Dads: Day Eleven

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!

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

I’ll always remember when I first became a parent. Partly, I guess, because, we had been waiting and praying for that moment, for so long. 

We were told we weren’t going to be able to have children. But, obviously, we wanted children! And so, we were praying God would enable us to have children. When we first found out my wife was going to have a baby, we were so excited. 

Those nine months couldn’t go fast enough. Those nine months felt like nine years. And, it was especially long, because, Marda went way past her due date. It felt like our daughter McKenna would never come out. We were trying everything we could to start the process, and even when it finally did get started, it was a really long labor, 36 hours.

And so, obviously, we were really excited when it was over and we were finally holding our baby in our arms. I remember looking at her and thinking, this is amazing! That was one feeling, I had. It’s such a miracle. Being a parent is this huge, incredible privilege, and you are looking down at this baby in your arms, and thanking God, and feeling all this joy and amazement, and, yet, at the same time,  after all that waiting and all that excitement, I also remember feeling a little overwhelmed as well. 

Excited and overwhelmed. 

Because, while, being a parent is this huge privilege, obviously, it’s also, this tremendous responsibility. And so as you are looking down at this little baby thanking God, you are also, sort of thinking, what do I do now? 

What am I supposed to do? 

I wonder if you ever thought, what is my responsibility as a father? 

What is a dad supposed to do? 

I think that’s a really good question to ask.  For one thing, because there’s a lot to do.  There are so many thing to do as fathers, we have to know, what’s most important for us to focus on? What’s non-negotiable? What are we primarily supposed to do? 

And we need help knowing that, honestly.  Because there are a lot of opinions out there about what father’s do. The world has an opinion, for sure. Our friends have an opinion. “This is what you are supposed to do. This is what is important.” But what does God want us to do as parents? 

That’s what matters. What does God want us to do? Mainly? Primarily? 

Fortunately, that’s a question the Bible answers. And when the Bible answers that question, it’s pretty clear that as a father one of our primary responsibilities is to TEACH our children. Fathers are teachers. 

For example listen to probably the classic Old Testament text on parenting. If you were going to choose one Old Testament passage on parenting, it probably would be Deuteronomy 6:6,7 where Moses says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Emphasis on teach. 

Or how about the New Testament? What is the most important New Testament passage on parenting?  One of the most important would be Ephesians 6:4, where Paul says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

And discipline and instruction. Those words have to do with education. Specifically, spiritual education. As fathers, we have a responsibility to educate our child in God’s perspective on their lives and this world.  

In other words, our job is to teach them wisdom.

Take Time to Reflect:

  1. If one of your primary responsibilities as a father is to teach your family, how are you doing? What specific efforts have you made this last week to help your children learn wisdom?
  2. It’s difficult to teach what you don’t know. What steps are you taking to grow in your knowledge of God? What have you been learning recently? How have you been changing?

Practical Suggestion:

You will only be a good teacher if you are a good learner. You have made a good start by working through this devotional. But what next? Make a plan for how you are going to continue to spend time in God’s Word after you finish this book. Write your plan down. Share it with your wife. Ask her to hold you accountable to spending time growing in your knowledge of God’s Word. 

 

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