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!
“But that is not the way you learned Christ – assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
As a young man, I was always looking for the one sport I would be good at without much effort.
It’s been many years now and I still haven’t found it.
Unfortunately, some of us are like that when it comes to being a father. We want to be good fathers. We just don’t want to work at it.
If you are a Christian you know that kind of attitude is foolish.
Being a father is too important not to work at. Besides, you won’t be a good Christian father unless you do. You have to work hard at becoming a better father because being a Christian father is not something any of us are naturally good at.
Now, I know that might surprise you a little.
You might naturally be good at getting along with your family. You might even be good at having fun with your children. But there’s much more to being a Christian father than simply having your family like you. After all, there are plenty of unbelievers whose children adore them.
As a Christian father, your primary goal is bigger.
You want to glorify God by applying what you believe to the way you actually parent, and doing that requires work. It has to! Otherwise, the apostle Paul could have finished the book of Ephesians at chapter 3, having described all the different things God’s done for believers in Christ. But he didn’t. Instead, he goes on to give many different commands in chapter 4 and following. And all his commands require making the effort to apply the gospel you believe to the way you actually live.
For Paul, this is Christianity 101.
When you became a Christian, you learned Christ! And what did you learn? You learned that being a Christian requires putting off the old self and putting on the new.
There was a way of thinking and living that characterized your life when your understanding was darkened and your heart was hard. You might call that the old self. And, obviously, when you became a Christian, you turned from that. And yet, those patterns go deep. They are hard to shake. And as a result, you constantly have to be putting off attitudes and behaviors that don’t match up with the gospel, and putting on, those that do.
Which takes work!
It doesn’t just come naturally.
As a father, you have to go back to the gospel, make sure you know what you believe, think through the implications those truths have on the way you care for your children, and practice thinking and speaking in ways that line up with the gospel you’ve embraced.
That’s the basic process, really, for growing as a dad.
If you are a Christian, there’s no question, you can become a godly father. The question is however, are you willing to work?
Take Time to Reflect:
- What does it look like to be a spiritually lazy father?
2. What are ways you are working on becoming a more godly father to your children? What specifically have you been putting off and been trying to put on? And why?
Sit down with your wife and let her know that you want the way you act in the home to match up with what you say you believe. Ask her to identify one way you could improve in doing so. Then pray together that God will give you the strength to change.