As a new father, I experience the daily joys and blessings of raising a little girl. Although she is not yet a year old, I am growing in my knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a husband and father through God’s word and my local church. The more I read scripture, observe others and reflect upon my own upbringing, it is becoming clearer that fatherhood is no light endeavor. However, too many men settle for less in the name of “providing” while others struggle aimlessly not knowing what the real purpose of fatherhood is.
The fatherlessness epidemic which is evident in our country reflects this point precisely. Even secular sociologists lament that “fatherlessness” is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. To state that there is a deep and painful father wound in multitudes of today’s children is only to state the obvious. Men are not present, whether physically or emotionally, in the lives of their family. So I seek to encourage fathers and father figures to strive in the following areas to honor God and love their children. Moreover, I want to point to three specific areas to consider.
A fundamental aspect of the relationship between a father and his child is in the area of encouragement. Men should seek to inspire, instill confidence, build up hope, and support their children in whatever aims they pursue that are good for them and others. Nothing can be more dejecting than constant criticism or belittling comments that make one feel invaluable or unworthy of their father’s love. Instead, praise your child for what they do right and encourage them as a loving father to do better in areas where they are weak or fail to live up to the standard. As fathers submit to the word of God and discipline children out of love, not anger, only then will they train the child up in the way should go.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
Legalistic, overly strict commands do not necessarily equal discipline, which is the training up of a child in instruction. It is the primary responsibility of the father, not the mother to discipline the child as the leader of the family. Discipline includes correction and verbal instruction by relying upon biblical principles in the word of God. In this upbringing, fathers should seek to embrace the opportunity to lead and impact their child’s life because it will leave an impression that will last for eternity.
“Fathers …bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
Lastly, the most important aspect of fatherhood that encompasses all of the rest is love. A father’s love must be sacrificial, sanctifying, and selfless. When it comes to sacrificing, fathers should see the needs of their child as all-important and seek, by whatever means possible, to meet those needs. Sanctifying love is the service and care for your child’s spiritual well-being. If you truly love your child, you will seek to spend time with them in deep discussion, prayer, and the study of God’s word. And selfless love is the putting on the desires and wants of another. So for example, if you come home from a long day of work and your child eagerly awaits you, then spend some quality time with them. Seek to be an active participant, not just a spectator, in their life and do all that you can to show them the love of God.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
A Final Word
Many of you reading this article, know what it is like to live without a dad’s emotional care, support socially, or spiritual guidance. The consequences can be severely devastating and leave wounds that take years to heal. So I am convinced of the fact that fatherhood is a very high calling, one with great power to bless children or severely wound them.
Our nation is no stranger to the millions of daughters who desperately seek the affection their fathers never gave them. Similarly, there are countless sons who were denied a healthy same-sex relationship with their father and are now spending the rest of their lives in search of their sexual identity via perversion and immorality.
It’s undeniable that we all have wounds from our present challenges with regards to this topic of fatherhood. The depths of this I may never know but I know the One who does. Coming to know God the Father through faith in Jesus Christ has helped me make sense of it all: my deepest wounds and my present inadequacies as a father. Being a Christian with the light of God’s word and fellowship of His people through the local church has helped me deal with these things.
Fathers and father figures, you are instruments of God so take not lightly your grand responsibility but embrace the wonderful opportunity to lead, love, and serve those around you whether they be your biological children or not. Even in your shortcomings, continue to make significant strides to encourage, instruct, and build up your family in faith towards Jesus Christ.
Uncommen Challenge: My charge is for fathers to be Christ-centered, Bible-based, community grounded fathers who encourage, discipline and love their children. Their very lives will be impacted.
Author: Jeweleon Jones is a husband and father. He currently resides in Fuquay-Varina and is a member Redeemer Community Church. His passion is reaching people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and situations with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
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