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. This will help you learn how to be a father who glorifies God and raises Christ-minded kids.
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)
How To Be A Father
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.
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.
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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Great article. Many men need encouragement like this. I know I do. As a father of three it is hard to balance your time with everyone and you are left at the end of the feeling sometimes deflated. Thank you for your encouragement and direction.
Thank you, Marcus, and know that you are doing better than you think you are! God has blessed you with the role of father and your kids are blessed to have you as their dad. Keep asking God “How would You handle this situation as a dad?” Or “How have you handled this situation God, when I have acted this way as Your child?” God will reveal new ways to think and act and treat your family as you continually seek His guidance. But it takes time. Seek God and His wisdom, be patient and wait on God-it takes time. And love in the meantime! May God bless you Marcus! -BRIAN
This is a great article! As I read this I thought about the relationship between my own dad and older brother. My dad refused to tell my brother he loved him or hug him because he didn’t think it was the manly thing to do and it caused him lasting emotional damage.
Thank you for sharing that information. I think some men today may have grown up with a parent that may have not spoken much love, support or encouragement into their lives. I’m sorry for that fact and I’m hear to bring the Good News and let all of those men know that your Heavenly Father is always speaking love, support and encouragement into your life. The Bible is full of Love from the Father. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jesus is that Love.
Great article! Simple and solid. My sons are 32 and 27 and I can honestly say I have applied these principles in our relationship. Have we been as close as I would like? No. But I sincerely believe they would agree I am their biggest cheerleader and very proud of them. The loving them unconditionally goes without question.
I had a father who only ever once said he loved me, took no interest in my sport, choice of career etc. despite being a Christian for years I struggle with the fact this shaped me far more than I realise. I’ve tried to be better. As I read this I just feel such a failure and fear that I’ll look back with such regret. I’ve prayed for us as a family, cried out to God for healing in our relationships for years and see so little change or progress. We’ve sought counselling, pastoral input but we’re stuck! You don’t know us or our situation. If you care to pray please do. We need a miracle as a family. Thank you..
Chris, thank you for sharing your story with us. First let me say, just because your dad wasn’t the dad you wanted, it doesn’t make you a failure. I’m a firm believer that you can come out of a dysfunctional situation and be that new creation in Christ. I’ve have more anti-role models in my life growing up that role models. I used that to learn what not to be or do. The other suggestion I would make is to understand that people are not perfect and will let you down. But your heavenly Father will not.
That may sound a little pie in the sky, but if you have put your trust in God for your salvation, why not put your trust in God that he can take you out of the past and bring you into HIS future. What you past may have meant for evil, God can turn into something good.