his family. A father who refuses to work is worse than an unbeliever. He is no man at all, but an overgrown boy whose poor wife becomes his mother. With the title of father comes the responsibility of providing. I have worked two jobs at times in my life, and on some occasions three. A man simply does what is necessary to take care of his family. This doesn’t mean he must work himself to death providing every material desire his family might want; but only that he provides what they need.
A godly father protects his family (Neh 4:14). While this certainly includes physically protecting them from harm; it doesn’t stop there. A father must protect his family from lies and the vain philosophy of the world. He protects his children’s hearts and minds. He should monitor where they go; who they hang around; their phones, texts, laptops, movie and TV viewing, ect. I’m not speaking of being a suffocating, overbearing tyrant; but simply being involved with their child’s life in order to guide and direct them into truth and protect them from harm.
A godly father loves his children’s mother (Eph 5:25). To carry, bear, nurse and care for your children is no small matter. To love her and treat her well teaches boys how they ought to treat their wives, and girls how they ought to be treated. It also instills security and comfort in the child’s heart, which gives them confidence. God’s ultimate purpose and plan is for children to be raised in a home where momma and daddy truly love and care for each other.
A godly father teaches his children (Prv 4:1-4, Ps 71:17-18, 78:4-7, Dt 11:18-20, Eph 6:4, Col 3:21). This applies to the practical and spiritual. A father should teach his kids basic skills, how to live and function in society. He should prepare them for life. Most importantly, he should teach them God’s Word and ways. His aim should be the salvation of their soul, and success in their spiritual life.
A father does not have to be a Theologian to do this. A family altar can alter a family. A family that prays together stays together. Simply sit down together on a regular basis and pray, read a chapter of the Bible, and discuss how to apply it to your life. If you don’t know where to start, go to Proverbs, the book of wisdom.
This is not an exhaustive list, but some basic guidelines to being the fathers God intended us to be. By applying these simple things to your family life, we can walk in the blessedness God intended for the family. Fathers, make the declaration, “ … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh 24:15); then take the steps to make that happen. Selah.