We are going to look at how God parents us as His children and apply this to our relationships with our children. This is intended to be encouraging and helpful, as you grow in your relationship with your children and with God.
When my son was a senior in high school, things were a bit tense in the house. Although we had a great relationship over the years, it seemed that he now wanted to become his own man and make his own decisions (for some odd reason)! I started to think about how I wanted things to go at home during his last semester of high school. Did I want to be nagging at him all the time? Did I want there to be an endless string of confrontations and criticism? No, of course not.
Then I had this thought, “What if I made more of an effort to raise my son like God parents me?” In other words, how can I make more of an effort to “Father like the Father?”
After all, there are times that I have turned away from God. I have made many wrong decisions, but God shows me love, mercy, and forgiveness. He loves me, waits for me patiently, and guides me back on the right path.
“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Timothy 1:14 (NIV)
The Post-It Note
To treat my son more like God treats me, I wrote on a post-it note, “Don’t criticize. Don’t advise. Just love and encourage.” I put it up on my bathroom mirror, where I could see it every day. This helped me during this season in our lives, as I showed more patience and grace and unconditional love. Was that semester perfect? No. But I did not try as often to “fix” him or offer the unsolicited advice that would likely create resentment. It helped set a more positive tone for our relationship and the household.
How do we father more like God the Father?
Where did you learn how to be a father? Was it from your dad or your grandfather? Was it from culture? Are you just doing the best you can? Me too…on all of these!
Let’s take some lessons of how to be a dad from God. God is our good and perfect Father. To raise our children more in the way that God treats us, we need to (a) recognize some key truths about being a child of God and (b) put those truths into action as dads.
Truths about you as a child of God
God loves you unconditionally.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” — Romans 5:8 (NIV)
God is proud to call you “son.”
“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'” — Mark 1:11 (NIV)
God is for you and not against you.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” — Romans 8:31 (NIV)
Putting the truths into action
From your actions, your children need to hear, see, and know these three TRUTHS in their hearts:
My Dad loves me unconditionally.
Your children need to know they are loved, just the way they are. Enjoy God’s loving acceptance and pass it on to your children.
My Dad is proud of me.
Your children need to know you are proud of them. Show them you are not afraid to hug them, be seen with them, and claim them as them as your son or daughter, with whom you are well-pleased. In failure or success, it is powerful when children know their dad is proud of them.
My Dad is for me, not against me.
Your children gain great confidence and peace knowing you are in their corner like a great trainer in a boxing match. Let them know that you believe they have what it takes. Show them you will help them when they are hurting and prepare them to fight some more. Tell them why they can do things instead of why they can’t.
A Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving me and encouraging me always. Help me to be a Father more like you. Help me to show more love and forgiveness toward my children, the way you show to me.
Challenge: Intentionally use this phrase with each of your children this week, “I am so proud of you. You are really good at ________.”
Authored by Brian Goslee who is an author, speaker, and founder of Changed Through Faith Ministries. You can download their free app here. Their mission is to help fathers and sons grow closer to God and each other, using fun and relevant faith-infused events and resources.
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