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!
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name fo the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17
When I was younger many people loved Rubik’s cubes. I didn’t. To me, they were maddening. They look so simple. And the goal is obvious. Everybody knows what you want to do with a Rubik’s cube. But actually achieving that goal, now that’s where it gets hard. At least for me. In fact, I have to admit that in spite of the hours I spent playing with a Rubik’s cube as a kid, I never was actually able to do it. When it comes to Rubik’s cubes, there’s a difference between knowing what you want to happen and knowing how you are supposed to do it.
That’s also true for parenting.
It’s easy to understand that God wants for your children, but when you go up to your child’s room to wake them up from nap and you smell something and you notice that they took off their diaper and went around their room leaving their mark all over the place, or when you go into the kitchen and you discover that your son took out a pair of scissors and chopped off his sister’s hair, or when you go to the grocery store and your child gets so upset about not being allowed to have a twenty five cent ring that they throw such a loud temper tantrum in the grocery store that the manager has to help you carry them out to the car, or when you ask your teenager to take out the trash and you receive a sarcastic reply about how he’s the only one who has to do any work around the house, now, that’s where it gets tricky.
Because parenting is complicated it helps to step back and think about the big picture. Knowing what to do as a parent begins with knowing why you are doing it.
Some people are self-centered parents. If you are a self-centered parent, ultimately, you do what you do for you. You are the main person you are thinking about. When your child does something you don’t like, you freak out. Son, you are making me late! Daughter, I can’t believe you messed with my things!
Other people are child-centered parents. If you are a child-centered parent, ultimately, you do what you do for your children. Now these kinds of parents are often incredibly sacrificial. They amaze me! Their lives revolve around their children. Whatever their child wants, they get.
As Christians, Paul gives us another motivation for our behavior, however. We need to do what we do for Christ. Before Paul talks about parenting in Colossians 3:20 and 21, he exhorts believers in verse 17, “…whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…”
In other words, whatever you do, do as a representative of Christ. That’s got to be your main priority as a Christian parent. You parent for Christ. Instead of being a self-centered parent or a child-centered parent, strive to be a Christ-centered parent. Do what you do for Christ.
As a Christian father, you are a person under authority. In the end it’s not about what you want, or even what your child wants, it is about what Jesus wants. You may have a laid back personality, and it wouldn’t bother you if your children ever listened to a word you say, or you may be an authority freak and when you say jump you want your children to say how high. Ultimately though as a parent your personality is not the primary issue, because, it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. He is Lord over your family and what He wants is more important than what you want. You act as his representative and understanding that must dominate everything you do. When you go to instruct your children, discipline your children or comfort your children, you have got to do so remembering that you are acting on behalf of Christ.
Take Time to Reflect:
1. What is motivating you to do what you do as a father on daily basis? Be honest! What proof is there in your life that you really are motivated by what you say you is motivating you?
2. What do you think it means to parent as a representative of Christ? What do you think your children are learning about Jesus from the way you relate to them on a daily basis?
If the most important person in your family is Jesus, you are going to want your children to know that. Sit down with your family and read Colossians 3:17. Ask them what they think it means to do everything in the name of Jesus and then explain to them what that means specifically for the way you think about being a father.