“I will walk in my house in the integrity of my heart.”
A Message to Fathers
Matthew 5:48: “You must be perfect--just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
How can we fathers do the best job possible in raising our children? Christian fathers have a high standard to live up to given that they (as all Christians) are admonished to act as their Father in heaven acts towards them. Let us take some time now to talk about how our Father acts towards us, so as to spotlight the standard of how we fathers need to act towards our children.
Matthew 6:25-28 - “This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn't life worth more than food? And isn't the body worth more than clothes?”
Our Father tells us not to worry about clothing and other necessary items that we need in life. So we need to provide our children with food and clothes. We don’t have to spoil them with an overabundance of things, but enough to be adequately provided for, just as our Heavenly Father provides for our needs (not our wants).
Looking out for their interest
Matthew 7:11 - “How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
This verse implies that our Father knows what we have need of and is ready to give it when help is requested by His children. As fathers, we need to study each of our children in order to know what they need in advance of their requests. Only then will fathers be ready to give good things to their children in a timely and wise manner.
Luke 6:36 - “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.”
Sometimes we tend to talk down to our children, especially when the pressures of life are coming to a boil. Our Father in heaven does not treat us this way. We find abundant Grace to help in time of need. Our children should believe that they can approach us with the same confidence in which we approach the throne of grace.
Luke 15:20-22 - “…He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him. ‘Father,' the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.' But the father called to his servants. ‘Hurry,' he said, ‘bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.’”
We have here the classic response as to how fathers should treat their children when they repent of their sins. No lectures, no rebukes, no “I told you so!” Our Father’s attitude is first compassion, then acceptance in action -- He runs -- towards us. Then He embraces us with His whole heart, not just with partial acceptance. No suspicion of future failures! He also is in a hurry to complete the reconciliation between His long lost son and Himself. He provides him with the very best clothing. How much more could He do?
We must have this same attitude when our children stray. In order to carry this out, there must be great anticipation of a return from sin. Why else would the father of the parable run to meet him? His heart is obviously with his son, even when the load of sin stands between them. As fathers, do we have this same attitude towards our children?
John 15:2 - “He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit.”
Just as our Father corrects and guides us in the way that we should go, so fathers should not be afraid to prune the unfruitful twigs that a child grows. It must be done, but with utmost care and loving thought, so as not to damage the entire branch.
1 Peter 1:17 - “You call him Father, when you pray to God, who judges all people by the same standard (impartial), according to what each one has done; so then, spend the rest of your lives here on earth in reverence for him.”
Too often fathers treat their children as better than all other children. Their children can do no wrong. This is not a reflection of our Father above. He judges all by the same standard whether they are His children or not. Fathers must show their children that there is only one standard of right to live by. It is this standard that shows them consistency in life and that all others are of equal importance. Otherwise, pride will go before the fall. This is often seen at sporting events in which children participate; parents are often partial in their judgments and do not reflect our Father’s single standard of judgment.
Matthew 5:37 - “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No;’ anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Perhaps the most important trait a Father can show is consistency. Children must know that their father’s responses will be the same over time. If a response is one thing one day and another the next, how can children trust their father’s judgment? Our Father is never changing. We know exactly what we can expect because His word does not return unto Him void. As fathers, we must reflect our Father’s consistency as well. Nothing is more important to a child’s development than having a father whose guidance and direction doesn’t change with the blowing of this world’s winds. A word of caution: If we find we have made a wrong decision, we should not be hesitant to say we were wrong, explain why, and apologize.
Being a godly father is not easy. But it is one of the most important roles in bringing our children to an understanding of their real Father in heaven. We must be role models of Him. What better witness to our children than how we act and who we are. Words that are inconsistent with actions tell our children that we really don’t believe our Father’s Words. We need to show them by example how to live a godly life, rather than preach them sermons that do not agree with how we live.