Someone once said that a boy follows his fathers’ advice until he is fifteen, after that he follows his example. Fathers teach an assortment of values to their children through the things they do. The values children learn from their fathers determine how they will spend their time and money, who they spend their money with, what they allow into their minds, and even the types of daydreams they have. For you see, our belief system dictates the course our lives will take. Our fathers affect us spiritually, emotionally and physically. Their acceptance or rejection is how we measure our self-worth. The strength or weakness of our relationship with our fathers affects our capability to trust and bond with others. The Bible says that fathers’ duties toward his family are to nourish and supply their needs. When our basic human needs of security, acceptance, discipline, encouragement and love are not met as children we will travel into adulthood needy. That lack will motivate a search that takes many people into the wrong places and gets them into trouble.
By fulfilling his duties, a godly father helps to build his children up in Christ so that they will learn how to cope successfully with life as well as death. He teaches his children how to be compassionate, caring individuals by demonstrating his love, kindness, forgiveness, unwavering faith, and common sense. He spends time with his family, listens to their concerns, and demonstrates his love. A boy will learn to be tender and respectful toward women by observing how his father treats his mother as well as other women. A girl will learn to expect to be treated with respect and love by what she sees her father do. God intended fathers to be the primary educators of Christian education and moral standards within the family. Not only laying down the rules for living, but also taking the time to instruct, guide, warn and train their children each step along the way.
Throughout the New Testament we learn that Christ is the church’s chief prophet, its only high priest and eternal King. Ephesians 5 tells us that a fathers’task is similar to the work of Christ in the church; Christ’s representative in the family. He acts as prophet by providing for the spiritual training of his wife and children—and is the first to do what he preaches. As priest he sacrifices his wants for the needs of his family. He leads them to seek God’s guidance in prayer, praises and worships God without embarrassment and repents when he sins. A father acts as king by establishing the rules of the household that assure their harmony, security and safety. He disciplines quickly, consistently and justly, in love.
Without provoking his children to anger, he knows when to restrain, punish, and reprimand them when they are wrong. These fathers earn their children’s respect and are obeyed without a fight. This willing obedience sets the stage which enables children to submit to the established authorities of the world and to God. When a man is securely anchored to Christ his children will see him as a man of God and will trust his guidance. They will not be like the little boy who sat on his fathers lap while his dad described what a Christian was. When he was through, the little boy asked,“Daddy, have I ever seen one?”
Our experience with our own father defines who God is to us. It may be very difficult to imagine a heavenly Father who is approachable, forgiving, caring, loving and understanding when our own father was cold-hearted, rigid, boring and demanding. It may be hard to believe that God protects and cares for our welfare if we were abused. If we were abandoned by our father it may be a mystery how God will never forsake us. But, God draws us to Him by our need to belong. So, as hard as it may be for us to believe, we must respond to God when we hear Him calling. Although we may approach Him with caution and a little disbelief, He will not reject anyone He has chosen. He is our Father and wants us to return to Him. Through Christ He gave us the power to forgive and forget the things of our past so that we can inherit and pass on His values & blessings to our kids.