Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Here’s an important question. Whose responsibility is it to teach children to follow God? The answer may seem simple, but it is not lived out in our culture today. According to the Apostle Paul, under the direct and Divine influence of the Holy Spirit, the responsibility for the training of children to be followers of Jesus Christ belongs to the father. Not the mother. Not the church. Not the AWANA leader. Not their schoolteachers. The father!
Ephesians 6:1-4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.“
That’s why Satan has mounted a full assault on the institution of marriage and family. The Adversary of our souls makes it easy for divorce in our society. The Devil has convinced our society that single-parent families with moms being the parent are just as viable as traditional two-parent families. The Enemy knows that without dad, there can be no true teaching about authority and respect. Without dad there is no complete picture of God that can be presented to a child. Without dad, there will be an ever-increasing separation of generations from faith in Jesus Christ. (If you’re a single mom, may the Lord grant you the grace necessary to bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord, but may He also grant your children the influence of a Godly man through your church so that they can overcome the spiritual disability they will feel without one and fully learn to follow Christ.)
But just because a dad is present doesn’t guarantee the spiritual success of a child. Dads must be spiritual fathers to their children. Paul told the parents, “Don’t use your authority to abuse the child, but to encourage and build the child.” To the Colossians he wrote, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” So it seems the opposite of “provoke” is “encourage.” Dads are to be the encouragers of their families. He is to be his children’s greatest fan, balanced with the loving discipline that trains.
Fathers can provoke their children and discourage them in a variety of ways. Here’s a list I found of the top ten things dads do that exasperate their children:
1. They are over-protective.
2. They show favoritism toward one of their children.
3. They compare the accomplishments or abilities of their children.
4. They push achievement, aims, and goals, and in so doing, put undue pressure on their children.
5. They do not reward or encourage their children.
6. They fail to allow childishness; that is, they do not understand that a child is a child, and not an adult.
7. They neglect their children’s needs: spiritually, socially, intellectually and physically.
8. They nag their children.
9. They abuse them with hateful, ugly, and bitter words.
10. They punish them cruelly by making the punishment too harsh or severe for the mistake that was made.
There’s one thing from this list that needs greater emphasis – they neglect the spiritual needs of their children. Dads, your first and highest priority as a father is to teach your children the truths of God – not only verbally but by your example. Godly dads don’t just tell their kids how to behave – they model how to behave. They model love and a servant’s heart to their wife – the mother of the children. They model sacrificial giving by putting the needs of mom and the kids ahead of their own, no matter how tired they are. They model personal devotion to Jesus Christ through a consistent daily quiet time with God. They model respect for and submission to authority in their church and in their careers. They transfer worth to their children by investing their time in the child’s interests. The instill a sense of security and value in the child by taking the time to truly teach them the things of God that will bring fulfillment to their life. It’s amazing what happens to the behavior of a child when he or she knows that dad cares enough about them to invest his best in them. Dads – Jesus Christ is the best you have to give them. Without you and without Jesus, your children will be exasperated.