Men, fatherhood is one of the greatest calls on our lives.
Mat 6:9 Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name…
Our God is a Father – and we see His nature revealed as a Dad.
Many people struggle to relate to God as their Father – perhaps because there has been such a breakdown in the role of fathers in so many ways in our society. For many people the word ‘father’ carries negative connotations.
It seems most Dads love their kids and enjoy being dads. But being a father isn’t always easy, especially with the frequent demand today to work under pressure for long hours, often leaving them with very little time and energy to spend with their children. Marriage breakups and careers which require a lot of travelling can also often mean that fathers may be absent from much of family life.
From the time of the very first family, we see dysfunction kicking in as a result of sin. The long term effect – destruction of families. Men, we need to contend for our families, our marriages, our children and our grandchildren! Our greatest investment is in our future generations.
If we take notice of many of those precious moments our kids give us, we can see how much of their behaviour is actually an imitation of our own. My two year old, Houston, wants to do everything like his Daddy – quite a daunting thought! Having worked for some years as a Youth Pastor I have also often observed strong parallels between many young people’s relationships with God and those of their parents. Faith in God tends to be ‘caught’ rather than taught.
The Bible gives a few of illustrations of the challenges of fatherhood.
It wasn’t too long after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden that their two firstborn sons argued until one murdered the other out of jealousy and resentment.
David neglected to firmly discipline his young son Absalom. Absalom grew up with a root of bitterness and disloyalty against David which saw him initially criticising his father and triggering rumours about him, and eventually mounting a full scale revolt against David and leading a campaign to end his father’s life. Yet through all this, David loved his son unconditionally.
Often problems in a marriage relationship will bear fruit in the following generation – the children.
This is why we can’t really talk about fathering without looking at the health of the marriage (although I do understand that this situation doesn’t apply to some.) Married men – take the time to invest in your marriage – the need for that didn’t finish with your wedding! It has been said that ‘the best thing you can do for your kids is to love your wife!’
Malachi 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
God wants us to have a heart for our children, even if our jobs are demanding. Spend time focussing on your children – this may require putting down the phone, shutting the laptop, or turning off the TV.
As men we can also be a fatherly influence to others in the church, especially to those who have a need in this area of their lives. (Paul called Timothy ‘ a true son in the faith’).
I Tim 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
Timothy urges the men to be proactive in the area of holiness. Having an active connection with God feeds into every area of your life – and especially your relationship with your wife and children! Learn to put God and His House first. Don’t make your wife have to drag you to church!
Men, you are the leaders of your household, whether you realise it or not! Take the spiritual leadership of your family seriously. Statistics indicate that kids will have a far greater likelihood of continuing to attend church as they grow into adults if their fathers are regular (not sporadic) church attendees.
There’s even evidence that suggests that the single largest factor which determines how a child thinks of God is how they regard their father.
Take note, all fathers – our children take more notice of what their parents do (and what we don’t do) than of anyone else – more than we might think.