Last week we began a series of articles addressing the godly family. This series is meant to be a companion to the sermons that will be preached over the next month. In last week’s article I encouraged you to make God the center of your home by setting aside the recreational activities each day so that you, as a family, can study God’s word together. This week, we will continue this series by looking the role of the father in the home.
When looking at the role of the father in the home two verses in the NT almost always come up in sermons, articles, etc; Eph. 6:4 and Col. 3:21. Let us again examine these passages so that we can learn what we fathers must be doing in order to be pleasing unto God.
In Eph. 6:4 Paul wrote, “ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The two clauses here give us two of the three lessons Paul teaches concerning the raising of children. Fathers are to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Thayer’s identifies nurture as “the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body.” It seems that the primary role of instructing children about morality, how to be a good citizen, how to take care of themselves resides upon the father. In today’s society this role is almost entirely ignored. Too many fathers believe that their job is to “bring home the bacon.” While providing for our family is necessary, it is not the only thing God demands of us. We cannot go around thinking that just because we fulfilled one commandment which God has given us that it gives us permission to ignore another. But notice Paul also says that fathers are to bring their children up in the admonition of the Lord. This means that we fathers are required to teach them how to be a Christian. This is done through our daily walk (in public and at home) as well as through verbal instruction (such as through family bible studies).
Paul also taught that father were not to provoke their children to wrath. Punishment can be viewed in one of two ways. It can be viewed as a means of revenge. When a father lashes out in anger against his children for asking, “Are we there yet?” for the 100th time in an hour, when a father is short with the kids because work was long, hard, and mentally challenging, it is the wrong kind of punishment. This type of punishment damages the child’s psyche and worse yet his/her soul. We are to punish through love or correct through love. This is the form of correction that will lead a child closer to God.
The final lesson Paul gives in these two verses is found in Col. 3:21. “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” There have been numerous books written to teach others about how to raise children. There was one I read years ago, written by a self proclaimed conservative Christian, that bothered me immensely. It likened the raising of children to the raising of dogs. It evened used phrases like “breaking your child’s will” in a positive way. Brethren, I do not believe that Dr. Spock or Dr. Phil know what they are talking about, but I can know for certain turning to the other extreme is just as wrong. God does not want us to break our children’s spirit, we wants us to raise them with love. Perhaps more so than mothers, God’s role with man is exemplified through his title as Father. While God may correct us from time to time (Heb. 12:9) he never will permit us to endure more than we can bear (I Cor. 10:13). He does not exasperate us but blesses us. Consider what Christ said in Matt. 7:9-11. “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Father’s let us follow the example of God. Find time to eliminate the stressors that our children have from time to time so that they are reminded that…
1. They are not alone. By being there for them you can teach them how God will be there to take care of them. As you teach them that God is using you to provide for them..
2. You love them. Children need the love of their father just as much as they need the love of their mother. If you need proof look at the prison system. It is filled with men and women alike whose father failed to show love to their children. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
Website design by Blythe Data Recovery & Computer Repair, LLC
Be the Father God Called You to Be
Volume 3 Issue 28 June 10, 2012