On April 25 2013 I became a father! There are very few things that happen in a life that instantly change a worldview... becoming a father was one of them. Growing up in a Christian home made me very familiar with the concept of love as both of my parents, in their own ways, showed me love. I have been in church for my entire life and have heard countless sermons and lessons about God's love for us. I mentally understood that God's love for me was unconditional, eternal, and perfect. I had also experienced God's love in the salvation given me through Jesus Christ. So there I was living my life and understanding and experiencing love from God and my family which now included my wife. But something happened that opened my eyes up, if only a little, to how God's love is unconditional.
The moment my sons let out their first cries I was overwhelmed with the sense of love for them. It was as if God pulled back the curtain of heaven for just a moment so that I could understand a little clearer God's unconditional love. There is no other feeling like it on this world. I love being a dad. Something also happened to my emotions after Wyatt was born which continues to this day. My eyes seem to be broken and they leak at more things than in the past! Unfortunately, I know that my experience does not coincide with the vast majority of people around this world and it breaks my heart.
*Disclaimer* I am the chief offender here and I constantly pray that God will help to father like the Father! Please know that I am not an expert, many of you have more experience and are far better fathers than I could ever hope to be, but there is an epidemic going on with our fathers and it needs to be addressed! It seems to me that most fathers are absent when it comes to their children. This absence doesn't have to only be a physical absence. In fact, I would say that it is more common that fathers are absent emotionally and spiritually. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
This is probably the epitome of texts when it comes to family. There are so many rich truths here and it is our jobs as fathers to mine this text and implement our findings into everyday life! Here are a few things that I think are important for us to see out of this text.
1. Fathers, we have been given the greatest commandment as an important piece in the rearing of children. We have been told throughout the Bible to love the Lord with all of our soul, mind, heart, and strength. I believe that this happens as a natural progression in the life of Christian and that progression should be taught and shared with our children.
- We love the Lord with all of our souls after we are saved. Our position with God has been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. Nothing can separate from the love of God in Christ!
- We love the Lord with all of our minds as we interact with the Word of God and know the right things. If we do not know the right things then we have no hope in doing the right things. The knowledge of the Word of God is crucial in our walk with Jesus as well as in the way that we raise our children.
- We love the Lord with all of our hearts as we interact with the Word of God and believe/trust the right things. Knowledge without belief is useless and if we are not careful it will lead to Gnosticism which is the belief that knowledge of God is enough to save us. Knowing is not enough, the Devil knows all of the right things about God, we must also believe/trust.
- We love the Lord with all of our hearts as we interact with the Word of God and do the right things. After our souls belong to God, our minds know the right things, our hearts believe/trust the right things, our strength will do the right things.
This progression is necessary for ALL followers of Christ! The entirety of a person is wrapped up in their soul, mind, heart, and strength. This means that the Word of God has to infiltrate the entirety of a person. So as we rear our children we have to rear them so that the Word of God infiltrates every fiber of their being.
2. Fathers, we have to be present in the rearing of our children. This Scripture tells us that we are to speak of these things when we are sitting around the house, out and about, when we rise in the mornings, and when we lay down to sleep. How can we use all of these opportunities to speak truth into our children if we are not present? This verse speaks of an active rearing of children. We are the ones speaking to our children in every facet of their lives. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing is an opportunity to use the Word of God.
3. Fathers, we have to make our children's environment conducive to the Word of God. This Scripture tells us that we are to have the truth of the God present in the lives of the children. They are to be on display on the person, in the home, and where we are outside of the home. This speaks of a passive rearing of children. It is obvious that what we actively teach our children has an effect on their rearing but their environment also effects their rearing. If we tell our children how to act but then the way we live is different it will confuse our children.
Fathers this is only one passage but we have been commanded to devote ourselves to the Word of God personally and in the rearing of our children. We have been commanded to actively participate in the godly rearing of our children. We have been commanded to passively participate in the godly rearing of our children. Please do not take this calling lightly, someone is going to rear our children and the Scripture commands that it is us.
*image provided by google