Faith Relationships

Fatherhood

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MW Editor’s Note. Thanks to Mark WInter for his contributions to this article. Mark presented this at a men’s breakfast in Wichita.

No one needs to remind you fatherhood is in a crisis. Families are in crisis. Our entire nation is in crisis largely because dads have dropped the ball and vanished from the otherwise family unit. 

We can point the finger at other guys who impregnate their girlfriends and then disappear. We call them dead-beat dads, but the reality is even if you are a dad in the home, not engaging with your sons and daughters will have a devastating impact not only on their personal lives but on our society as a whole. 

The Enemy is poised to take down the family unit and he often begins with dad. Perhaps you had a disengaged dad growing up, so all you know in parenting is what you’ve seen modeled for you. Maybe your dad was disconnected emotionally, or by his very presence, causing you to essentially grow up on your own. 

Here are some ways dads of any age disconnect from their families:

1. Workaholism; too many nights and weekends at the office. 

2. No table talk: when he is home, he eats in silence only to retreat to his mancave for the night watching sports on TV.

3. Distractions: Number one on the list for guys is pornography. Dad disappears to the garage, or bathroom or takes a drive alone. What’s he doing? Looking at porn, furthering his distance from knowing and loving his sons and daughters.

Look, even guys who love Jesus struggle with these attacks. Our internal wounds go with us and if not addressed, we hurt not only ourselves but our families as well.

Enough of the negative talk. What is true about becoming a dad that impacts our families and society for good.

Let’s start with identity.

Scripture teaches that in Christ, we are:

  • Loved by God –  Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Chosen & Adopted by God – 1 Peter 2:9: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
  • Forgiven & Redeemed – Ephesians 1:7-8: In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.
  • Clothed in the God’s righteousness – Isaiah 61:10 – I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, 
  • Men with hope: John 14:1-3: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

God established the family back in creation. Genesis chapters 1 and 2 explain that we are not made to be alone, but to be married; husband and wife. God’s call to be fruitful and multiply. Have babies and be purposeful in engaging them in a conversational relationship with God. 

Fatherhood, however, is far more than impregnating your wife. It’s sacrificially living for your family in such a way that you show your kids, regardless of their age, love, and Christ-centered affection they need to become godly, healthy young men and women for Christ. 

Here are some not-so-fun facts about the breakdown of the family. Studies show the impact the absence of a father has:

  •  90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  •  85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
  •  85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes

1 Timothy 5:8 – But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

 We can provide our families a big nice safe home, provide them the finest clothes, allow them to participate in all the sporting competitions they desire, and provide them the finest education, but if we neglect to lead them to Christ we have eternally failed.

15% of the time, when a mother comes to faith–the rest of the family will. 35% of the time, when a child comes to faith–the rest of the family will. But, 90% of the time, when the father comes to faith–the rest of the family will.

 As we wrap up, here are THREE THINGS WE AS FATHERS NEED TO PROVIDE: ENCOURAGEMENT – DISCIPLINE – INSTRUCTION.

ENCOURAGEMENT

  • Scripture tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). A parent who discourages his or her children instead of encouraging them speaks failure and curses into their future.
  • “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

DISCIPLINE

The goal in discipline is always correction. You’re trying to create obedience while maintaining your child’s personal dignity and esteem.

  • Be fair, firm, and consistent.

Discipline must flow out of a heart of compassion for your child’s well-being and future, just as we read in Hebrews concerning God: “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (Hebrews 12:6).

 Proverbs 29:15 and 17 – The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame. Correct your son and he shall give you rest; he shall give delight unto your soul.

Rules without a relationship equal rebellion. Rules with a relationship equal respect.

INSTRUCTION

Deuteronomy 6:4-7:  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road when you lie down, and when you get up.

Bringing your children up in the instruction of the Lord requires a substantial time commitment. You can’t teach your children if you are not there.

Our nation is facing an epidemic of the devolution of the family. It is largely due to the negligence of parents who are simply not available to instruct their children. It’s not the grandparents’ job, it’s not the babysitter’s job, and it’s definitely not the church’s job. Fathers, it’s your job!

Warrior On!

Mark Winter

By occupation, Mark is a Supply Chain Management Professional, husband of 25 years, father of 3 daughters for 23 years, and follower of Jesus for 30 years.

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