A Father’s Responsibility
We live in a world that is filled with increasing evil influences on our families. The world is not growing more righteous. It is becoming increasingly more evil from generation to generation. Paul warned it would be that way in II Timothy 3:1-7 and 13-17. In the light of that fact he challenged young Pastor Timothy in II Timothy 4:1-4 to counter Satan’s assault with the faithful preaching of God’s Word so that the Church can be light and salt in a dark corrupt world.
Our kids can become more Christ-like than we were
Regardless of how evil the world is, our young people can grow spiritually stronger and more faithful to God from generation to generation, Romans 5:20 assures us that “where sin abounds, grace can much more abound”.
Though Satan tries to blur the distinction between Christians and non-Christians, the contrast between Christians and non Christians must become more pronounced.
We as Christian parents have the responsibility of protecting our children from evil influences, including the influences of carnal Christianity and false doctrine. We can best do that by spending time with them, listening to them, knowing them, loving them, teaching and guiding them in God’s Word. This includes avoiding all hypocrisy and praying for them and modeling before them a pure and joyful, life fully surrendered to Christ.
When our responsibility ceases
Once they leave home, whether single or married, they cease to be our responsibility as parents. The direction they go and the decisions they make are beyond our responsibility and control, though not beyond our prayers. We never cease loving them and praying for them;
“We will serve the Lord.”
Just before Joshua died at the age of 110, he made this declaration in Joshua 24:14-15 concerning his family.
“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your father’s served on the other side of the flood and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your father’s served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
The generation that outlived Joshua stayed true to God, we learn in Joshua 24:31. The generations that followed are described in the book of Judges as spiritual failures, for the most part. The reason for their failure is summed up in Judges 21:25. “Everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.”
Ruth and Boaz were the exception. They were a godly couple who lived in the time of the Judges. Their beautiful story has its setting in this period of moral declension, we learn in Ruth 1:1. Read their love story in The Book of Ruth and on this link
Hidden within the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 is a promise in verses 5 & 6 to godly fathers and mothers that if we will love and serve the Lord, we can count on God’s blessing on our families to the third and fourth generations.
My grandfather Simon Bicker was a godly pastor who loved and served the Lord. As part of his second generation, I can testify that God kept His promise to him. His son, Clifford, my father, was a faithful missionary to Peru, South America where he gave his life. As Clifford’s son, I was blessed with living in a strong Christian atmosphere where I heard the Gospel and responded by being saved and surrendering my life to Christ. Each of my three children are faithfully living for the Lord. God has kept His Word to my grandfather.
The line of blessing can be broken
In any generation when an individual turns in rebellion from God, the line of blessing is broken. Learn this truth well, Christian reader. The life you choose to live is not just your business. The choices you make affects not only you; but your posterity for generations to come. When one turns away from God, he not only loses the blessing on his own life, but He cuts off God’s blessing to his future children, grandchildren and generations to come. The blessing of God on our posterity is dependent on our relationship with God, as far as we are concerned.
However, as far as God’s grace is concerned, He can reach down into the depths of an ungodly family and take a trophy of grace and use him or her mightily for His glory, I’ve seen Him do that repeatedly throughout my ministry.
To broken-hearted parents
To parents whose young people have rejected Christ and turned to a life of rebellion towards God, I’m not going to even consider pointing a finger of blame. My heart aches for you. Nothing in life can be more agonizing; not even the death of a child.
I want you to understand that God fully understands the pain you are experiencing. He experienced Himself as He saw His beloved chosen people, Israel, upon whom He had poured His blessings, turn in an adulteress affair to their false gods. Read of that pain in Ezekiel 16 and Malachi 1:6.
We also see the pain in God’s heart as revealed in the story Jesus told in Luke 15:11-32 of the loving father with his two prodigal sons: the younger son, a profligate, who turned to harlots and the wild life and the older son , a cold-hearted, self-righteous legalist. Thank God, the younger son repented and returned to his father. Sadly, we learn of no change in the heart of the older son.
SIX CHALLENGES FOR EVERY FATHER
1. Accept your responsibility as head of your household.
Fathers; not government, are to provide for their families. You are to provide for them materially, according to I Timothy 5:8. To fail is a shame and disgrace. How you divide the work load is between you and your wife; but ultimately the responsibility rests on the husband and father.
You are to provide for their spiritual wellbeing. That’s God’s command in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Adam was responsible for his wife Eve, but he failed. He ended up blaming her when God confronted him with his disobedience. How spineless of our first father!
Abraham’s sin of deception left scars not only on his own life, but also on his son Isaac and on his grandson’s Esau and Jacob. They learned deception from their grandfather.
Eli, the priest of Israel, failed as a father to restrain his sons from vile sins which they practiced in the Sanctuary with the women. As a result I Samuel 3:12-13 records how God removed Eli from his responsibilities as a priest.
David, a man after God’s own heart and a great king of Israel, became guilty of the sin of adultery and murder. His heart was broken and he truly repented of his sins and God forgave him, as recorded in Psalm 51. Though God forgave him, he suffered terrible tragedy in his family as his sons Amnon, Absalom, and Solomon, and his daughter Tamar ruined their lives with sin. Their tragic stories are recorded in II Samuel and I Kings.
Because our examples are so vitally important in leadership positions, Paul wrote in I Timothy that those in church leadership positions, such as pastors, elders and deacons, are to live moral, godly lives above reproach, or they disqualify themselves from serving in those offices.
A Father with the help of his wife should set the spiritual tone of his home, making sure that his children are receiving the proper spiritual training in his home, in his church and in the education of his children.
Together they set the standards for dress, music, television entertainment, the use of the telephone, and internet from the earliest years of a child. The parents; not the child, determines what he will eat and how he will dress, what he will watch on television and his use of the internet. If a father is firm, but reasonable and loving and sets the right example and teaches God’s Word to his children, their values will be set by the time they are teenagers and there will be no power struggles or arguments.
A husband and father is also ultimately responsible for the financial condition of his family, including the management of his credit. In my case, I have learned that my wife is skilled in this area, so she handles the check book and credit cards. I can fully trust her to mange wisely and keep us out of debt. I am, however, ultimately responsible. The buck stops with me.
Remember, a husband is a hus- band or a house band. He ultimately holds the home together with his unconditional, self-sacrificing love for his wife and children.
2. Refuse to allow the evil world system to influence your children.
If you start while your child is an infant you, with the help of your supportive, loving wife, can control the influences that bombard your children from the television and other media.
You can help your child develop a taste for healthful food and not junk food.
You can determine the hours of sleep and can forbid his use of a cell phone through the night when he or she ought to be sleeping.
It’s up to you to see that home work is completed.
It’s up to you to see that he keeps his bedroom clean and cleans up after himself wherever he is and whatever he is doing.
If you insist on quiet, prompt obedience in the home, that will be his pattern in public. The child who does not behave in the home is not going to behave in public.
You and your wife will determine where he goes to school and whether it is home school or Christian school or public school. My wife and I removed our two boys from public school when they were in 3rd and 6th grades. We removed them from public school primarily because of the poor academics as well as the ungodly influences. From that time forward our two sons and daughter completed their education in Christian schools, including a Christian college.
Galatians 1:4 teaches us that salvation is not simply salvation from sin and hell. It also saves us from the influences of this present evil world system.
3. Its up to you, father, to command the obedience of your children.
You don’t have to do it cold-heartedly like a drill sergeant.
Genesis 18:17-19 tells us that God rewarded Abraham because he commanded his children to follow his example.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Joshua determined for himself and his family that they would serve the Lord.
The question facing many parents is “How do we enforce obedience?”
Hebrews 12:5-11 teaches that God enforces obedience through chastening. “Whom He loves, He chastens!” For more on this go to my link FAMILY and then go to DISCIPLINE. There I go into detail on how to discipline effectively.
Let me summarize. Fathers must control their children with love, tenderness, firmness and consistency. A child must never have to wonder if he can get away with disobedience. You must convince him that he will be punished for disobedience or disrespect every time without exception. Fortunate is the husband who has the full support of his wife in these matters. These are the things we dealt with in our conversations BEFORE we were married. We were both in absolute agreement on these matters; otherwise, we would not have married each other.
4. A father and mother must set the example of a godly, disciplined life.
Youth despise hypocrisy and double-standards in their parents. How brazenly hypocritical it is to tell your children to do as you say, but not as you do. The Philippians jailer was so changed when he was converted, as recorded in Acts 16, that his entire family followed him in his conversion and baptism.
5. A father must love his children unconditionally.
That love for our children, as well as for our wife must be unconditional love. They should not have to earn nor deserve it. On the other hand trust must be earned and with that trust, greater responsibility. That love is best expressed by the way we devote our time in the concerns and interests of our wife and children. Our children would far rather have our time and attention than the toys we buy them. The times our children most remember and appreciate in their childhood were the camping trips we took together in the summer when I could devote all my attention to them.
6. Claim the promises of God by faith.
When we started out as parents in 1956, my wife and I had only the promises of God. We had no books on child rearing By simple faith we took God at His Word. He promised us that if we would train and discipline our children according to His Word, they would not depart from it. We took His Word by faith and did what we were told. He kept His promise and our children grew up without ever going through the so-called “terrible twos” or “teen age rebellion” They were a constant joy to us then and even now as parents and grandparents.
Philip in John 14:8 asked Jesus to “Show us the Father and we will be satisfied.” That’s what our children are looking for from us. They are looking for us to show them what God is like. If they can’t see Him in us, they probably won’t be interested in seeking Him in the Bible. “We are Epistles to our children, known and read of them. II Corinthians 3:2.
Are you sufficient for the task of raising your children as you ought? Neither am I. II Corinthians 3:5 comforts and encourages us that “our sufficiency is of God.”
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