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!
“…be filled with the Spirit…” Ephesians 5:18
I am sure you have all kinds of questions about being a father.
How do I get my children to obey me? What do I do when they act out at the grocery store? Is there any way to stop my child from crying when I tell him no?
While there are many different questions people ask about being a father, I have never had anyone ask me the one question that I believe is most important: what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?
One of the most important passages in Scripture on parenting is found in Ephesians 6. It’s an especially helpful passage because Paul speaks very simply and directly about God’s design for parents and for children. But, if you are going to understand what Paul says about being a godly father in Ephesians 6 you can’t actually begin with what he says there about being a godly parent.
For one thing, because Paul doesn’t begin there himself. Before he writes Ephesians 6, he wrote Ephesians 5.
Deep, I know.
But important! In Ephesians 5:18 and following, Paul is explaining what it looks like to be a Spirit-filled believer. That is the theme of this section of Scripture, and, his specific commands to you as a father, assume, you are committed to obeying the previous command to be filled with the Spirit.
Think about it.
Here’s this child given to you by God for the next eighteen years. For anyone, that would be a little intimidating! Especially when you consider the extent of the impact you will have on their life for good or for bad. But, the Bible makes that responsibility even more intense. It tells you that your child is made in the image of God. He has an eternal soul. He’s going to stand before God. And, you are charged with representing God to him. God’s given you the responsibility of training him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In many ways, he will learn what God is like and what God expects from you.
How in the world are you ever going to be able to do all of that?
The answer is…you can’t.
You simply can’t accomplish anything that really matters as a father apart from the Spirit of God’s work. Please listen! I am not sure I can emphasize that enough. In fact, it’s so important let me say it again. You simply can’t accomplish anything that really matters as a father apart from the Spirit of God’s work.
No one can.
By ourselves, we do not have the ability to be the kind of father our children need to be. But praise God, He hasn’t left us by ourselves. He’s given us His Spirit. And serving God as a father begins with learning what it means to really rely on Him.
Take Time to Reflect:
1. What are some of the things you find most intimidating about being a father?
2. Why is it important to talk about being filled with the Spirit before talking about our specific responsibilities as a father?
Godly fathers are humble fathers. They depend daily on God’s supernatural strengthening to be the kind of father their children need them to be. One important way we express our dependence on God is through prayer. Look at your list of things you find difficult about being a father, take each one of them to God, admit your helplessness, and specifically ask His Spirit to give you the ability to empower you to obey.