Authentic Fatherhood: Following in God's Footsteps
- Monday, August 28, 2006
What does God say about fathers? God could have had any role he wanted, but he chose to be our heavenly Father. He could have called himself any name he wanted. In several passages in the New Testament, Jesus prays to God, calling him Abba, and urges others to do so as well. Abba, literally translated, means "Daddy"; it was the term of endearment used by a young child. Think of the implications behind that. Quite frankly, it scares me to think that I have been bestowed with a title that God claimed for himself.
We have several newborn babies in our church congregation. I love to watch the fathers hold their babies and interact with them face-to-face. It’s a good allegory of our relationship with God. Here is a totally defenseless little human, completely at the mercy of a greater being, dependent upon him for survival. The baby simply sits and basks in the love being showered upon him by his daddy. The infant cannot yet understand the bigger picture of life, but he comprehends with full clarity the nonverbal message of love he receives from this powerful figure.
Besides the fact that God calls himself "Father," in what other ways are fathers connected with God? The Bible is God’s way of truthfully speaking to us. According to my keyword search, the term "father" is used 1,488 times in the NIV Bible. Do you think God was trying to tell us that he considers fathering to be important?
Jesus had ultimate authority on earth, derived from God the Father. God has granted men power as leaders in the family. But with that power comes responsibility—the responsibility to learn about and use that influence for blessing our families. Unfortunately, many men today have abused that responsibility and thrown away that authority. Yes, I understand that some men do not deserve the mantle of family leadership. But society’s attack on fathers is not the answer. As C. S. Lewis said, "to banish the knight does not alleviate the suffering of the peasant."6
I don’t think it’s coincidence that the last words God spoke to his people at the end of the Old Testament—his last words for four hundred years—were on the importance of fathering: "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Mal. 4:6 NKJV).
God could have used any sign of societal revival to fulfill that prophecy. He could have said, "when people return to church," or "when there is no more hunger or war." But he chose to highlight the restoration of fathers to their children in connection with the return of the Lord.
The Hebrew word for curse in this verse is one of the harshest in Scripture, suggesting complete annihilation. That means only when men stop abdicating their God-mandated role as leaders in their families and communities will we be able to survive and thrive as a nation once again and not risk complete annihilation.
Here’s the good news, though: God has a plan for you as a father and as a man. God chose you to lead your son, to make him a noble man. He didn’t choose you and then leave you on your own to fail. Trust that God will help you if you seek his wisdom and discernment. Kindle the hope in your heart that God will work through you if you allow him to.
Then stand back and enjoy the results.
God’s Blessings for the Journey
In those early days, I didn’t know what I was doing half the time. But I blundered ahead anyway, praying the whole way and hoping God would turn my efforts into something eternal. And he did. He blessed me because I took action. I did not let my fear paralyze me. Just consider the ways that he has blessed me.
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