What Father’s Do
By Pastor J.D. Link
1John 3:1a says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” The name “Father” is powerful and holy. It is the very name by which we are instructed to address and relate to our Creator, our God. We are to pray, “Our Father”. “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” – Billy Graham. Our society is seriously lacking the respect and honor it once had for fathers. Dads like those portrayed on The Rifleman, The Andy Griffith Show, Little House on the Prairie, My Three Sons, etc.; have been replaced with Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, & Frank Barone (You can tell I haven’t watched TV in a while). Rude, lazy, & clueless seems to be the idea of fathers today – and our society suffers for it.
The world cries out for good father’s today. A Godly Man – a Godly father – has become the exception in our day, rather than the rule. But why? I suppose there is more than one answer, but could much of the reason be because fathers don’t know The Book? Because they are not students of God’s Holy Word? They are not disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ? I believe this is true, because God is our Heavenly Father, and to be a godly father, is to be like Him. And in order to be like Him, we must know Him; and we only will know Him through knowing His Word. If every father knew and obeyed God’s Word, much of the world’s problems would be solved overnight. That may seem like an overstatement, but I don’t believe it is.
So what are Fathers to do? Fathers are to give instruction (Prv 1:8, 4:1, 13:1, 15:5). They are to teach their children primarily God’s Word (Dt 11:18-21). For a father to consistently instruct his children in God’s Word, he must first know it himself. Bringing a child to church for an hour on Sunday is not enough. They are bombarded with worldly philosophy all week, so God’s philosophy must be taught all week. A family altar is the best investment of time a father can make. Time with the family everyday to read God’s Word, discuss it, sing unto The Lord, and pray together.
Fathers make the rules (Prv 6:20). There should be no debate about the rules of the house; no debate about whether or not we’re going to church; no debate about what is expected from children. Make the rules, in line with God’s Word, and enforce them.
Fathers correct (Prv 3:12, Heb 12:6, Rev 3:19). All three of these verse speak of two things: Love & Discipline. They go hand in hand. If you love your child, you discipline your child. If you hate your child, then you don’t. It’s that simple. “A Man’s children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season.” A father provokes his child to wrath, if he does not bring him up in the instruction and warning of the Lord (Eph 6:4).
Fathers rejoice in their children when they do well (Prv 15:20, 23:24, 29:3). Raise your child to be wise in God’s Word, and you will rejoice in him later. He won’t be perfect, just like you’re not perfect – but he will reflect God’s ways and character. Fathers also don’t burn bridges or close their hearts to their wayward children. They look for him constantly to come to his senses, and runs to him with open arms when he does (Lk 15:20). That is how our Heavenly Father loves, and we are to do the same. “Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.”
“Blessed is the man that hears many small voices call him father!” (Ps 127:3-5). Children are a blessing from God. Perhaps your father was cruel, physically abusive, or abandoned you. That is not your fault. That is his weakness; his lack of being a real man – a godly man. Forgive him. Let go of the bitterness and hate. Turn him over to God to be dealt with. Let God heal your broken heart. Ask Him – He will do it. At the same time, you can’t blame your father for your sorry life and all of your bad decisions today. God is your true Father (Isa 64:8). He is a Father to the fatherless (Ps 68:5). Give your life to Jesus, and be adopted by the best Dad in the universe (Gal 4:4-7)! Make no more excuses. You are not destined to failure. That is a lie. Call on your Heavenly Father.
“What Is A Dad? A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall, but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes, but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail…” – Unknown. “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” Believe in your children. Bless them, challenge them, encourage them. This is what God does – this should be what we do. To all the godly fathers out there, I say “Thank you”. Keep pressing forward. Don’t give up. It’s not hopeless – and you’re not helpless. God’s grace is sufficient! Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!