“And this is how we may discern [daily, by experience] that we are coming to know Him [to perceive, recognize, understand, and become better acquainted with Him]: if we keep (bear in mind, observe, practice) His teachings (precepts, commandments)” (1 John 2:3–Amplified Bible).
“To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:45, 48).
Since we are God’s children; we believe that His Son died for us so that we could be called His children, there is some FATHERHOOD principles laid down for us to follow. Principles “to perceive, recognize, understand“, as the Amplified Bible gives clarity, in parenting by example. God will father me in the same way that we father our children’s life.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING DADS CAN DO
After raising my family, along with my wife, I can now look back and see the positives and the negatives of child rearing. I often said, “There wasn’t a book passed out to young couples about being good parents”. How wrong I was! There was always a book available, the Bible, God’s Word for instructions. I had never truly read it!
Although we had three kids by the time I was 28 years old, I didn’t come to know the Lord until I reached thirty years old. Discipline was always at the forefront of my teaching as a dad, and as I look back on the experiences, oh I wish that I would have been schooled in God’s teaching and not my own parent’s way of doing things; by the old “seat-of-the-pants” ways!
With the Holy Spirit’s prompting and the spiritual maturity I’ve grown into, I thought I would share my thoughts on FATHERHOOD and PARENTING. Some of the principles that might keep you on the right path.
THE IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is to make hearing the Word of God one of your greatest priorities in your life and the lives of your children.
Our children must learn the importance of hearing and knowing the Word of God formally and informally. Hearing, knowing, and obeying the Word is critical! :
1. To our spiritual growth.
2. To our walk with God our heavenly Father.
3. To our ability as parents.
4. To the lives of our children.
I want to share a little girls conversation with her Daddy, with shinning eyes and a little face aglow: “Daddy, it’s almost time for Sunday school. Lets go! They teach all of us there of Jesus’ love, how he died that we might all have everlasting life, trusting Him!”
Daddy responds in saying to his little ‘sweetie pie’, “Oh, no. I’ve worked so hard all week. I am going to the woods and to the creek. I’ve heard from others, the fish are biting and it’s a place where I can relax and rest. I must have one day to rest, the Bible says so! So run along and don’t bother me. We’ll go to church some other day!”
Months and years pass by but Daddy hears that plea no more; “Let’s go to Sunday school!” The childish years are over and Daddy is growing old and life is almost through. He now finds the time to go to church. But what does the daughter do? “Oh Daddy, not today. I stayed up almost all of last night. I’ve got to get some sleep and rest.” Fatherlessness in the young girl’s life had replaced the fatherhood that she needed in growing up. A father has to be more than just being there for the children, you must be “engaged” with them.
Deuteronomy 6 is often referred to asthe Magna Carter toparenting:
“Hear therefore, O Israel, and be watchful to do them (His commandments), that it may be well with you and that you may increase exceedingly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then], You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorpost of your house and on your gates” (verses 3-9).
We as parents need to understand how much we lack in the knowledge of God. We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge of God, not by how many verses we can spit out from memory, not by our gifts and talents or ministry but by how we pray; how we commune with the Lord in His Word; by what goes on in our heart and our obedience to what we know.
Before a successful building can be erected, a foundation must be poured to make the structure stand. The same principle is used for FATHERHOOD and PARENTING.
The foundation for obedience begins with listening; hearing the Word. Deuteronomy 6:3, 4 addresses the nation of Israel. But in particular, the verses are addressed to parents. Especially to fathers and grandfathers; the perpetuation of faith in their children (verses 2, 7, and 20).
What’s the point then? Scripture tell us that we must hear the Word to learn about the Lord. As the sovereign and holy God of the universe, savior of our lives, the God of redemption and revelation, this is VERY important! A proper perspective about God is vital and fundamental to our love and obedience to Him. Without it, we pursue the gods of the world and experience emptiness materialism. With it, we learn that He is our SUFFICENCY, OUR ONLY ONE!
“HEAR” in verse 4 includes the idea “to hear and obey”. The point being that we really have not heard unless we are following through with obedience, acting on the Scripture. We must act in accord with Scripture (6:2b-3a, 4); from the heart, from an intimate understanding and relationship with Him. Or, we have not truly heard.
Note the words: “keep all…” “be watchful to do them“, and “Hear“. Taking Scripture as our index is the point; we must realize that we can’t guide our own lives:
—Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him but at the end of it is the way of death.”
—Proverbs 12:15: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to counsel is wise.
—Jeremiah 10:23: “I know that [the determination of] the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his rest] to direct his [own] steps.”
NOTE the following principles:
1. Knowledge without obedience is never enough!
2. Knowledge that is without obedience is only partial knowledge; it’s a knowledge without understanding; it’s information without spiritual understanding and insight!
Having met with the living God is to change. That means obedience, otherwise we have merely had an encounter with ourselves; religiously and emotionally.
Parents who refuse to obey God. What will be their teaching?
1. Teaching their children disobedience.
2. The clearest and loudest words our children hear are those of our own example.
3. Children who live with critical parents learn to be critical.
4. Children whose parents scream and argue learn to do the same.
5. Children whose parents find all kinds of excuses to miss church, find it easy to do the same.
6. Children whose parents are not involved in ministry and concerns for others, likewise will be indifferent to the needs around them.
I wish that I had practiced and understood these principles I just listed when I had the chance. Do you ever have the “If only I would have done s…” in your parenting? Now is the time to obey and act on the Word of God. Don’t wait!
When Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton University, he spoke the following words to a parent group:
“I get many letters from you parents about your children. You want to know why we people up here in Princeton can’t make more out of them and do more for them. Let me tell you the reason we can’t. It may shock you just a little, but I am not trying to be rude. The reason is that they are your sons, reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone. They have absorbed the ideas of your homes. You have formed and fashioned them. They are your sons. In those malleable, moldable years of their lives you have forever left your imprint upon them.” (Tan, #4174, p. 960).
In the next blog I will continue in the FATHERHOOD and PARENTING Principles; Teaching and Modeling the Word.