I have been working on a little devotional for fathers and thought I might share some of it with you from time to time. I know I need it!
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” Ephesians 3:14-15
It is easier to learn how to do something well when you have had a good example.
The problem is, when it comes to being a father, many men feel like that’s what they’re missing. Maybe they didn’t have a father. Maybe the father they had, didn’t really know how to be one.
That’s difficult. It’s not the way it should be. If you didn’t have a godly father, you can grieve for that. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t be one. Regardless of what kind of human father you had, if you are a believer, you have an amazing heavenly Father. And, you can learn from Him how to be a father if you just take the time to open your Bibles and look.
In Ephesians 3:14–15, Paul prays, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” The Greek word for Father is actually pater. The word translated family is patria. It describes people who descended from one common patriarch, or father. To help us get a sense of the significance of what Paul’s saying about God, we might translate this phrase, “the Father from whom all fatherhood is named.”
Think about that.
The writers of Scripture didn’t call God Father because they looked at human fathers and thought they provided a good illustration of what God is like. Instead, they called God Father, because He is a Father. He is the first Father. He is the ultimate Father. This means, if you want to know what it means to be a father, you have to begin, by looking at what God is like.
He defines Fatherhood.
Which is encouraging, because God is a very good father.
When Jesus explains what the Father is like, He goes to great lengths to stress that He is generous. One place you see that generosity is in His relationship with the Son. As Jesus explains, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” (John 3:34) But, you also see that generosity, in His relationship with you. Think of all the Father’s given. He gives you life (Acts 17:26), He gives you the Spirit (Luke 9:13), and He gave you Jesus (John 3:16;1 John 4:8,9). And it’s this gift, according to the apostle Paul, that should give you great confidence as you look to the future (Romans 8:32). If He’s given you His Son, you can be sure, He’s going to give you help as you seek to serve your children. He is not stingy or unkind. He has a long history of giving and loves to help those who come humbly asking. Your Father will help you father.
But, looking to God as Father is not only encouraging. It is also challenging. If God shows you what it means to be a father, that means being a father is much bigger than just having a child. Human fatherhood should be patterned after God’s fatherhood. Through His example, you learn how to be a father.
And as you follow His example as a father, you help your children learn what it means to call God Father, as well.
Take a moment to reflect:
- What kind of Father is God?
- If your children were to use your example as their idea of what God the Father is like, what kind of Father do you think they would say He is?
If one of the primary characteristics of God as Father is His generosity, our children should see a generous spirit in us. A generous spirit of course, refers to more than just giving money. It has to do with time, encouragement, and even one’s attitude as well. Make a plan to proactively give something to your children today without expecting anything in return.