As fathers we have a great responsibility to teach our families to love the Lord. God gives us the key ingredients to accomplish this purpose. Intertwined in this is teaching them to love, respect and follow God’s Word. Notice three things that are vital to teaching our families to love Him.
J. Wilbur Chapman often told of the testimony given by a certain man in one of his meetings: “I got off at the Pennsylvania depot as a tramp, and for a year I begged on the streets for a living. One day I touched a man on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, mister, can you give me a dime?’ As soon as I saw his face I was shocked to see that it was my own father. I said, ‘Father, Father, do you know me?’ Throwing his arms around me and with tears in his eyes, he said, ‘Oh my son, at last I’ve found you! I’ve found you. You want a dime? Everything I have is yours.’ Think of it. I was a tramp. I stood begging my own father for ten cents, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all that he had.”
What a wonderful illustration of the way God longs to treat us, if we will only let Him.
In the Bible, there is a book that teaches us some very interesting things about the heart of a Father. Deuteronomy 6:4-6:9 reads like this:
4. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
The first thing we need to do if we are to be a responsible father is to Talk of God’s Word. Yes!!! We need to Talk Of God’s Word
We need to take the time to talk with our families of the things of God. In the book of Proverbs 22:6 it tells us to … Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. “Train up a child”! What does this mean?
I believe that every Dad needs to dedicate or set their children aside for God’s purpose. Many Churches have “Baby dedications” and this is exactly what you do. God has entrusted you with this tiny human, but God has created your baby for a purpose, he has abilities and interests that God deposits into him. His personality and the things he likes are all a part of what God has in store for your child. Your job is to guide him or her in the way that God has created him or her.
We must have clear cut objectives of what we plan to teach them. Once you figure out that God has a plan and a purpose for your child, your job is to teach them towards their mission in life.
Finally, we must create a strong desire for spirituality in there lives. This world is full of temptations and lies that will lead them to destruction. If we are going to stay the course, we need to live a spiritual life that brings us closer to God. And this goes for your children too!
When we train our children, we need to understand a few things. Let me make one thing clear! Training is more than teaching. Teaching deals with the mind. Training deals with the will. Training is not only TELLING them what to do, but SHOWING them how to do it. Training is bringing our families to the place that they are accustomed to doing right habitually, willingly and happily!
They say that Prevention is better that Cure. And I have to agree! For Dads, this means we need to start early and stay on the job constantly! Always be aware of what is going on around us and our families.
It has also been said that Habit precedes Understanding! This is never more true than when we are raising children! It seems that when children get into their teen years they start to question the things we have taught them. This is the time that those things are being weighed. They are deciding if these will be THEIR convictions also.
Father’s must lead by example. The old adage is true. “Example is better than Precept”. Your actions will speak louder than your words. Your children will not do what you say unless you do it first. Children want to be just like you, so be mindful of this and lead by example.
I must say one more thing about the way we lead our families. Love them in a way that they will naturally want to be around you. I heard someone once say that “Love that Draws is better than Law that Demands”! This is so true, especially with the very young child. During the formative years (0-6), your child wants to be with you and be like you! But they have a knack for doing things that are childish! Things that are annoying and irk us! Dads need to understand these things and stay calm and loving! Your child does not need a dictator, he or she needs a Loving Father!
The second thing we need to do if we are to be a responsible father is to Do God’s Word
Let me explain what that means, Men, we must Pray FOR our families. We must also Pray WITH them. Our children need to stumble onto a father on his knees praying to God. They need to hear you pray and talk to God. They also need to pray with their dad. My boys and I pray every night together when we are going to bed. We start with the youngest, we move on the the next one and then the oldest. Then I pray, I pray for them, over them and with them. I ask God to protect us and to bless us and I praise God for the wonders he has done in our home. If someone is under the weather, I pray for that as well. It is very comforting for them to hear their dad surrendering to God and praying over them as they drift off to sleep! Try it… we never miss a day!
I also suggest that Praise is very important! Your Children should see you praising God!!! Give God the Praise when you get a raise or make a bonus. When you wake up in the morning, they should hear you praising God! But that’s not enough. Praise your Wife and Children too. This teaches them to be grateful. Don’t take them for granted, find things to praise them for every day! I find it easier to do this when I listen to them. God listens to us! He even asks us to bring our needs to Him!
Dads need to spend enjoyable time with the kids! Have fun, do things you like and things they like. Plan things that the kids will look forward to. This will also give you something to be praying about and then a reason to praise God when it comes to pass.
The third thing we need to do if we are to be a responsible father is to BE God’s Word.
Matt.12:34-35 “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Prov.4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
We Must be saved! We cannot be something we are not. Unless you are saved and you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, none of this will make sense to you. Being a Christian Father is much more that reading some self-help book or website and applying those principles! Once saved, we Must have the “Great” commandment firmly placed in our hearts.
Matt.22:37-38 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. ” When we Love God over everything else in the world, then and only then will we have the power and the wisdom from above to be effective dads. Then, as we love the Lord we become more like him. As we become more like Him, more of His love and action show up in our lives. When our families see that the Lord is REAL to us they begin to realize just how important it is to also love Him and this is what being a father is all about!
In the parable of the prodigal, Jesus pictures the father waiting patiently for his son to come home. In the parable of the ninety and nine he pictures the shepherd leaving the flock in search for the one lost sheep.
J. W. Stevenson in his book, God, In My Disbelief tells how Dr. Christopher, an old minister, had gone south to London to seek for his son who had dishonored his home and left father and mother.
“There was no address to guide him. Only after many days was the name of the street discovered; and when the old minister, with his white hair, stood at the end of it he knew it was beyond him to go from door to door of its length. But a street musician came by just then and Dr. Christopher stopped him. Did he know an old tune, one that had been a favorite in the home when the children were young? Would he walk with him along the street as he played? And he told him why.”
“So they went slowly, the street musician and the old minister with his hat in his hand so that his face could be seen, taking this last slender chance to find the son who had no use for him; seeking him who had no understanding of the love in his father’s heart.”
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