So I missed the boat on posting this by Father’s Day, and you’ve probably already read a ton of blog posts on this topic because last Sunday was Father’s Day, but guess what? It’s important to remember these guidelines year-round; not just on Father’s Day. Wouldn’t you agree?!
Anyway, bare with me and read along on a redundant topic, but one that is well-worth the attention.
What does it mean to be a Godly Father?
I’m sure when asked we would all say things like “going to church” and “praying for our families.” But it is so much more than that.
In a society full of darkness and a culture where it is deemed “the norm” to have single mother households, we need the men of this world to step up, take responsibility, and be the anchor their family so desperately needs.
Just to State Some Facts:
According to the 2014 U.S. Census, 23.6% of U.S. children (17.4 million) lived in father-absent homes. Of those children, the ones living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in the homes of married couple families. Families need fathers. Mothers need additional moral, financial, and physical support. Children need their fathers too. Did you know adolescents from father-absent homes were 3.5 times more likely to experience pregnancy by the age of nineteen than were adolescents from father-present homes. Moreover, the rate of pregnancy among adolescents from father-absent homes was 17.4% compared to only a 4% percent rate in the general adolescent population. There are plenty of additional statistics out there that are available to research further and the numbers do not lie. Fathers are SO important to a family.
What Does the Bible Say about being a Godly Father?
God has designed fathers to be the leader in their marriage and in their household. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ; the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” This establishes the order of authority within the home and sets boundaries for your children to follow as well.
As a child growing up in the South, my house was riddled with old country sayings like “Waste not, want not” and “Do as I say; not as I do.” But children have to see a Godly example in their fathers (Matthew 23:3). Children learn by example so the only way to teach them is to show them through your words and actions.
Children view their fathers are leaders and follow their example. They need somewhere to root their identity (Deuteronomy 6:6-8). In this passage, the Lord tells fathers to pass down the word of God through the next generations so their family’s identity will be centered in the Lord.
Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 that men who are lazy and refuse to work should not be allowed to eat. You have to be able to provide for yourself and your family.
Most fathers want what is best for their children, but in many cases, your children will take a different path than the one you would have chosen for them. They may not have the profession you would like for them to have, they may not think college is their next step post-high school, they may not ever have children, or whatever else you think they may need to do, but they are living their life and you must love your child unconditionally as Christ has loved you. Do you think you have always stayed on the path your Heavenly Father wanted you to be on (or your earthly father for that matter)? We all stray and we all have different ways of doing things, but a father’s love is SO very important. Think back to the story of the prodigal son. When the son returned, the father did not judge the son or force him to earn back his favor, love, and approval. He simply embraced him and threw a celebratory party for him (Luke 15:20-24). Why? Because he was his son and he loved him despite all that had happened.
You must love the mother of your children as much as you love yourself (Ephesians 5:25-29). Showing your children you love their mother, whether it be through grand gestures, or simple nuances, you are teaching your sons how they should treat their wives and teaching your daughters how their future husbands should treat them. You are setting the bar for the kind of person your child will end up with later in life. Do not take this responsibility lightly.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Ephesians 6:4 echoes the Proverbs passage, saying, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” It is not good enough just to make children go to church, say their prayers, and learn Bible verses. Those things ought to be part of the training process; however, we don’t come to know Jesus or grow in Him simply by going through the motions of “church” or “religion” or whatever you want to call it. The issue as a father is teaching a child to love the Lord as they model their own love for Him.
In order to show your children Christ through your words and actions, you first have to spend time with them. Be involved in their lives. Take time out of your day to read with them, play with them, ask them questions, etc. Giving your child your time demonstrates your love for them. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Another important one that is very controversial among parents everywhere is disciplining your children. Even our heavenly father disciplines those sons whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6), and the fact that a father is willing to discipline his children demonstrates love. Young children need to know their boundaries as it makes them feel secure. As kids grow older, they must see that they don’t run the home and that Biblical principles will be followed in the home. Discipline reinforces these realities through imposing consequences. But it must be evident to the children when they are being disciplined that the father’s love for them has not changed. Discipline is never aligned with wrath because it is kindness that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Discipline is simply another expression of love (Deuteronomy 8:1-6, Hebrews 12:6).
So to sum it up, a Godly Father should love God, love others, teach their children the right ways in Christ, work hard in everything he does, discipline his children when they do wrong, and love them always-despite their wrongdoings. In doing so, you will be a great example of a Godly Father to your kids. Know that no one is perfect. You will stumble. You will lose your temper. You will say a cuss word when you drop something on your toe. You will do wrong, but through the wrong, know how to show your kids how to correct the wrong (i.e. ask them for forgiveness when you lose your temper or ask them to pray with you when you are having a rough day, etc.). Use everything as a teaching moment to bring your kids closer in their walk with Christ.