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 you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11
If you have been a father for a little while, I am sure you can remember the first time one of your children did something that was obviously…
How can I put this?
It shouldn’t be, but it is surprising.
It sounds horrible, but I can even remember thinking, ‘Oh no, is this the kind of person God gave me? Doesn’t she know that’s what she is doing is wrong?’
The truth is, actually, no, she doesn’t.
Children come out of the womb with a conscience. But they don’t come out of the womb wise. They are born fools. That’s why you are there. You have been placed in the family to teach them what God expects of them. Like a pastor, you have been given the responsibility of training your children in the Word of God. When Paul talks about how he was like a father to the Thessalonians he says he exhorted and encouraged and charged them to walk in a manner worthy of God.
Good fathers teach. They explain sound doctrine to their children. Good fathers exhort. They point out where children aren’t living according to the Word of God. Good fathers encourage. They help their children see where they are doing well. And, good fathers plead. They call on their children to live lives that match up with what they know to be true about God.
If you wonder how much this matters, listen to the writer of Proverbs.
In Proverbs 1:8 and 9, Solomon writes “Hear my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments to your neck.”
In other words, your instruction can help your children live honorable lives.
In Proverbs 2:1 he says, “If you will receive my words and treasure my commandments…” verse 5, “Then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God.”
Your instruction can help your children have a right relationship with God.
In Proverbs 3:1 he explains, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”
Your instruction can help your children live a prosperous and joyful life.
In Proverbs 4:20 and 21 he says, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings, do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body.”
Your instruction is literally, life for your children.
I am sure you would say you are concerned about your children’s long term good. But, if you are really concerned about your children living beautiful, healthy, joyful, good, God-honoring lives, you will make a priority out of teaching them wisdom. You can’t just say the church is to do that or my wife is to do that. No, you have a special responsibility to do that!
One of the simplest ways is to have a set time most every day where you sit down with your children and you have a time of family worship. On a regular basis, take time out of your day, to sit down with your family and work through a passage of Scripture, pray, and sing.
But really that’s just a start. What’s even more important is that you are pursuing a deeper understanding of God’s Word and how it applies to your lives and that you are growing in your love for the gospel as a father, to the point where you are making connections between the truth and your life all the time. And so, as you are in the car with your children or you are playing games with your children or you are with your children and someone is treating you poorly, you are constantly and in a loving gracious way helping your children learn to interpret what is happening to them from a biblical perspective.
This is a big part of why God’s placed you in the family.
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?
Make a commitment to have family devotions five times this week. Pick a time when you will sit down as a family to learn from God’s Word. Decide what you are going to do in your time together. Discuss your plan with your wife and get her input about how to do it more effectively. Then explain what you want to do with your family and show them why you believe this is important. And, finally, do it! Read God’s Word. Talk about the meaning and the application. Pray. Sing. Then, when you wake up the next day, repeat!