Created Male #3: Fatherhood

 

Created Male #3: Fatherhood

Today is that special Hallmark Sunday called Father’s day.  The day we set aside to especially honor fathers, we give him a tie.  Oh, please don’t.  I know the fashionistas are saying it's time to dress up again, but let him buy his own tie.  It’s hard to find a tie that goes well with a plaid shirt.  It’ll be a challenge.

 One of the biggest crimes in our culture today is the absentee dad.  In our culture, today boys are masquerading as men, making babies, and then running away from the responsibility of raising their kids.  This abandonment can be emotional or physical.  Worse is when the boy posing as a man uses his physical strength to abuse his child.  When a culture gets out of sync with God it creates a hell on earth.  There are far too many kids experiencing hell at the hand of their fathers. 

 There are five gifts a father gives his children.  The first is he lives a Godly life.  Second, he loves his children’s mother.  The third gift is discipline. The fourth and fifth gifts are gender-specific, given to his son, given to his daughter.  On Father’s day let’s explore the gifts a dad gives to his kids.

 Gift #1 Living a Godly life.  A Godly life is lived when a man allows his life to be molded in the image of God.  Entrance into a Godly life is through faith in Jesus.  Sin, the self-centered upon itself, with all its consequences, separated him from living a Godly life.  Jesus takes care of a man’s sins in a heroic sacrifice, He presents Himself on the Cross, takes upon himself the sins of every human, and makes atonement for those sins so that everyone who believes can be forgiven and reconciled to God.  The one who believes is reconciled to God, the separation ends, the Holy Spirit indwells empowering the man to live valiantly and courageously in which Jesus lived. We can summarize the way Jesus lived with two observations.  Jesus lived obediently to the One He called the Father’s will.  When a man lives like Jesus he bends his knee vowing to serve God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Jesus loved others.  This love is seen in Jesus meeting the needs of others. If a person's need was a confrontation, rebuke, or correction, Jesus gave it.  If a person needed forgiveness, compassion, or healing, Jesus gave it.  Jesus instructed people how to live with his words, his parables, and by how he lived his life.   We can sum up the summary simply by observing that living a Godly life is to live a life of ferocious love. Show yourself to be a man.

Dad, are you living a life of ferocious love?  If not today you can be transformed.  Acknowledge that living a Godly life is not what you are doing.  Believe that Jesus makes it possible for you to live the way you were created to live.  Commit yourself to the transformation.  Ask God to accept your faith.  Then your journey will begin.  Today becomes the day of the great adventure of overcoming Satan’s schemes and setting the Devil’s prisoners free and bring the kingdom of God to this world. It will also liberate your own life and set you free.  Being a Godly father is a great gift to your children.

 Gift #2 Love your Children’s Mother.  When your kids know that you love their mom it creates a sense of security.  A man honors the woman he married, the mother of his children.  He treats her as a companion, an equal partner in life (1 Peter 3:7).  He listens to her and does what will make her life better.  He provides and protects.  Marriage was designed to be the place of unconditional love. Loving her doesn’t mean you love yourself less, it means you will sacrifice to meet the need she has. He is not a dictator while he leads.  Remember, the man is the head of the house, the woman is the neck. 

 Ephesians 5:25-28 (MSG)

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.

 A parental conflict isn’t a problem if parents can resolve their differences.  But when dad pulls away from mom, kids respond with depression, anxiety, and acting out. [Kids Are Emotionally Harmed When Parents Fight - WebMD]  A child’s emotional security is greatly impacted by mom and dad’s love for each other [E. Mark Cummings].  “If dad stopped loving mom, maybe we will stop loving me too.” When a husband loves his wife he removes unnecessary pitfalls and traps from his kid’s life.  Loving your children’s mother is a great gift to your children.  Show yourself to be a man.

 Gift #3 Discipline (Proverbs 22:6).  Fathers give the gift of discipline to their children.  We are not suggesting the hot-tempered authoritarian punisher of all wrongdoing.  The purpose of discipline is to teach self-control and proper social rules.  Consider this discipline has its roots in the word that means pupil (discipulus), from which we get the word disciple.  Fathers are teachers, demonstrating how a person is to live, by his words and deeds.  They teach right from wrong, God’s way of the kingdom from the self-gratification of the culture.  Amazingly a father’s discipline begins in his child’s infancy, dads are to be responsive, stimulating, and encouraging with their babies.  It builds emotional bonds. When that baby turns into a toddler and learns the word “NO!” a dad sets boundaries for behavior and protection.  There is a reward for right doing and correction for wrongdoing.  The correction need not be capital, like spanking, nor harsh like yelling to frighten a child into obedience, but rather corresponding to what needs to be taught.  It’s a calm and consistent correction that well disciplines a child. Remember discipline is about training, punishment is the vengeance of bad behavior (Proverbs 3:12). Discipline teaches that actions have consequences.  Punishment teaches don’t get caught.

 Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

 Exasperate means to irritate to the point of infuriation.    Don’t discipline in such a fashion that it promotes inordinate anger in your child. You don’t want to break their spirit, you want to guide them in the use of their strength. This takes skill and patience.  Dad’s don’t pass this responsibility over to mom. 

 The goal is to teach the child to obey authority, to know that one thrives within the boundaries and one is at extreme risk outside those boundaries.  This works best when you are not an angry man yourself.

 Dad’s catch the other part of that verse, “train and instruct in the things of the Lord.”  Dad doesn’t pass that spiritual responsibility off to mom either.  In previous teaching we raised the problem with the religious church, it is not male-oriented, so men tend to shy away. By not participating dad unwittingly teach that the spiritual life is not necessary.  Don’t hear me saying that you have to go to church to be spiritual, no, but you do need to gather with believers to admonish one another in the teachings of the Lord. Read the scriptures to your kids, pray with your kids, have your kids join you as you use your gifts to help someone else out.  Show your kids that you are under the authority of your heavenly Father. Demonstrate how you worship, how you serve someone greater than yourself.  This is not shoving religion down their throats, this is living a Godly life before your kids (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).  Wise discipline is a great gift to your children. Show yourself to be a man.

 Gift #4 To your Daughter.  There is a great gift that a father gives to his daughter, make her feel precious, make her feel worthy to be fought for, make her feel that she is captivating.  Think about the stories girls like, the handsome knight finds the princess so enthralling that he goes on a quest to win her hand when he completes the quest, he finds the dragon has captured her and taken her away, so he goes and fights and overcomes impossible odds, saving her they ride off into the sunset.  You get the idea.  She needs to be wanted, she wants to be fought for, she wants to be the priority (John Eldredge, Wild At Heart, p.16). She wants to see that she is that special in your eyes dad.  You’re not creating a diva by cheering her on, telling her she is lovely, that she is talented, that she is the apple of your eye, by listening to her stories, by calling our her gifts and graces.  No, you’re raising a strong resilient woman who knows what she wants and won’t compromise her standards.   She knows she is absolutely safe with you around, you are her protector.  She knows you are her provider of everything she needs to flourish.  She sees how you treat her mom and learns how a man is supposed to treat his wife.  She expects to be treated with respect and honor.  She learns what her heavenly Father is like through you.  You do this by giving her your attention, drop what you’re doing and pay attention, listening to her, and being there for her. Proving to your daughter that she is wonderful in your sight is a great gift to give her. Show yourself to be a man.

Gift #5 To your Son.  A boy needs a man to mentor him into manhood.  Dad, you’re the role model.  Your son is watching you all the time, he’s learning what he is supposed to be, he sees what you are doing and is going to imitate it, replicate it in his life.   When you do it, right dad, your son learns that he has what it takes, that he is capable, that he’s got what it takes to get the job done.  Just go back and review our first teaching in this series, all those positive masculine traits he picks up from you.  The place your son needs to learn masculinity is from you.  He learns how to face difficulty from you, he learns how to treat women from you, he learns how to be dependable from you.  Integrity, honesty, endurance, honor, courage, all are lessons he learns from you.  Mom can’t do that for him, a woman can’t be a role model for a man.  You sir are vitally important, indispensable in leading your boy into being a man that you are proud of, the kind of man the world needs (Proverbs 23:24).  He learns what his heavenly Father is like through you. Show yourself to be a man.

 Walking through HB Central Park with Sherri I saw something that put a smile on my face, a Dad and Son wrestling, the son looked like he may have been 5 or 6, and he was winning.  I could hear dad’s grunts and groans and the son’s laughter.  I thought this dad is teaching his son to be powerful.  “You took me on, you can take anything on.”   What a wonderful gift to give to your son.  Imparting to your son that he has what it takes is a great gift.

 Fathers are Godly men, who love their children’s mother, who discipline wisely, who makes his daughter know she is desirable, and who makes his son know he’s capable. These are the great gifts a father gives to his children.  There is such empowerment in a person’s life when they know that dad is proud of them.

 Sir, what if you messed up?  Then go make things right. You most likely have missed the opportune time to gift your kid, but it is amazing how acknowledging that you messed up, and telling them that you are truly sorry can do in bringing healing to all lives concerned.  Think about it.  I am available to talk it over with you.

 If your father didn’t give you these gifts you have a heavenly Father, who will re-parent you if you are willing to receive it from Him.  It is a difficult journey, there is much to be unlearned and much to discover about who you are, but the Holy Spirit will guide you through and you will flourish in the Father’s love. Think about it.  I am available to talk it over with you.

 Fatherhood has never been an easy task.  It seems even more difficult in our culture now than ever before.  Remember God empowers you sir to do the difficult, to meet the challenge, and to do it well.  The Holy Spirit will give you the grace to show yourself to be a man. So man up.


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